The New Year has passed, which means that some exciting things are bound to happen such as a new car launch and a new car to drive, and while this Ranger Wildtrak was launched in the latter half of 2018, many are still interested to know how well this truck performs, especially now that it uses the same 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine from the Ranger Raptor. However, because this is the 4×2 variant, power is provided by a single turbo rather than two turbos. Does that make the Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 any less exciting? Not at all. Here’s why.
Ford Philippines invited us to take the new Ranger Wildtrak for a Christmas media drive to Bulacan as part of its continuous efforts to make a difference in the communities under its Operation Better World program.
“Christmas has always been a very special occasion for Filipinos, and at Ford, we always make time to spread the Christmas cheer especially to kids who have been eagerly awaiting for this season. It has been a great experience for everyone and we look forward to reaching out to more kids and more GK villages in the years to come,” said Josie Gonzalez, AVP for Government and Corporate Affairs, Ford Philippines.
As I was handed over to the keys of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, the changes outside are not that dramatic. Regardless of how little these changes are, it sure did make the Ranger Wildtrak even more handsome. In my opinion at least, the Ford Ranger continues to be the most handsome pick-up in its segment. These changes include, but not limited to, a revised front fascia featuring less gray trims, a revised grille, automatic HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED foglights, thicker “Ranger” lettering at the tailgate, as well as the relocation of the antenna, which is now located at the rear and features a bee-sting design. Speaking of the tailgate, it now features what Ford calls its “easy-lift” system, which means that it’s now 70% lighter than before, enabling it to be closed with just one finger.
Inside, the Ranger Wildtrak’s changes are much more minimal. The leather steering wheel is much softer, while overall build quality has also improved. Additionally, the Wildtrak logo has been added in the shiny gray plastic that spans the width of the dashboard. Lastly, the gear shifter has been redesigned, while passive entry with push button start has also been added.
Infotainment duties are still done through the SYNC3 infotainment system, which remains to be one of my favorite infotainment systems from any manufacturer. It’s easy to use, with large icons as well as a responsive software. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes as standard. Built-in navigation is also offered as standard.
On our way to Bulacan, the first impressions I had with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak is that, despite being the single-turbo mill, it provided much more torque especially in the low RPM ranges. I particularly enjoyed driving the Ranger Wildtrak 2.2 4×2 AT before, especially due to its torque being down low in the RPM range, but the newer, smaller 2.0-liter mill produces 420 Nm, an increase of 35 Nm over the bigger engine. This meant overtaking is much easier. Surprisingly, when overtaking at an incline, it was quite easy to make the wheels spin before traction control kicks in, making you feel like an obnoxious driver trying to overtake the tricycles that ply many of our provincial roads. This was enhanced by the new 10-speed automatic, which was co-developed with General Motors. The short gearing meant that there was plenty of pull, while the higher gears are used for overdrive to keep the revs low out in the highway. However, having so much gears to deal with means that in city driving, it often gets confused as to what gear it should shift into when you want to nip through gaps in traffic.
Another improvement was with how the suspension dealt with body movements. Under heavy braking or heavy acceleration, there were less body movements and nose dives, giving the Ranger much more stable handling characteristics than before. This is also evident when hauling heavy loads. Even with a full load of goods and gifts to be given to the children, the Ford Ranger dealt with the heavy load much better than before, remaining composed through the bends and over bumps. Given that trucks with a leaf spring rear suspension tend to ride firmly, the Ranger remains to be the better riding trucks in its segment.
This annual Christmas media drive, however, was also a collaboration with the Ford Everest Club Philippines (FECP). FECP is a growing community of Ford Everest (Generation 1 to current) owners and enthusiasts, with the membership officially built on Facebook. FECP is dedicated and committed to providing the latest news and updates on the Ford Everest car line, expert opinions, troubleshooting assistance and pieces of advice for its members.
“This year, we extended an invitation to FECP to participate in our annual Christmas gift-giving activity. FECP has been leading a lot of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives as part of their year-long projects, using their own Ford Everest vehicles to transport and move goods and donations and taking advantage of the Everest’s storage capabilities,” adds EJ Francisco, AVP for Communications, Ford Philippines.
Similarly, we were also invited by Ford Philippines to a Christmas media drive last year, driving the Ford Everest Titanium+ 3.2 4×4 AT which also proved to be an excellent companion for out of town road trips, even through the wilderness and in the roads less travelled. With class-leading features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Power Tailgate, and a Panoramic Sunroof, to name a few, the Ford Everest provides a level of technology and features that are still yet to be seen in its segment.
“It was a nice and humbling experience to join Ford’s yearly gift-giving program to bring smiles to the faces of Gawad Kalinga kids. Seeing those genuine smiles in all of them makes our hearts full. We’re all looking forward to join Ford Philippines’ advocacy programs in the future as they’re all strongly aligned with FECP’s advocacy initiative which is ‘paying-it-forward’,” said Edmarl Tecson, FECP President.
Whilst the event was mainly a way for all of us to give back to the community, it was also an opportunity for us to try the new Ford Ranger through its paces. Thanks to the capability and refinement improvements made to what I think is one of the nicer driving trucks in its segment, the Ford Ranger shall continue to bring in more customers into the showrooms of the blue oval brand.