Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 review

Curt Dupriez
Deputy editor

The blue oval’s new flagship diesel off-road ute fills a key gap in the burgeoning Ranger lineup, but is it worth the $76K splurge? 

Good points

  • Availability against V6 Ranger variants
  • Tougher than Wildtrak styling
  • Diesel ‘Raptor-lite’ toy truck appeal
  • Raptor/Platinum-style 12.4in display
  • All-terrain capable out of the box
  • Few payload/towing penalties

Needs work

  • I’d be nicer with the diesel V6…
  • It’s thirstier than the V6 4x4s
  • Lacks Raptor-like go-fast modes
  • Priciest bi-turbo 4cyl in the lineup
  • Tyres thrum at speed on hotmix
  • Not the quickest Ranger on the block

With a choice of 11 different flavours, does the MY24 Ford Ranger lineup really need another variant in Wildtrak X? And that’s just the dual-cab, 4×4-equipped, pickup bodied versions, too. At last count, there’s at least 25 different Ranger variants…

It turns out that the new Wildtrak X reboot fills key holes in the lineup than you might think and for more reasons that you might expect.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 rear 3/4 dirt

Ford Australia says that the Wildtrak X ($75,990 before on-road costs) plugs the gap between its ultimate toy truck, the petrol Raptor ($87,990) and the regular Wildtrak ($68,490) in 2.0-litre bi-turbo form. And the off-road-focused newcomer sits roughly along the clearly on-road centric Platinum ($78,190), give or take $2200…

So that’s where Wildtrak X sits. But here’s what it offers. And you might want to settle in because it offers a lot on paper…

It offers a harder-core off-road vehicle than the regular Wildtrak. It offers a logical off-road centric alternative to the clearly on-road-focused Platinum. It offers a Raptor-lite experience at a cut price.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 mountain 2

And it offers a hard-core off-road toy truck that is actually diesel powered rather than petrol (Raptor) that some buyers might favour as their preferred all-terrain choice.

But wait, there’s more…

By blending diesel power with an array of all-terrain upgrades, Ford Australia reckons the Wildtrak X’s big appeal is to buyers keen on off-roading adventure without having to engage the aftermarket.

It offers out-of-the-box OE backing and warranty. And it offers off-road chops that don’t compromise on-road pleasantries.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 badge

It’s also more off-road ready than the marginally more affordable Wildtrak V6, which brings us neatly to a key point of Wildtrak X’s existence. Given that it’s solely powered by the biturbo diesel four, it’s not – right now, in theory – hamstrung by the long wait times of Ranger variants powered by V6 diesel or petrol engines.

While some might lament the lack of a V6 diesel option, a four-pot oil burner is still the normal amoung its rough-and-ready rivals such as the Toyota Hilux GR Sport and Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior share this in common.

Put simply, Ford Australia has created a third Ranger variant to sit in a high-grade tier accompanied by Raptor and Platinum, with its own distinctive appeal while fitting a powertrain that should get it into showrooms and on to owner driveaways quickly.

But for all of its potential virtues, is the Wildtrak X as lust-worthy as Ford hopes given that it wants for serious money and, frankly, fits the least-popular of the three available Ford power units?

What are the Wildtrak X’s features and options for the price?

The list of standard features that the Wildtrak X fits includes:

  • Matrix LED headlights
  • ‘Off-road’ grille with LED DLRs
  • Power-folding mirrors
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 265/70 General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres
  • Extended wheel arch mouldings
  • Locking rear differential
  • Electro-mechanical transfer case with full-time 4×4
  • Bilstein monotube external reservoir dampers
  • Steel bash plate
  • Cast aluminium side steps
  • Flexible Rack System sailplane
  • Folding Roof Racks load system
  • Drop-in bedliner
  • Solid, retractable roller shutter
  • 12.4-inch digital driver’s instrumentation
  • 12.0-inch portrait touchscreen media system
  • Heated 8-way power front seats
  • Leather and faux suede trim
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker premium sound
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Inductive phone charging
  • Overhead auxiliary switch bank
  • 360-degree camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Towbar with trailer brake controller (3500kg rated)

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 interior

Essentially, the Wildtrak X includes a number of features that more closely aligns its spec list with high-grade Raptor and Platinum rather than Wildtrak. These include the areas such as the matrix LED headlights, the 17-inch wheels, the drop-in bedliner, Flexible Rack system, roof racks, 12.4-inch ‘widescreen’ driver’s display, auxiliary switch bank etcetera.

Standard paint is white, with the choice of Meteor Grey, Aluminium, Shadow Black and Wildtrak X-exclusive Cyber Orange all at a $700 cost option.

There’s a bit to unpack about the Wildtrak X configuration beyond mere fitted equipment.

Firstly, it sits on 30mm-wider tracks front and rear: this is wholly due to wheel spec rather than suspension hardware changes. It also sits 26mm higher for a 261mm unladen ground clearance. Approach, departure and breakover angles are 32, 24 and 24 degrees respectively.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 knob

Importantly, braked towing is full 3.5-tonnes, a whole 1000kg up on the petrol Raptor. Payload is 918kg – shy of a tonne if not by a huge amount.

Things get really interesting in the powertrain department. Unlike every other bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel four in the MY24 Ranger lineup, the Wildtrak X is rated at 150kW (rather than 154kW) though the peak power point (3750rpm) and torque output or 500Nm is exactly the same.

Further, it’s the only bi-turbo version in range offering selectable full-time 4×4 – labelled as 4A on the drive selector – as is standard on V6 versions. And it’s the only biturbo requiring AdBlue exhaust treatment. So, what gives?

It turns out that in the machinations of providing Wildtrak X with plentiful powertrain supply, it’s the first Ranger to fit the global homologated bi-turbo 4×4 format, rather than the Australian homologated spec currently used by the rest of the MY24 Aussie lineup.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 3

This 150kW/500Nm full-time 4×4 format, requiring an electro-mechanical transfer case that also allows 2H rear-drive, is also offered in markets such as Asia and the UK. It’s the first Ranger powertrain to comply with Euro 6 Light Duty Truck emissions regulations, which explain why it’s a touch down on power and demands AdBlue as a consumable running cost.

A potential roll-out for the rest of the bi-turbo variants? If I was a betting man…

How does the Wildtrak X drive?

Subtly tougher in styling than the regular Wildtrak – safety cone orange paintwork notwithstanding – the ‘X’ does beg for off-roading adventure. So why resist?

Our venue is a labyrinth of major fire trails that branch off into enthusiast-crafted side courses tailor made for undercarriage bashing and testing the extent of wheel articulation and traction, in regional NSW.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 5

The last time Chasing Cars was here, ‘we’ were in (near-) desperate need of – if not fully equipped with – Maxtrax recovery tracks in muddy and slippery conditions. I’m not naming names but…

Today, though, it’s sunny and dry, though the course is riddled with deep divots and huge holes ready to smack sumps against terra firma without much notice or mercy.

And the big Ford, at 2434kg, is one of the heaviest in the Ranger lineup and 100kg up on regular Wildtrak, proceeds to pummel the landscape at a slow and steady pace, fazed by none of it.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 side climbing

The meaty Grabber AT3 rubber has enough purchase on the dry stuff that, really, 2H rear-drive is enough for the major backroad arteries and the worst that they can give. There’s a close call when the nose suddenly drops and the front bash plate almost smacks Mother Earth, but the miss isn’t near enough.

At this milder stuff, the Wildtrak X is extremely capable and confidence inspiring – you simply adjust the pace depending on how jostled about the occupants want to get in the cabin.

