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Treasure Trove: 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X Review

For those not familiar with pirate history and no, I’m not referring to the era of burning DVDs but instead, the era of Jolly Roger flags and buried treasure! Traditionally, the letter ‘X’ tends to denote the location of said hidden treasure on a map. Now, Ford has gone and added this famous letter on to the end of their next-gen Ranger Wildtrak for a special edition but does it make the car a treasure trove or is it simply fools gold?

Front three quarters view of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X in Cyber Orange.
Wildtrak X adds unique trim and colour options to the Ranger lineup

Starting off with the new next-generation Ranger platform which in itself has become the gold standard for ‘Ford Tough’ shows that Ford mean business. The Ranger is not just an all conquering vehicle on/off-road as my experience on the car’s launch showed but has also enjoyed success on the sales charts. Not to mention the crazy thing that is the Ranger Raptor!

Rear three quarters view of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X in Cyber Orange.
Wildtrak X is a special edition and sits above the Wildtrak in the range

With a seemingly large range of variants, you may be asking where this Wildtrak X sits then? Well, the answer is just above the Wildtrak of course but bear in mind that it is a special edition so it won’t be around forever! But make no mistake because adding the X adds enough long lasting individuality as the following article will demonstrate.

On the outside, the Wildtrak X is available in five different colour options but my review model came in arguably the pick of the bunch and certainly my favourite! Painted in Ford’s Cyber Orange, this Ranger is not for those who want to slide under the radar. Yes, you do feel (very) conspicuous behind the wheel of this bright orange truck but if you’re going to go for the special edition X model then you might as well go the whole hog and make it as unique as you can!

The exterior look is completed with the addition of a front bash plate and a new set of ‘Wildtrak X’ badges dotting the truck as well as contrasting black highlights. The wheel and tyre combination featured is also unique to the X with it riding on 17inch Asphalt Black Wheels covered in General Grabber AT3 all-terrain rubber.

Interior view of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X.
Note the Cyber Orange contrast stitching in particular!

It’s a similar story on the inside too with the X bringing plenty of unique additions with it, starting with ‘Wildtrak X’ treadplates! The Miko suede and leather accented seats also feature embroidered ‘Wildtrak X’ lettering along with Cyber Orange contrast stitching which matches the truck’s colour on this occasion! Admittedly, the seats do take a bit of getting used to and with the seat heater on can start to feel uncomfortable. On the dash, the second glovebox lid has been replaced with a Terra Suede wrapped unit, also sporting the ‘Wildtrak X’ nomenclature. Finally, an upgraded Bang and Olufsen audio system adds a touch of acoustic class to the interior.

That is not where the individuality ends because X brings goodies to the tech and off-road department of the Wildtrak too! Starting with the tech, the instrument cluster is now a larger 12.4-inch fully configurable unit! No complaints there because it is accompanied by a central 12-inch infotainment unit containing Ford’s SYNC5 system is easy to use once you have developed a familiarity with it. I found myself using the limited buttons on offer rather than the screen but that’s probably because I’m a tad more old school than the average Ranger owner!

Front on view of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X at night with the LEDs turned on.
Don’t be fooled by the Wildtrak X’s colour and badges, it means business!

Underneath that bright orange bonnet lies a two litre Bi-Turbo diesel powertrain, putting out a whopping 154 kW and 500 Nm! The result is a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes (braked) and a factory fuel efficiency rating of 8.3L/100km. Mind boggling numbers and the four pot certainly does an excellent job of hauling this Ranger Wildtrak X. It’s not quite as smooth as the V6 and doesn’t sound nearly as good but does the job competently.

Rear view of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X at night with the LED taillights on.
Wildtrak X simply builds on the excellent offering that the next-gen Ranger is!

A similar description can be made of the ride which is again not quite as smooth as the Everest but you can’t knock the Ranger for that because remember, that truck bed is meant to carry 985kgs. In layman’s terms, their suspension set-up at the rear couldn’t be more different simply because their intended purpose is not the same! Despite this, the Ranger does well and the X model adds new springs and Bilstein dampers to further improve the ride quality. Trail Control and Trail Turn Assist have also been added to the already long list of off-road features as part of the X package! At the back, a Flexible Rack system helps with carrying longer loads and further broadens the utilitarian aspect of the Ranger Wildtrak.

A view down the truck bed of a 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X in Cyber Orange.
Despite the badge and luxury trimmings, Wildtrak X still hasn’t lost its utilitarian roots

The Verdict

What can I say, the new Ford Ranger Wildtrak is an excellent all-round choice for buyers of this type of vehicle. It treads that fine line between utility and comfort well. Then add the X badge and all the goodies that come with it and you end up with a vehicle that justifies its special edition tag. Yes, the base price is steep at $85,000 but that’s what it costs to purchase the gold standard in this class. With all that in mind, I invite you to go look for the X on Ford’s treasure map, just make sure its in Cyber Orange though!

2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X: 4/5

Thanks for reading! For more Ford news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Car courtesy of Ford Motors New Zealand. Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza.

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