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    Ford Ranger 3.2L Wildtrak 4×4 AT Review – Payload Mover

    If you play Overwatch, then you will encounter the phrase “Keep the payload moving” all the time. Now in the real world, that means that you need to keep on moving! And recently, I faced one of my challenges for 2017.

    Last March, the condo we were renting ended its contract. So we had to move all of our belongings from the 26sqm unit, composed of the bed, shelves, table, TV, kitchen items and everything else back to our home in Marikina. One of the biggest problems we encountered is the refrigerator, it had to be moved upright as the chemicals inside will destroy the unit if placed horizontally and we didn’t have the proper vehicle for this transfer.

    That’s why we thought of asking Ford Philippines to lend us a hand, they gladly helped up us by lending their pickup Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2L 4×4 assist us and even review it at the same time.

    Now my unit was a mess prior to the move-out, we had a lot of boxes to fill up and trash to dispose of. But fortunately, it all ended up nicely as we experience transferring items before.

    To be honest, it was my first time to drive a pickup truck in my life. But it feels familiar as I have experience driving large SUVs and closed van delivery trucks in our family business. So adjusting to the much higher 237mm ground clearance wasn’t that much of a problem.

    Design & Interior

    The Ranger design philosophy communicates the tough built through its hexagon based curves and two-tone body language. Inside it’s even reinforced with the fusion of the latest technology, admirable leather works and driver-centric features.

    It’s meant to bring the latest technology to let you carry the toughest load of up to 1,000kg or even tow up to 3,500kg while enjoying the best comfort inside.

    Inside the cabin will welcome you with a leather wrapped dashboard with chrome accent plates for the aircon vents. While other materials are made of fine matte plastic which doesn’t feel cheap at all. This trend continues through the door handles with chrome finish and leather wrapped armrest. What we liked is that the leather wraps have an orange stitch that gives a compliment to the two-tone orange / black color scheme of the chairs.

    Of course, getting a Wildtrak version of a ranger isn’t complete without a seat cover that says so. Overall the seats are comfortable and the driver’s seat has fully automated controls for your leg distance, lumbar support and even for the buttocks. The controls are managed through two slide/toggle switches representing the chair, it was a bit confusing at first but definitely a requirement to know especially for a new car.

    The back row can seat three persons comfortably, four will make it cramp as to other sedans and trucks with its width. Each door is equipped with bottle holders with even a centre pull down tray table for drinks if you’re a group of four. Head clearance is nice as well giving overall ample space up to three passengers.

    Legroom space is ample enough as well, there is even another dedicated 12V socket and AC socket (Up to 150W) for devices at the back. Great for charging devices for long trips and can even handle multiple USB head chargers.

    Call it picky but we appreciate that Ford never forgets that this is a truck, even the sound of Ranger’s door closing reminds you of a truck with its strong clamping sound. Other brands will try to lessen this noise, but this is some of the simple ways to let you remind what you are driving a truck and be a part of its overall tough image.

    Driver-Centric controls

    Upon seating into the driver’s seat, you’ll be drawn more into the leather wrapped steering wheel along with left and right steering controls. Now, Ford implements their dual TFT instrument cluster for a better management of your focus in driving. The controls on the left (Blue) side manage everything indicating about the car such as speed indicator, fuel mileage, anti-collision, etc.  While on the right (red) side are the media controls such as Bluetooth audio control, Apple CarPlay, Android CarPlay, volume and voice command.

    We love that there are a lot of options to play around from the Ranger, it gives you full flexibility of the features from speed, lane assist/departure, safety and even the unit of measurement to use.

    One feature we love is the flexibility to edit the safety lock to activate automatically, for people who are like us who likes another layer of assurance aside from manual locks. You can also set a certain time the headlight will remain on even if the engine is already off, we like the 20 seconds duration to give you ample time to walk away and give you lighting in a dark garage.

    Driving Performance

    Our test unit is a Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2L 4×4, it has a 5 cylinder, DOHC diesel engine that purrs more with a refined sound. Maximum torque can reach 470Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm, enough to carry big loads when needed.

    But in our experience of an urban environment like Metro Manila, the engine proved to be more worth in fast accelerations. The 6-speed automatic transmission can simply accelerate you to 100kph when you attentively press on the accelerator, it’s so powerful that even a gentle step on the gas give a significant amount of acceleration.

    We just feel almost a half-second delay in response in acceleration, but this is common in automatic transmission based vehicles so we didn’t mind it much. You can always just use the Tiptronic based shifting to accelerate faster in lower gears, this lets you rev up to 6000rpm in 3rd or 4th gear to easily reach 100 – 120kph.

    Handling is good with the right amount of resistance with the steering wheel, you can easily manage with one hand if permitted. Turning radius is a bit wider and we have to occupy the 3rd half lane of a small road upon u-turn, that’s already with clearance from the other side. So far in our experience with largely based vehicles, this is one of the biggest vehicles we have handled but manageable with its sensors guiding you all around.

    Provided with the 18″ alloy wheels with 265mm / 60% width, so it’s definitely for a truck-class vehicle. Suspension proved to be adaptive in our experience whether both good road or bad road. In the roads of C5 where the 2nd lane is the really bumpy cause of the trucks, the Ranger delivers a jelly-like feeling adapting to the terrain instead of the usual hard bumps and crashes you encounter on a sedan or SUV.

    Given the type of vehicle, this is expected for a truck to handle bumps rough terrains but Ford goes the extra mile with its adaptive system which controls the torque and speed of each wheel to deliver a balanced vehicle. As a result, even casual drives aren’t shaky as usual, but it is a bit sensitive to the little potholes on the road. Of course, it’s harder to avoid obstacles with a wider wheel base and even bigger vehicle size.

    With all these power on a truck, it’s nice that Ford leads in safety as well. Aside from the usual front and back sensors for conquering tight spaces, the Ranger is also equipped with advanced sensors like an anti-lane departure, auto rain sensing wipers, light ambient sensors and even an anti-collision sensor and warning system.

    We love the anti-collision sensor as it is a dedicated red strip of LED lights on top of the dashboard, it lights up when you’re around 1 meter near a vehicle or anything close to hit. But in a scenario that you’re speed is much faster that the vehicle in front of you, an emergency warning of red flashing lights paired with beeping sounds will alarm you to immediately slow down. Pretty nifty especially you’re handling a powerful engine which can simply rev up faster than most cars in the road.

    You can adjust the level of sensitivity of the sensors, but for Metro Manila environment we suggest to keep it at medium settings. Just have some patience with motorcycles driving on your side, that might trigger some sensors and cause some alarm.

    The ambient light sensor activates the headlights in dark conditions, it is almost spontaneous in our experience especially going inside a basement parking. One interesting control we saw is that the fog lights are adjustable in 4 height levels for desired intensity.

    Headlamps provide long-range illumination, still, the standard warm temperature that is preferred over bright white LED ones. Plus, the Ranger is designed to go outdoors and it’s still suitable to use warm lighting in those scenarios.

    One last thing, about the horn…it only has one tone and its constant regardless how lightly you press the button. So even if you bump your hand lightly, it will be the same tone all throughout, something you can’t do to do warning honks to pedestrians aside as it will be too rude to do.

    What happened to the move?

    I moved into my parent’s house after 5 trips, the tricky part is that we also needed to vacate the room I will occupy in my grandmother’s house. So we overall made more than 10 trips back and fourth transferring big appliances, some furniture, and even the bed-frame.

    Dedicated latches can be found in strategic places in the back, it’s convenient for tying up large items to secure them. Even more, the flooring is conveniently guided with vertical stripes to easily move items backward and forward.

    Of course, we could have just hired a logistic tracking to transfer all items in one go, but those cost a premium of around Php5,000 for a single point transfer. With our experience with the ranger, our transfers still leave the ranger with 1/4 of gas upon return, which is around 60 liters or less than Php2,000 of fuel.

    One disadvantage of this method is that you need to plan your trips carefully, make sure that it won’t rain when you are on the road. Fortunately, in our experience, we only experienced a minor drizzle that didn’t damage our valuables.

    Fuel Economy

    All ranger variants have the capacity of 80 liters, in our test unit, we averaged 8.6km per liter in urban driving. This is mixed of traffic and late night driving with speeds up to 100km, so overall it’s a usual drive scenario for us.

    When considering fuel, we can let the fuel indicator go as much as 13km per liter with considerable speeds up to 80kmh. So overall, the Ranger is a fuel economic vehicle in our experience and we weren’t even able to deplete it in our 1-week test duration.

    Entertainment

    The Ford Sync system integrates everything in the Ranger, but it’s also capable of Apple CarPlay as you can see in the photo. When connected via USB with your compatible iOS device, you can call out commands from Siri, let messages to be read out and play music via Spotify or from your internal memory and even navigate via Apple Maps.