However, on that, the suspension isn’t quite as compliant as a Raptor and extended wheel articulation isn’t as rapid and enthusiastic as you might expect.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 side water

It rides a little stiffer than expected. Sure, the suspension, with its tricky nitrogen-filled monotube Bilstein dampers, absorbs the punishment well enough and never crashes through. But the sheer shake up that transmits through the cabin, and its effect on occupant comfort, does tend to cap the rate of forward progress.

The Wildtrak X fits the usual breadth of Ranger 4×4 drive modes: normal, eco, tow/haul, slippery and sand. But it also adds so-called ‘rock crawl’ mode only offered elsewhere in the Ranger lineup with the Raptor, that locks the rear diff and brings its own throttle and transmission calibration.

So I give rock crawl a whirl on a particularly tricky rock-based obstacle: it works a treat and as described. Then I attempt the same in regular 4A (4×4 auto) and it just fires through the obstacle regardless…

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 rear 2

Other exclusive Wildtrak X tidbits absent on the regular Wildtrak get a runthrough next. Trail Turn Assist applies the inside rear wheel brake to tighten the Ranger’s formidable 12.9-metre turning circle by “25 percent”, says Ford, either 4H or 4L at up to 19km/h. It works as described, even if I fail to find a tricky enough situation to find it a mandatory application.

Then there’s Trail Control. This setting modulates the throttle and braking automatically to a driver-selectable speed up to 32km/h, leaving you to simply add steering input to maintain progress. Again, it works as described, though given it does rob some of engagement and fun of the whole off-roading shebang I doubt I’d ever see the need for using it.

One clear overarching theme, though, is that it’s actually much trickery discovering what Wildtrak X can’t do in any old mode than it is finding the right system to get you out of a particularly sticky situation. And that’s because this Ranger deals with most sticky situations you throw at it simply by default, as long as 4A auto 4×4 is engaged.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 track 2

These are good signs of a fine 4×4. With high levels or core capability, you should need to lean on special modes (too much) as safety nets or Band-Aids. Good work, Ford.

While the Wildtrak X augmentation appears centric to low-speed challenges, what’s lacking are the sport and Baja modes for higher-speed fun. It’s where the older-school off-road X experience is quite different from the surrogate rally-car that is the Raptor. Understandably, too, given the powertrain fitted…

Look, the bi-turbo format is fine. There’s torque enough on tap to get 2.4-plus-tonnes moving with ample enthusiasm and the Wild X doesn’t feel caught short. But even though a Raptor is slighter heavier (by 43kg), the 292kW and 583Nm of crisp turbo petrol stonk it delivers is magnitude more potent than our test subject’s oiler-rounded, 150kW and 500Nm combination.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 rear 3/4 water

All things considered, the oiler bi-turbo lacks a bit in throttle response that does rob it of some accuracy at the helm. It’s mostly a fine companion for the ten-speed auto, but it can get caught pausing in attempts to get a move on.

Revs do help – some of the drive modes raise the pause and keep the engine more on boil. But the Wildtrak X is simply more comfortable doling out a measured response rather than smacking down the energy, which isn’t such a bad thing going slow across tricky terrain…

On road, the Wildtrak X is a decent and comfortable enough cruiser, though not exceptionally so. What extra sheen of compliance the chubby 17s provide – regular Wildtrak sits on 18s – it’s offset by some evident thrumming from the Grabber AT3’s chunky tread that gets bolder the faster you travel.

The Bilstein damping doesn’t really make for a finer riding Ranger, though to be fair the Ford breed does remain something of a dual-cab benchmark in this area. It’s not as nice and compliant as a Raptor. Unladen, the rear gets a bit fizzy on vertical movement on road.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 track

In blending off-road cushioning with on-road handling and body control, the Bilsteins merely do a good rather than great job in terms of ride quality.

The bi-turbo is also generally refined and quiet enough, though again it gets cough pausing on kickdown and there is some diesel rattle present. It feels like a well polished off-roading ute in character and refinement, one that doesn’t cause fatigue during long trips if one that’s also not specifically honed for the task.

