Aussie Ranger Dominates the Dirt: Freewheel Burning Friday Presented by Yokohama Tire’s All-New X-AT

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Ranger has a diesel that Americans can’t get. But this small truck shows the capabilities of the North American models quite nicely.

The biggest critique of smaller trucks is that they don’t offer the same level of capability as larger trucks. So, when the new Ford Ranger hit American dealerships, F-150 fans questioned whether this smaller Ford truck is tough enough to wear the Blue Oval badge. In the past, compact and mid-sized trucks weren’t as capable in an off-road setting due to a lack of ground clearance, but as the segment has evolved, the most popular smaller trucks are almost as capable as the big trucks when it comes to playing in the mud.

Fortunately, the Ford Ranger that is being sold in the United States today has existed for years in other markets, including Australia, and many off-roaders Down Under have been playing with these trucks for years. This allows Americans to see what these trucks can do in rough settings with modifications and experienced drivers, including the host of the Michael Toomer YouTube channel.

Ranger Wildtrak Off-Road

Off-Road-Ready Ranger

The truck in the video above is a 2017 Ford Ranger Wildtrak, powered by the 3.2-liter diesel engine that is mated to an automatic transmission and the standard four-wheel-drive system. This is the most capable trim level for the Ranger that has been sold in Australia for years, but the Wildtrak is not available in America, nor is the 3.2-liter diesel engine. However, this video shows what the chassis of the Ranger sold in North America is capable of with a few simple upgrades.

Ranger Wildtrak Off-Road

Those upgrades include a two-inch suspension lift, a set of 33-inch tires on 17-inch wheels, an engine air intake snorkel and an array of underbody protection panels. Functionally, this is a Ranger with a lift and a high-mounted engine air intake point, but even with such basic upgrades, this small Ford is a beast at the off-road park.

Wildtrak in Action

The footage above begins with the 2017 Ranger Wildtrak climbing a steep dirt hill at an off-road park in Bunyip State Park in Australia. The deep ruts and loose footing pose little challenge for the truck on the climb, and even when the driver slows down to handle a peak followed by a plateau, the Ford Ranger easily climbs out of camera range.

Ranger Wildtrak Off-Road

At some point in this climb, the truck gets hung up a bit. But as the cameraman catches, the driver is backing down the hill for another run. This second run was unsuccessful as well, but after another run up the hill, the unstoppable pickup truck clears this particular obstacle, heading off into the distance.

Next, we watch as the Wildtrak climbs a large rock wall and a long, washed-out dirt path. The washed-out areas prove to be tough simply because it is so deep, but in this case, a larger truck may have had an even tougher time making it to the top of the hill.

Ranger Wildtrak Off-Road

This video leaves no question as to whether or not the new Ford Ranger can make for a fun off-road toy. So, crank up your speakers and enjoy!

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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