I recently had the privilege of testing two of Ford’s most popular Ranger models back to back and as a result, I decided that this presented a perfect opportunity to compare the two in a single review.
First to arrive was a Blue Lightning Metallic 2-litre Bi-Turbo Ford Ranger XLT Double Cab 4×4. I love a big, brightly coloured bakkie and this one didn’t disappoint. I found it surprisingly comfortable – especially on dirt road testing – and it didn’t shudder and jump too much on tar either.
It was roomy, spacious, and the 10-speed gearbox helped with a seamless drive experience.
Overall driving impressions were of a massive workhorse with a do-anything attitude and enough power delivery that I would dearly have loved to put to work towing horseboxes and fitting into my equestrian lifestyle.
The second Ranger to grace our drive shortly thereafter was the top-of-the-range 3-litre V6 Ranger Wildtrak Double Cab 4×4 in all its Cyber Orange glory (R1400 extra). This head-turning behemoth, while being the same length as the XLT, seemed somewhat larger in real life when it came to handling and presence.
But this could be owing to the greater amount of power, larger price tag, impressive amount of extra buttons and drive features and for some strange reason, its inability to maneuver in parking areas… Or I just happened to drive to different places with tighter bays and got to perfect multi-point turns and reeeeeeaaaaaalllly tight entrances and exits. Anyway, moving on…
So how did they compare?
All of the team agreed they preferred the XLT over the Wildtrak. This is for a number of reasons, most of them down to practicality and value for money. They’re both equally sized, but the XLT will give you 7.5l/100km vs the Wildtrak’s thirstier 8.4l/100km (claimed – we struggled to get it below 10).
The Wildtrak turns more heads and is certainly punchier and faster off the mark (8.73 seconds to 100km/h versus the XLT’s 9.15s to 100km/h) but both cruise equally well. We found the Wildtrak seemed to be designed for a more aggressive driving style as at half throttle it appeared to have to constantly cycle through all 10 gears before making up its mind on the auto gearbox.
This wasn’t noted in the smaller-engined XLT.
The Wildtrak offers more toys, driver assistance and gadgets in the cockpit than the XLT which offers a plainer, more practical driving experience. But when it comes to fundamentals they are exactly the same.
Some of the extras that come standard in the Wildtrak included additional pre-set driving modes, high-beam assist, lane departure warnings, tyre pressure sensors, climate control and surround view cameras.
Both seat five passengers very comfortably. Both have braked towing capacity of 3500kg (very important if you’re into equestrian sport and favour massive warmbloods for towing around). Both have 10-speed auto gearboxes, both are the same length and width, both offer keyless entry and drive. Both have easy to use Bluetooth media systems which are intuitive and straightforward.
But the Wildtrak will cost you almost R200 000 more.
Somehow, there just wasn’t enough difference between the two to justify the hefty R1 026 400 price tag of the Wildtrak.
In summary then, I’ll take the XLT any day – at R833 800, it offers hundred percent of what I need as a driver at 80% of the cost of the Wildtrak.