In short, it’s a good all-rounder, one that certainly won’t drop the ball off-road if you require it and one that can be quite fun and supremely capable in really rough stuff if you’re after it.

What is the Wildtrak X’s interior and tech like?

Unsurprisingly, the Wildtrak X gets some tasty upgrades in enough places to elevate it to high-grade status without busting the regular sporty, off-road-themed Wildtrak mould.

The most notable upgrade is the larger 12.4-inch digital instrumentation shared with Platinum and Raptor. It’s huge, bright, clear, includes novel graphic changes in tandem with drive mode switching and befitting the theme and pricepoint. It is one of the best in the dual-cab biz.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 interior
Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 digtial dash

Ditto the 12.0-inch portrait-style media system, which also features in the regular Wildtrak. It’s intuitive, pretty easy to navigate and loaded with decent features, including a proprietary sat-nav system that will become handy when you’re stuck deep in the mulga beyond phone – and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – range.

While the Sync4A media format mightn’t be the fanciest out there, it does a lot right. Smartphone mirroring is wireless, there’s inductive charging to compliment it, and it’s paired with the HVAC system in such a way that you have the option of adjusting climate control through a bank of physical dials and buttons below the screen, or tweaking the settings on the above screen if you prefer.

The key upgrade in ‘X’ trim is the rather tasty 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, again shared with the likes of Platinum and Raptor.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front seats

The seats are eight-way electric adjustable with lumbar adjustment and heating for both front seats. They’re trimmed in quite hardy-feeling leather and faux suede that Ford calls Miko suede, complimented but so-called Terra suede – of a different texture and tactility – adorning the dash fascia and door card tops.

The pews are reasonably supportive and comfy, the whole cabin drenched in an almost-black Ebony theme that’s darker and more brooding than most of its stablemates.

The ‘X’ does some of the chrome and silver brightwork of the regular Wildtrak, though it does add splashes of orange in neat double stitching along some trim areas and in seat piping.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 rear seats

Where this ute feels most welcoming is that the cabin space feels solid, it’s well laid out and ergonomically comfy: all of the typical Ranger hallmarks.

There’s certainly some added ‘sauce’ in material use to bring the required upmarket lift, though it does feel fancier than it does utilitarian – you’d want to think twice about particularly muddy weekend warrior excursions, though the Wildtrak X-monikered all-weather rubber mats are nod to hopes of dirty adventure.

Row two is conventional Ranger fare. The ebony leather and faux suede theme continues, but it’s otherwise a general off-the-rack-Ranger fitout, with dual air vents, USB-A and -C outlets, a fold-down armrest that’s as stubborn to flip as any stablemate, and a rear bench that’s good if unremarkable for general passenger comfort.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 tray

Decent roominess, particularly in knee and head room, helps make for a decent part-time or full-time family hauler. The back-seat bench also flips up for added flexibility.

The rear tray is standard fare for the Ranger, with enough footprint to fit a Euro-size pallet. The litany of tie-down points plus the standard-fit roller cover and Ford’s Flexible Rack system also add versatility here.

Is the Wildtrak X a safe car?

Like the recently released Platinum, the Wildtrak X will join the rest of the Ranger range – excluding the Raptor – in receiving a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

The range scored 84 percent for occupant protection, 93 percent for child occupant protection, 74 percent for vulnerable road user protection and 83 percent for safety assist.

It fits nine airbags, including front, knee, side, full-length curtain and far-side driver’s front coverage.

  • Active safety features include: 
  • Adaptive cruise control with switchable lane centering
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Auto high beam 
  • Reverse brake assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Evasive steer assist
  • Rear cross traffic alert with trailer coverage
  • Load adaptive stability control
  • Lane keeping with road edge detection
  • Traffic sign recognition  
  • Tyre pressure monitoring
  • 360-degree camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Not to be overlooked is the on-road full-time 4×4 capability that is not offered on any other bi-turbo Ranger – ideal for slippery conditions where high-riding utes can sometimes find themselves travelling sideways in their default rear-wheel-drive setting.

