It wasn’t too long ago that South Africans baulked at the idea of a bakkie costing a million rand, but today there are seven double cab derivatives over that mark, including the flagship Toyota Hilux.
Actually you can now make that eight, as the new Ford Ranger Wildtrak X has just been announced for the local market, with a price tag set at R1 013 000.
Interestingly, that makes it R13 400 less expensive than the Ranger Wildtrak 3.0 V6 diesel, but keep in mind that instead of the latter engine, the Wildtrak X has the less powerful 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel that produces 154kW and 500Nm.
But while it loses out on the bigger engine, the new Ford Ranger Wildtrak X does gain some really cool off-roading hardware for those who like venturing far into the wilderness.
Think if it as something of a Raptor Lite, if you will.
For starters, the Wildtrak X ships with a unique long-travel suspension system that also raises the bakkie’s ground clearance by 26mm, while the track is widened by 30mm.
The package also includes specially-tuned Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers and unique 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 265/70 R17 General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.
The 4x4 system receives an upgrade too, making this the first four-cylinder Ranger with Ford’s on-demand four-wheel drive system, as seen on the V6 models, which adds a 4A (automatic) mode for improved safety at higher speeds.
The Wildtrak X also gains a nifty new system called Trail Turn Assist, which helps drivers to tackle tight bends on narrow trails by applying braking on the inside rear wheel, thereby reducing the turning radius by up to 25 percent.
But that’s not all, as they used to say in the infomercials. The newcomer inherits the Raptor’s Trail Control system, which helps maintain a constant low speed while off-roading.
“We created Ranger Wildtrak X for people who want to get more from their bakkie,” said Doreen Mashinini, Ford SA’s marketing manager.
“For example, one of the first things keen off-roaders do is look at replacing their tyres and suspension with aftermarket options that are more focused to off-roading. We’re ensuring they don’t need to do this by giving them what they need right out of the factory.”
To further distinguish it from the regular Wildtrak, the new edition comes with a unique off-road grille with integrated auxiliary driving lights and Asphalt black finish for the surround, which also extends to the wheel arches, fender vents, mirror caps, door handles and rear bumper.
Also setting it apart is a steel bash plate, aluminium side steps, black Wildtrak lettering across the bonnet and the obligatory Wildtrak X badges on the front doors and tailgate.
The cabin is kitted out with Miko suede seats with Wildtrak X embroidery and Cyber Orange contrast stitching, which also extends to the steering wheel, gear shifter and inner door panels. You’ll also find Terra Suede trim on the glovebox, instrument cluster hood, door trim and centre console rails.
As per the regular Ford Ranger Wildtrak, there’s a long list of standard safety and comfort features, including a 10-speaker B&O premium sound system.
Moving to the back section, Ford has fitted its flagship Flexible Rack System, which consists of a sliding load rack and folding roof racks that can be stored inside the rails when not in use.
As mentioned, pricing comes in at R1 013 00 and includes a four-year or 120 000km warranty, but a service or maintenance plan will cost extra.