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Ford Ranger Wolftrak pickup (2021) on test

Ford is launching three special versions of the Ranger, including the Wolftrak. He wants to be particularly useful and particularly chic at the same time. Let's try that!

The successor is already in the starting blocks, drives camouflaged through teaser videos and will celebrate its public premiere this year. But there is still a little time until the fourth generation of the Ford Ranger is actually at the dealerships (sometime in 2022). Ford wants to bridge this with special models and thus encourage customers to still access the previous Ranger.

To make this easier, the three edition models come onto the stage from very different directions. The Stormtrak based on the Ranger Wildtrak is a chic and elegant beau, while the wide-legged Raptor is intended to pick up the meritocracy as a special edition. And then there's the Wolftrak, which we chose for the first date: based on the useful XLT, it's supposed to bring a bit of sparkle to day-to-day business without losing sight of the hard work.

The Ranger Wolftrak in the video

Because the Wolftrak should be a useful pickup and not compete with the wild brothers, it gets the 170 hp version of the two-liter diesel under the hood instead of the 213 hp in the Ranger house of lords And a manual six-speed gearbox, which you should choose simply because something like this won't be around for much longer. And because we take utility very seriously – if we do, then we do – the extra cab is allowed to compete, with alibi seats in the second row and plenty of space on the loading area.

The Ford Ranger has been shaken by the hand a few times since the last major facelift in 2015, but you really don't feel that it has to retire. On the contrary, the small flatbed truck drives through the landscape in a very modern way, which is not only due to the chassis, which is remarkably comfortable by pickup standards, but also to its noise-reduced drive. You can cruise very relaxed through the landscape.

Still up to date

If you look seriously, you don't miss anything compared to the other two special models, which are considerably more expensive. Sure, the leather-covered dashboard from the Stormtrak or the chassis that smells like a rally from the Raptor, that would be nice too. But the Wolftrak drives well even without these goodies and thanks to its color (there are two shades of gray and black attachments) it looks pretty fit.

That the other two pour 43 hp more into the standard ten-speed automatic transmission there - for free. The 170 hp of the Wolftrak are also enough to overtake a stroller on the country road and for relaxed, lazy shifting in everyday driving.The two-liter diesel does not even have a tiny turbo lag, it accelerates well and continuously, and you quickly find yourself in the high gears. It takes some getting used to how much time the four-cylinder engine takes to rev up when the clutch is depressed when shifting gears - it takes a few seconds for the idle speed to level off. A practical side effect, however, is that there is still engine speed after shifting, which makes gear changes smooth.

Comfortable chassis in the Ford Ranger

While normal road conditions hardly lure the chassis of the Ranger Wolftrak out of its reserve, it gets a little lively in the hips when there are bumps and waves, then the long wheelbase, unequal weight distribution when the loading area is empty and rear rigid axle on leaf springs for a happy little dance. Not wild and a far cry from the pounding of previous pickup generations, but in situations like this you can tell the difference between a real workhorse and a big city SUV.

The way into the terrain is inevitable with such a device, because that's what the robust construction was built for. The Ranger Wolftrak has the right equipment for this. All-wheel drive is obvious anyway, the (electrically) switchable reduction is a matter of honor, but it also gets a switchable differential lock on the way into the unknown. In this way, the 5.33 meter long small truck can be driven through the landscape with astonishing efficiency. With the turning circle of 12.7 meters, you won't win any skill competitions, especially since the willingness to take bends suffers noticeably when all-wheel drive is switched on due to the lack of speed compensation in the transfer case. But that's not so bad, then you just drive through the middle instead of carefully driving around the outside, in contrast to many modern SUVs, the Ranger can easily handle it without breaking apart.

Rear half-doors - practical and special

If you opt for the extra cab (by the way, the cheapest way to drive a Ford Ranger), you do so mainly because of the 21 centimeters longer loading area. Of course, these centimeters come off the inside. That's why you can actually have the rear emergency seats removed right away at the dealer, nobody really wants to spend time there anyway. There is then just a generous cargo space behind the front seats, which is also easily accessible thanks to the small half-doors. They open in opposite directions, which you have to get used to in practice - if you slam the front door, you can't get it from the back.

While you can't really say anything bad about the interior - comfortable seats, plenty of space - it is most likely to be seen here that Ford can gradually bag a successor.The instruments with the small digital displays and the speedometer, which has always looked like something out of an Italian small car from the 1990s, make one look forward to a bit of fresh air despite all the nostalgia. And although it's now too late to write the wish list, the newcomer is welcome to bring a few USB sockets and more practical shelves.

Conclusion

The Ford Ranger is still a pretty handsome guy. Last but not least, the striking appearance and the inner values ​​should have ensured that the Ranger has been the best-selling pickup in Europe and also in Germany itself for years. With the special models shortly before the presentation of the successor generation, Ford will bring some pickup fans in trouble of conscience - strike now or rather wait? The Ranger Wolftrak can definitely be considered a buy tip. It looks good, but despite everything, it is designed to be very practical and comparatively cheap.

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