What are the Wildtrak X’s ownership costs?

Fuel economy is a bit of a sore spot for the Wildtrak X. Despite its Euro 6 credentials, this powertrain is actually advertised at 8.7L/100kms combined, which is thirstier than many of its Ranger stablemates, bi-turbo (7.6L) and V6 (8.4L) alike.

During our test, consumption scaled as high as double figures off road and as low as mid-sevens on the highway. It fits an 80-litre tank.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front 3/4 track 3

Then there’s AdBlue, which typically needs refilling every 12,000km to 16,000km of normal use, says Ford. At around $50-$70 per 10 litres it’s not a huge ownership burden but it may require some forward planning on long trips.

In terms of servicing, intervals are 12 months or 15,000km capped at $329 per visit for the first four years or $1200 as a capped, upfront, four-year/60,000km package. The fifth year costs a bit more at $395, thus totalling $1711 for five years of servicing.

Warranty is a typical five years of unlimited-kilometre coverage.

The honest verdict on the Wildtrak X

Is the Wildtrak X any good? Short answer is: yes indeed.

It takes what many love about the Wildtrak, gives it a tougher makeover, brings some added off-roading chops and the new suspension makes an already nice riding ute ride even nicer.

Would we recommend it? That depends. Given it’s a niche within a humongous variant lineup, and many of its most popular versions – high-spec and V6 powered – are crippled with long wait times, it depends on buyer tastes, whims and patience…if you want a big six.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 front water

The elephant in the room is: would we prefer a V6-powered Wildtrak X? You betcha. The Wildtrak X is a recipe that would surely shine brighter with a bigger kick up the backside, no doubt. Ford ultimate – if fantasy – off-roading oiler pickup is hardly a conceptual stretch, if one that’s hamstrung by the big issue here…

But would we like Ford to get on top of the delays of the diesel V6 engine? So buyers can get their hands on the 3.0-litre Rangers so many want quicker? Absolutely. Indeed, you can order the regular Wildtrak with V6 diesel power…if you’re prepared to wait the long wait.

Which brings us neatly back to why this bi-turbo Wildtrak X exists to begin with. Or at least one of the reasons…

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X 2023 rear 3/4 water close

The Wildtrak X mightn’t be for all ute buyer tastes, but it does deserve consideration as a fine package with solid off-roading chops backed up by a diesel heartbeat many off-roaders prefer to trust in the thick of adventure. And it’ll tow 3500kg braked…even if those who tow regularly would most likely strongly favour the V6 options.

Still, the latest Ranger faces some stiff key competition, demand and supply implications notwithstanding.

One is Toyota’s brand-spanking Hilux GR Sport, with a similar flagship off-road pitch that’s a couple of grand cheaper and fits a larger and more powerful 2.8-litre diesel four.

And the other is the Volkswagen TDI600 Panamericana, fitted with that V6 diesel engine and a price tag that matches the Wildtrak X to the dollar…

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs

About Chasing cars

Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.

Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.

We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.

Terms and conditions

The estimate provided does not take into account your personal circumstances but is intended to give a general indication of the cost of insurance, in order to obtain a complete quote, please visit www.budgetdirect.com.au. Estimate includes 15%^ online discount.
^Conditions Apply

Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.

Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.

^Online Discounts Terms & Conditions
1. Discounts apply to the premium paid for a new Budget Direct Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire & Theft Insurance policy initiated online on or after 29 March 2017. Discounts do not apply to optional Roadside Assistance.
2. Discounts do not apply to any renewal offer of insurance.
3. Discounts only apply to the insurance portion of the premium. Discounts are applied before government charges, taxes, levies and fees, including instalment processing fees (as applicable). The full extent of discounts may therefore be impacted.
4. We reserve the right to change the offer without notice.