Ford PX MkII Ranger Wildtrak: Tow Test
A rejuvenation of the Ford PX Ranger means new technology features, a heavy-duty towbar and a smart facelift, taking this vehicle straight to the top of every towing wish-list.
A couple of months ago, Ford refreshed the Ranger with the PX MkII series. This series introduced only a mid-cycle, cosmetic refresh of the exterior and interior, but it also incorporated new technology features, such as electric power-assisted steering, emergency assistance (which delivers critical information to 000 operators, indicating that a Ford vehicle has been involved in a crash and pin-pointing the GPS location before opening the line for hands-free communication with the vehicle occupants), optional autonomous braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitor and radar cruise-control on top-spec models.
While the Wildtrak is well-featured when compared with utes of old, this premium dual-cab ute spec sheet is missing some items you’d expect. Omissions from this rather expensive (from $57,890, plus on-road costs) ute include keyless ignition and auto stop/start (which is available on manual transmission only).
For people who like to tow, there is one standard piece of gear on the Ranger that no other ute in the class offers: a heavy-duty towbar. This 3500kg, box-hitch towbar is standard equipment on the Wildtrak and XLT.
The Wildtrak tested was fitted with the optional $600 Tech Pack, which includes adaptive cruise control (including forward collision alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and driver impairment monitor). The Wildtrak we tested also had the optional six-speed auto, which adds $2200 to the bill. As tested, this Wildtrak costs $60,690.
The SYNC2 infotainment system is really easy to use; it has to be one of the best such systems in the business. Getting in and just operating the system is dead easy; there’s no need to spend a couple of hours with the owner’s manual just to get to grips with the basic operation of the thing.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The Ranger’s low-rpm response was pretty good for a turbodiesel. Usually single-turbo engines suffer turbo lag – the period just off idle speed when there aren’t enough exhaust gases being produced to get the turbocharger impellers spinning quick enough, and performance can be very sluggish at this point. Yet, on this test, I didn’t feel like I was hung out to dry when accelerating for a gap in the traffic – unlike last time we tested the Ranger in 2012.
Steering is responsive to turn-in and direct at straight ahead and, while the lanky wheelbase and relatively basic suspension do no favours for cornering, the Ranger holds a chosen line surprisingly well. Ride quality actually has a bit of quality, too, which comes as a surprise in a ute designed for heavy load-carrying.
We achieved a fuel figure of 8.5L/100km during an easy highway cruise and 11L/100km when driving in town exclusively. When towing a 2200kg caravan, the Ranger consumed an average of 16.8L/100km.
FORD PX Mkll RANGER WILDTRAK SPECS
Weights and measures
- Length 5351mm
- Width 1850mm
- Height 1821mm
- Wheelbase 3220mm
- Ground clearance 237mm
- Kerb mass 2200kg
- Gross Vehicle Mass 3200kg
- Gross Combined Mass 6000kg
- Towing capacity unbraked/braked 750kg/3500kg
- Towball (max) 350kg
- Engine In-line turbocharged five-cylinder diesel
- Transmission Six-speed auto
- Power 147kW@3000rpm
- Torque 470Nm@1500-2750rpm
- Gear ratios (:1)
- 1 4.171
- 2 2.342
- 3 1.521
- 4 1.143
- 5 0.867
- 6 0.691
- Rev 3.400
- Final drive 3.73
- High/low range 1.000/2.717
- Auto transmission $2200;
- Tech Pack $600
- Fuel capacity 80L
- Suspension Independent, coils (front); live axle, leaf-springs (rear)
- Brakes Ventilated discs (front); drums (rear)
- Wheels 18in alloy
- Warranty Three years /100,000km
- Roof load 100kg
- More information www.ford.com.au
The full test appears in Caravan World #546 December 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!