Smaller Engine, Bigger Appeal
A couple of months ago, we reviewed the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2 4×4 AT. Now, we got our hands here in this Wildtrak with a smaller 2.2-liter diesel engine and without the 4×4 hardware. We could simply just rehash our review of the 3.2-liter variant and call it a day, but we’re better than that. Though the engine is smaller, it’s still mighty powerful enough for most situations, and with little features to differentiate this variant from its bigger engined sibling, I think the Ranger Wildtrak 2.2 4×2 AT is the best value for money in its segment. This is the truck you are probably looking for. Here’s why.
This variant largely carries the same exterior design as the Wildtrak with the bigger diesel engine, and of course, that’s no bad thing, as it still utilizes the same head turning design of the top shelf Ranger. Dressed in this Pride Orange outfit, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak manages to hit the right notes in the pick-up truck design rule book. It has a large front grille finished in a grey paint scheme that nicely blends with the grey front bumpers. These elements provide an excellent contrast with the car’s overall design. Wildtrak decals grace the sides and rear of the truck, just in case you forget what Range variant you’re driving. Overall, the vibe it shows provides a more lifestyle oriented look rather than a utilitarian one, one who enjoys surfing on Bondi Beach rather than the construction site.
The interior is also largely the same from its more powerful sibling, with the only difference being the removal of the Terrain Management System knob, electronically adjustable driver’s seat, and 220V rear socket. The soft padded dashboard, orange stitching details, and part leather seats make the interior a nice place to be. There’s plenty of hard plastics down below the interior and on the doors, but the interior is mainly designed to withstand the brunt of the daily grind. It feels like a Casio G-Shock, wherein it looks cool, but is also functional and designed to withstand the toughest of situations.
Space and Practicality
A truck is all about its bed size, and in the regard, the Ranger performs admirably. The main tray at the back, which roughly is about 1549mm long by 1560mm wide, has a number of tie-down points, which helps in securing loose items from moving about on the bed. At night, the bed lighting is useful in providing illumination when loading items at the bed. Being the 2.2-liter variant, it must be noted that the maximum payload the engine can haul is much lower. Nevertheless, it can still haul more than a ton.
The Ford Ranger is a big truck, and that is also felt inside. There’s plenty of room to move around for the front rows, while there’s a decent amount of leg, head, and shoulder room for three adults. There’s plenty of storage places inside, too. The removal of the Terrain Management System has given the Ranger another cupholder, plus the glove box, door bins, and the secret storage under the rear seats give the occupants plenty of choices as to where they wish to store their clutter.
Features, Safety, and Infotainment
The Ford Ranger is chuck full of features for its price. Flanking the single analog speedometer are two LCD screens that display a host of information. In this segment, the Ford Ranger has the nicest instrument cluster design, as the two screens don’t only look great, but they’re very intuitive to use and configure as well. These two screens are mated in conjunction with the SYNC3 infotainment system, which is one of the best infotainment systems to use in the segment.
Large buttons, neat shortcuts, and a very quick touch response make the user experience of SYNC3 one of the most pleasant in the class. New for 2018 is the addition of navigation, though as with many modern infotainment systems nowadays, this has smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted as standard. Even more amazing is the fact that if you update to the latest version of SYNC3, Waze can now be directly projected through the infotainment screen, granted that you own an iPhone.
In terms of safety, it is equipped with automatic headlights, front and rear sensors, rear camera, traction control, stability control, and a plethora of airbags. We at Go Flat Out commend Ford for equipping the Ranger Wildtrak with traction and/or stability control, as we believe these features should be standard on all cars.
This Ranger Wildtrak is powered by an 2.2-liter inline-4 Duratorq TDCI turbocharged diesel engine that produces 160 hp @ 3,200 rpm and 385 Nm of torque @ 1,600 to 2,500 rpm. Power is sent via a 6-speed automatic transmission, powering the rear wheels.
How It Drives
By and large, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak drives largely the same with the 3.2-liter variant, but with a bit more quietness and refinement. The smaller diesel mill produces less noise, and gives a much more refined driving nature. There’s a bit more turbo lag, but nothing major that it kills the driving experience. Off the line acceleration is where I find the Ranger to be very impressive. Despite being exactly a liter smaller than the bigger diesel engine, torque delivery feels very spritely and powerful, thanks to all of its peak torque being available at a very low 1,600 rpm. As such, the engine doesn’t need to be revved hard just to get the Ranger moving.
It’s when you want to overtake at higher speeds where the difference is felt. With all of its peak torque located at the lower rpm ranges, the 2.2-liter diesel engine feels noticeably less punchy. It’s not sluggish by any means, as the engine still pulls, but just not as effortless as the bigger engine. Still, when the automatic transmission downshifts to the right gear by giving the throttle just a little more prodding, the engine’s power deficit is then compensated by the gearbox.
One of the things I like about the Ranger is its supreme levels of noise, vibration, and harshness suppression. The engine stays hushed even in higher revs, plus road noise is kept to a minimum. There’s only a little wind whistle that someone spoils the cabin, but as a whole, the Ford Ranger is one of the most car-like in terms of refinement.
Without a proper 4×4 system, this Ranger Wildtrak 4×2’s off-roading capabilities are limited. The high ground clearance and traction control system are your best bets if you wish to take it to the trails, but we highly recommend you do not take it to anything too extreme that a lack of a proper 4×4 system will leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Like all trucks, the ride up front is soft, while the rear leaf spring suspensions are firm, but as far as pick-ups go, the Ford Ranger is one of the least firm in terms of ride. The suspension set-up also does a great job of keeping the Ford Ranger planted in corners, and the revised electronic power steering helps. Though it is devoid of feedback, the 2018 update gave it better feel and heft at high speeds, because the power steering in earlier versions felt very light, almost too light that merely a finger’s movement is enough to turn the wheel even at highway speeds.
As expected, with its smaller engine, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.2 provided lower fuel bills, averaging an impressive 12.4 km/l during the time the Ranger was in my hands.
On The Downside
As a whole, the Ford Ranger is a very hard truck to fault. Being nitpicky now, we wish that the Ford Ranger would come with any form of LED lighting solution, something which all of its rivals now provide, though I believe this will be one that’s coming in a future update.
The Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak may be getting all the attention with its plethora of safety and convenience features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, as well as its bigger 3.2-liter diesel engine, but apart from those things, this variant with the smaller diesel engine somewhat has the best appeal for me. It manages to get the fundamentals of a great truck correctly, delivered in a character that makes the Wildtrak more lifestyle than workhorse oriented. It’s full of character, and one that’s also easy on the fuel bills, too, without any major compromises in power. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even miss the 3.2-liter diesel engine one bit. With its MSRP pegged at P1,388,000, it sits somewhere in the middle of the industry pricing bracket of all pick-ups, without much feature differentiation from its bigger engined sibling. Unless you’re very keen on getting all the active driver aids, bigger 3.2-liter engine, and 4×4 system, we highly recommend this Ranger Wildtrak 2.2 4×2 AT variant instead for most circumstances.
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★★
Overall: 4.4 out of 5