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Car Reviews | Crossroad / 05-17-19

2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 A/T

Road Trip Boss


By Paolo de Borja Photos by the author, Iñigo Alvero, & Marti Salud

 

Pickups have come a long way from their purely rugged and workhorse roots. Nowadays, these vehicles are equipped with powerful engines, thought-out stylish exteriors, and premium interior touches.

Rolled out with an update late last year, the Ford Ranger is a clear testimony to this phenomenon. Subtle aesthetic tweaks are matched with an improved cabin to further elevate the lush and modern tone of the latest version. At the core of the Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 is a slightly smaller but quicker 2.0-liter turbodiesel – replacing the previous 2.2-liter engine.

 

I recently had the opportunity to take the Ranger for a trip to La Union’s surf town in San Juan. It felt like the ideal destination, as the youthful atmosphere of San Juan reflects the pickup truck’s modernity and refinement. The five-hour journey along different roads also provided a stage for a proper test drive of the Ranger.

Now, the Ranger tested here wasn’t the top-spec Wildtrak 4×4 variant that shares the same twin-turbo package as the Raptor. But for PhP 240,000 less, the engine on the Wildtrak 4×2 is more than worth your consideration and hard-earned money—especially if your lifestyle doesn’t require constantly battling rough terrain. Note that it still has the same 10-speed automatic transmission as the 4×4 variant and Ranger Raptor.

Speaking of the transmission, the additional gears benefit the Ranger’s efficiency, as it was able to do 8.5 l/100km in steady speeds along expressways. The new transmission also showcased how it reinforces the Ranger’s overtaking capability along the national roads of Tarlac, Pangasinan, and La Union. Combined with the torque generated by the lighter turbodiesel engine, it was relieving (and fun) to feel how the pickup easily gained speed to get past other vehicles.

As I’ve mentioned in the last C! December issue, updates on the Ranger’s looks are subtle yet most welcome. For instance, HID headlights and LED front fog lamps are now standard even on this Wildtrak 4×2 variant.

Much of the allurement, however, can be found in the cabin. The Ranger is one of the more packed pickups in the local market when it comes to technology and interior refinement. Soft touch materials on the dashboard and doors significantly distinguish the Ranger from competition, if I were to focus mainly on interiors.

Ford’s decision to replace the old color scheme with an all-black interior stresses a more mature ambience. Together with a responsive and easy-to-operate infotainment system, the Ranger was an exceptional companion for the lengthy drive to La Union.

The system exceeded expectations once I connected my device for music and navigation via Android Auto. I was able to scroll through and switch from one app to another with relative ease, allowing me to focus on the road ahead. Initially, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information on the instrument panel, but it didn’t take long to get used to it. Everything is well-organized and properly-labeled—not something that can be said for many vehicles in the market. I do appreciate the technological advancements in today’s products, but most of the time it’s a hit-or-miss, as sloppy configurations tend to spoil the user experience.

The journey to San Juan was relaxing and somewhat therapeutic as the Ranger exudes a driving confidence. Along with its lush interior (for a pickup) and technological upgrades, this pickup truck has become an ideal vehicle to drive up north.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the sunny beach weather and calming sea breeze. The trip to San Juan, coupled with delectable meals offered by local restaurants and countless cups of coffee, was made truly enjoyable. It really isn’t hard to appreciate our country’s natural charm.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1996 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16v
Fuel Injector Directed Injection Intercooled Turbodiesel
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 178 bhp @ 3500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 310 lb-ft. @ 1750-2500 rpm
Transmission 10-speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 184 km/h (115 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 10.1 sec

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 25 mpg (10.9 l/100 kms.) City / 33 mpg (8.5 l/100 kms.) Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,455,000.00
What's Great Refined and comfortable ride but doesn’t stray away from the identity of a pickup, well-equipped cabin
What's Not So The feather-light steering might not be for everyone, especially for car guys who usually want more road feel in a pickup truck.