Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X not afraid to get down and dirty

Our double cab bakkie did not break a sweat with a ton of cargo on the back.

The Citizen Motoring is not going to lie. Even though we have put many Ford Ranger models through various tasks over the years, we have always had a slight doubt over the true grit of these aesthetically pleasing leisure-orientated double cabs.

The back of a workhorse bakkie is not a place for sissies. This is where bricks, gravel, rubble, refuse, tools, crates and cattle are transported every day. These things are heavy, they have sharp edges, are being chucked onto the back from the second storey of a building site and can leave some poo behind.

Ford Ranger’s loadbin liner

That is why workhorse bakkies are sold with nothing but paintwork on the back that ends up dented, scraped, rusted and filthy not long after showing up for work.

Our long-term Ford Ranger Wildtrak X, like most of its siblings, came off the assembly line in Silverton with a fancy plastic loadbin liner fitted as standard.

This allows you to load cargo without having to worry about damaging the paintwork. And convenient grooves make it easy to clean and the water to run off at the rear.

ALSO READ: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X geared to take on any adventure

As a former owner of many a leisure bakkie, I can honestly say the Ford Ranger’s loadbin liner is a much better idea than rubberising or a rubber loadmat. These options are still prone to the odd brick denting the surface, resulting in inevitable rusting.

The moment finally arrived where we could put our Ford Ranger Wildtrak X’s plastic loadbin liner through a proper test.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak X
Aloes in transit. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Garden project

The job? Moving 130 20kg bags of quarry crush rock from a nursery in Valhalla to finish a long overdue garden project at my house in Randburg – and some aloes to plant from Hartbeespoort.

ALSO READ: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X is a bakkie that thinks for you

After moving 50 of those bags without hassle during the first trip, a slight miscalculation meant we overloaded the 960kg payload loadbin by 200kg during the next 60-bag trip. But judging by the way the suspension, which features Bilstein-dampers, handled it, we had nothing to worry about. Anticipating loadbin sag, it hardly dropped by two centimetres.

The 154kW/500Nm 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine handled the load with ease, just requiring the obvious adjustments for braking and cornering.

Even more impressive than the ride was the loadbin itself. Quarry rock has sharp edges that pierce though plastic bags and a ton is not easy on plastic. Fair enough, we did not drop it from the second storey like builders might.

Ford Ranger
Four trips, hard labour and the project is completed. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

ALSO READ: Ford Ranger Wildtrak X as nifty in the dirt as it is on the tarmac

Wildtrak X passes test

At the end of the job there were no visible cracks anywhere on the loadbin liner. And a sponge and soap cleaned the dust and soil away to transform the weekend workhorse warrior into the Pavement Princess it likes to be.

The R1 039 500 Ford Ranger Wildtrak X comes standard with a four-year/120 000km warranty. Service and maintenance plans are optional.

Read more on these topics

bakkie Ford Ranger Road Tests

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits