Once the darling of cashed up bogans, the Wildtrak model has been eclipsed by the Raptor as the must-have male accessory.
The question remains, however — is the Raptor really necessary, or will the Wildtrak do the job?
Moreover, why are people so keen to sacrifice the comfort and practicality of a purpose-built passenger car for one of these trucks — because make no mistake, that’s what they are — trucks.
Anecdotally, one user-chooser Wildtrak owner that we know was invited by his local dealership to take the Raptor for a spin.
He came away unconvinced.
What’s it cost?
Prices for Wildtrak start from $60,590 plus on-roads for the five cylinder diesel minus an auto.
A 6-speed auto adds $2200 to the figure, taking it to $62,790.
Or perhaps you’d like the same car with a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel and 10-speed auto — make that $63,990.
Then there’s the Raptor for $74,990, complete with the aforementioned diesel and 10-speed — plus other other mainly mechanical enhancements.
Interestingly, although Ford’s website allows you to compare different versions — spec for spec — the one thing it won’t let you do is compare any with Raptor.
Right now, that’s probably the only comparison buyers really want to make.
Wildtrak comes with 18-inch alloys, daytime LEDs, roll bar, side steps and a locking roller shutter for the tray, plus two-zone climate air and combination cloth and leather seats finished in an attractive orange pattern, with additional orange stitching for the dash and steering wheel — and a power adjust driver’s seat.
There’s also auto engine start-stop, automatic lights, wipers and interior mirror, and a large 8.0-inch touch screen with satellite navigation, digital radio and Ford’s latest Sync 3 voice activated system plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The front seats by the way are heated.
Raptor misses out on a sports bar and a tonneau of any description and its tow rating is reduced to 2500kg.
Ranger scores five stars for safety with six airbags, a reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, locking rear diff, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning, Lane-Keeping Aid, Driver Impairment Warning, Automatic high beam as well as Emergency Assistance that automatically dials ‘000’ in the event of an airbag deployment.
It’s horses for courses.
Having recently driven both the Raptor and Wildtrak with the largely superseded 3.2-litre five cylinder engine/6-speed auto combo, we’re able to offer some advice in this department.
What’s it go like?
Raptor with its big, chunky tyres, greater ground clearance and more sophisticated suspension is a force to be reckoned with off road.
But let’s not forget this is not where these vehicles spend the vast majority of their time.
On the road, Raptor comes across as soft and spongy, with a lack of any real dynamic precision.
Wildtrak on the other hand feels sharper and more fined, with a better overall finish — particularly in the cabin.
Sitting lower to the ground, it’s more family friendly, and quite frankly we’d be tempted to stick with the tried and true five-cylinder combo — the only downside is that uses slightly more juice.
Officially, Raptor is rated at 8.2L/100km, the 3.2 at 8.9L/100km
Power wise there’s not much in it either.
The 2.0-litre twin turbo pumps out 157kW of power at 3750 revs and 500Nm of torque at 1750-2000 revs.
A few kilowatts back, the 3.2 delivers 147kW at 3000 revs and 470Nm at 1750-2500rpm.
But don’t overlook the fact the 3.2 is able to deliver the goods lower in the rev range and maximum torque is available across a wider, more useful band.
Note too that much of the Raptor’s extra performance is off set by the 86kg of extra weight that it is carrying.
For a truck the Wildtrak gets moving reasonably quickly, with strong mid-range performance, but is at its best driven in a leisurely manner like most diesels.
The steering is surprisingly light and that will be welcomed by mums who find themselves behind the wheel, but it’s a big beast and carparks will be difficult to navigate.
Occasionally, throttle response was exaggerated, delivering a shove where a softer touch was all that is required.
The brakes though it’s fitted with drums at the rear are fine.
We covered just over 300km in the Wildtrak at a rate of 9.7L/100km (we got 9.5 from the Raptor).
Last but not least, Raptor is limited to towing 2500kg — Wildtrak does 3500kg.
What we like?
Configurable dash display
Roller door style tonneau
Auto emergency braking
Navigation shows speed limit
What we don’t like?
Noisy at times
Ride can be jiggly
Unexpected throttle response
Rear drum brakes
Difficult to adjust display brightness
No rear air outlets
Tonneau lock tricky to operate
Possible to knock light control knob with your knee
The bottom line?
I can’t imagine too many punters spending 75 grand to go paddock bashing. Therefore even though its a better off road proposition I think the Raptor will start to wear thin as a daily driver, which makes the Wildtrak a cheaper, more practical option. Did I say practical? Practical would be a car.