Though the Ford Ranger Wildtrak could be described as a sort of happy medium between a regular Ford Ranger and the Ford Ranger Raptor, it leans much more towards the less rugged side of the scale. The intermingling of the Raptor and Wildtrak Rangers is no accident, however, as they have been marketed alongside each other in several contexts. Plus, the Raptor engine is now available in the Wildtrak and XLT trims of the Ranger. The Wildtrak is especially popular in countries like Australia and the Philippines but is available in dozens of others from China to Switzerland to Panama.
While it looks unlikely that the United States will get the Ranger Wildtrak anytime soon (remember that we aren’t slated to get the Ranger Raptor until the next Ranger redesign, likely around 2022), an un-camouflaged Wildtrak was actually spotted in Detroit, Michigan in April of 2018.
Though the vast majority of the hype is centered around the Ranger Raptor (especially now that Jeep has the Gladiator to compete against it), it also got people wondering if the Ranger Wildtrak would be sold here as well. The Wildtrak might not offer as much capability as the Ranger Raptor, but it’s got enough style and features that it would likely succeed in the American market, should it ever be brought stateside.
Exterior of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak
The "sailplane" sports bar at the front of the bed is marketed as being "aerodynamic", but is really there to serve as a visual differentiator, contrasting the Wildtrak against lower trims which instead have chrome tube bars.
The most noticeable way to differentiate a Ranger Wildtrak from its brothers is the “sports bar” at the front end of the bed. It’s distinguished from lesser Rangers by being of a “sailplane” configuration, whatever that means, whereas lower trims can get a sports bar that is chrome and tubular. The Wildtrak sports bar is marketed as “aerodynamic," and while that’s certainly true compared to the outmoded chrome tubes available on other Ranger models, it’s not enough to make an impact on performance. Overall, the Wildtrak looks like it's ready for some sort of safari at a dinosaur park, and the rugged appeal of the visuals is certainly part of the truck's popularity.
You can also spot the signature orange exterior paint, a Wildtrak exclusive in non-U.S. countries. There seem to now be two shades, either Saber or Pride Orange, depending on the country. Saber is the Ranger's signature color and is new for 2019. It's lighter, with a bit more of a copper tint and more yellow. It’s not quite as dark or red-hued as Pride Orange, which comes across as almost a traffic cone shade. The only non-orange exterior paint color options in Australia are monochromatic: Magnetic [Grey], Frozen White, Shadow Black, and Ingot Silver. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the Phillippines, add quite a few other options (too many to list out here, so check out your country’s specific Ford website for further details). Interestingly, Saber has been available on the new Ranger in the U.S. starting with its 2019 debut, even though we don’t (yet) have a Wildtrak trim.
The grille, exterior door handles, front bumper insert, rear bumper, and side mirrors on the Wildtrak come in a unique “Monument Grey” color. You’ll also get unique Wildtrak decals on the rear and sides of the truck. There were some small revisions for 2019, including an updated front bumper area. But apart from the addition of the new powertrain, little else has changed.
The Wildtrak is available only in the double cab (known as “super crew” in the U.S.) configuration with seating for five passengers. You’ll also get the largest wheels of the line, with 18” machined alloys that are unique to the Wildtrak. In many countries, the Wildtrak is the only Ranger in the line-up to get LED fog lights, puddle lamps, and a power locking tailgate.
Other notable features of the Wildtrak include a lockable, integrated aluminum roller shutter (tonneau cover) and an optional tow bar, which are specifically designed to give you more capability for weekend recreation and adventures.
Interior and Technology of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak
These bright orange exterior colors are such a large part of the vehicle’s identity that all Wildtraks prior to 2019 came with orange-trimmed cloth seats and orange contrast stitching inside, regardless of their exterior color. The 2019 redesign toned things down a bit (unfortunately), and the cabin now comes with ebony black leather seats. The contrast stitching and accents remain orange, however, adding a touch of personality.
The 2018 and prior Ranger Wildtraks used orange-trimmed cloth seats, which were replaced with much more subdued black leather beginning in 2019.
You’ll also get the Wildtrak emblem embossed on the seats, dashboard embossing of the Wildtrak logo, and Wildtrak-exclusive floor mats. The orange contrast stitching is prominent on the steering wheel and across the dashboard. As an improvement over the XLT trim, you get heated seats and 8-way power driver seat with lumbar support. Also unique to the Wildtrak trim is multi-color ambient lighting.