    In our experience, calling out Siri via “Hey Siri” or the voice command button on the steering wheel resulted to accurate commands. Just make sure you have good internet coverage in your area as this is still internet dependent. Speaking of internet, this is also the method how the Ford Sync will be able to have updates, it can search automatically for software updates when needed.

    Audio quality from the 6 speaker system is above average. It lacks a bit in mid frequency clarity and low-frequency bass that you will look on a large audio system, but it is still acceptable enough even in high volume. Despite tweaking the equalizer system, we weren’t able to bring out the good bass we desire, but maybe it’s just our ears being too picky.

    Cooling

    The Ford SYNC panel also manages the air-conditioning unit. You can conveniently manage the dual-zone temperature to your preference, this was very handy when I needed warm air on my side as I got drizzled from the rain while still letting other passengers ride comfortably.

    Ford still included the traditional buttons and dials to control the audio and climate control. This is ideal when while driving and you still need to slightly adjust the temperature or volume.

    Despite the increasing heat of March, the aircon was ample enough to cool you down even in hot afternoons. But to our suggestion, just put even medium tinting to decrease outdoor source of sunlight heat in order to avoid the sunlight skin burn as well.

    Safety

    The Ranger has front, side, and curtain airbags for overall passenger safety. In addition, the sensors all around guide the ranger from any nearby hits when parking or traveling through narrow streets.

    The reverse camera is carefully placed underneath the Ford logo, which overall shows a 120-degree wide angle view of what is behind. Guidelines of green, yellow and red are also shown digitally to warn you of how near you are from hitting an object.

    Controls for the sensors, trailer sway control, and hill descent control can also be found beside the gear shift. Along with the dial knob for the wheel sensitivity for overall control of the vehicle in one location.

    Other features

    While we weren’t able to go any water terrain, the Ranger is also capable up to 800mm of water wading, just in case you need to cross small water obstacles or flooded streets in rare occasions.

    The nice surprise we had is the ambient lighting system, the Ranger can change the color of the door handle, footrest into seven different colors for personalization. Now, this is nifty as some might not prefer the default red color, to our case we prefer and love the violet lighting. It’s something that won’t cost a fortune, but definitely, brings a lot of smile into our face.

    Conclusion

    With our time with the Ranger, it’s our favorite truck based vehicle we have experienced so far simply with its advanced technology and ridiculous engine power. We were able to load-in everything we need for our move-out and even enjoyed side-trips from attending other events and even shopping with the ranger.

    Alongside with the advance Ford Sync and sensors, it completes the overall experience of also being the safest vehicle we have driven as well. The Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2L 4×4 AT has the SRP of Php1,709,000 which is the high-end model already. For its advanced features and class leading water wading and towing capacity, it’s meant for those who needs to carry trailers, ATVs or even business oriented persons. But in our case, all the features are still fun for an urban environment even for casual load transfers.

    If you find the price a bit steep, you can go lower to the 2.2L variants. Just remember that it will be 4 cylinder engines, so the sound won’t be the same premium purring. But there are so many Ford Ranger variants available, here are the prices

    • Cab & Chassis 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 709,000
    • Single Cab 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 769,000
    • Base 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 889,000
    • XLS 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 1,039,000
    • XLS 2.2L 4×4 MT – ₱ 1,199,000
    • XLT 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 1,219,000
    • XLT 2.2L 4×2 AT – ₱ 1,279,000
    • FX4 2.2L 4×2 MT – ₱ 1,299.000
    • FX4 2.2L 4×2 AT – ₱ 1,359,000
    • Wildtrak 2.2L 4X2 MT – ₱ 1,365,000
    • Wildtrak 2.2L 4×2 AT – ₱ 1,425,00
    • Wildtrak 2.2L 4×4 MT – ₱ 1,479,000
    • Wildtrak 2.2L 4×4 AT – ₱ 1,539,000
    • Wildtrak 3.2L 4×4 MT – ₱ 1,649,000
    • Wildtrak 3.2L 4×4 AT – ₱ 1,709,000

    We are so satisfied with our experience with the Ranger, we award it with our recommended award because of its overall complete package for performance, entertainment and safety for a pickup truck.

     

    To know more about the Ford Ranger or any other vehicle, simply go to www.ford.com.ph and you can see their complete website with transparent pricing, specifications and even downloadable brochures.