Along with a host of safety features, the Wildtrak adds Active Park Assist, which allows the driver to parallel park semi-autonomously. You’ll also now get “Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking” (AEB), with Pedestrian and Vehicle Detection at all speeds. You can also get front parking sensors and a driver assistance pack.
There are a number of features that are not exclusive to the Wildtrak, but still worth noting. These include a cooled center console, adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert, HID headlights, side steps, and a tailgate with lift assistance.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak Engine and Off-Road Performance
The Ranger Wildtrak is only available with diesel engines, which is likely a big reason we haven’t seen it in the States yet. You can get a 3.2 liter, 197 horsepower, 347 lb-ft torque turbo-diesel 5 cylinder that comes with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
Or you can upgrade to Ford’s “new-generation powertrain” that comes from the Ranger Raptor, a 2.0 liter bi-turbo-diesel 4 cylinder engine that comes mated only to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This sequential-turbo motor puts out 211 horsepower and a hefty 369 lb-ft of torque and is exclusive to the Ranger XLT, Ranger Wildtrak, and Ranger Raptor. While Ford markets the Wildtrak (rightfully so) as being a comfortable and capable weekender/lifestyle vehicle, make no mistake: It’s also a work truck that is ready to get down to business Monday through Friday.
So how tough is the Wildtrak off-road? Well, candidly, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Ranger Raptor. The ground clearance on the Wildtrak is exactly the same as on the Ranger XLT, and you don’t get 33-inch off-road tires, superior approach angle, or any components to beef up the suspension either. So although the 4WD and tough nature of many Rangers make them decently suited for off-roading, the Wildtrak doesn't offer anything new or special in this arena, despite the name. However, you can get a little closer to the Ranger Raptor, at least in Australia, by opting for the Ranger Wildtrak X. This version add some off-road accessories, including a factory snorkel, front nudge bar with LED light bar, and more pronounced fender flares (that leave more room for beefy off-road tires, not included). You also get black 18-inch alloy wheels to further differentiate yourself from other Wildtraks.
While the Wildtrak is more than just an appearance package due to the options that are included and the standard 4x4 drivetrain, you won’t get any demonstrable advantages over other 4WD Rangers in terms of off-road capability. The eLocking Rear Differential, water wading ability, and ground clearance of the Ranger are available on other trims as well. Especially with the 2019 redesign, there aren’t too many reasons to choose a Wildtrak over a well-equipped XLT, which will come close to the Wildtrak’s price. It’s simply up to the customer whether the styling, larger wheels, and a handful of comfort upgrades are worth the price.
At the end of the day, the Wildtrak is a good pick if you want a more powerful engine, sleeker style, and more comfort while hitting casual trails; just don’t try to treat it like a Raptor. In Australia, the Raptor is “only” about $8,000 USD more expensive than the Wildtrak, so it might be worth the splurge (especially for those that live in the Outback).
Will the Ford Ranger Wildtrak Come to the United States?
Interestingly, a Ranger Wildtrak was spotted in the Detroit area in April 2018, testing alongside a Ranger Raptor. Both were undisguised, but there was no need, as both were existing, right-hand drive models that are already being sold elsewhere.
With rumors abound that the Ranger Raptor will debut in the United States along with the next-generation Ranger redesign, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a Wildtrak trim added as well. The rugged and sporty look, combined with extra creature comforts, sounds like it will be right up the alley of American buyers. In the meantime, buyers will have to be content with the “regular” 2019 Ranger as it hits the lots in early 2019.
Wildtrak Trademark Application Filed in U.S.
On July 22, 2019, a trademark application (serial number 88527710) was filed at the USPTO to trademark the "Wildtrak" name in the United States. It seemed likely that a Ranger Wildtrak was in the works for release in America in 2021 or 2022. Instead, the Wildtrak name was used for a trim on the 2021 Ford Bronco.
This range-topping trim is packed with off-roading features. It even comes standard with the highly-anticipated Sasquatch Package. It’s still possible that Ford will introduce a Wildtrak trim for the next-gen Ranger. But they may just keep it as a special nameplate for the Bronco.
Image Credit: Ford