2018 is the year of pickup trucks. Why? With the subsequent passing of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, adjusted excise tax rates affect the prices of most locally-sold vehicles, well, except for pickup trucks.
That’s why most, if not all, pickup trucks in the Philippines have less price tags these days, which we see as an advantage for the companies as this will more likely increase the sales of their contenders. The Ford Ranger is no exception to that. Of note, the 3.2 Wildtrak 4x4 gets a mind-boggling P1,628,000 sticker price for 2018 — that’s P81,000 less than its price last year. Wild!
You might think that the apparent decrease in price will take away the goodies that come with this range-topping variant’s interior amenities, but no.
The supple leather cladding with orange accents, screaming Wildtrak on the seats and scuff plates, crystal clear and easy-to-use SYNC 3 infotainment system, cool ambient lights, dual-zone automatic climate controls, auto on/off headlamps, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rain-sensing wipers — all these are still present to provide visual pleasure and convenience to the driver and all its four passengers.
If there’s one thing I’d complain about the Wildtrak, it’s the gauge clusters that it shares with the Everest. As I’ve said before, it’s legible and clear, but the left side is somehow cramped with letters and numbers, especially when you’re tracking your fuel economy.
Nevertheless, you can thank Ford for the number of charging ports inside the pickup. It has two USB ports, three 12V sockets (two in front and one at the back), and a 230V socket at the back for your regular appliance. Yes, you can actually bring your electric grill and eat samgyeopsal while inside the Ranger — that’s if you’re okay with the kimchi stench.
Space is also abundant inside the pickup truck, may it be at the front or at the rear cabin. Even without looking at the numbers, we know it’s the biggest among its competitors. There are no rear A/C vents, though, but that’s okay as the car’s climate control works well even at high noon. Outside noice deadening can also be improved a bit.
The Ford Ranger’s ride comfort is almost comparable to the Everest, with its soft suspension enough to allow going over unpaved roads easily (yes, we tried its 4x4 capabilities), but not to the point of being too bouncy on road imperfections.
Body roll is of course present, but hey, you’re riding a pickup truck with a towering 237mm ground clearance. What do you expect?
With the Ranger Wildtrak’s cabin amenities, somehow, it feels like home when inside the truck — whether as a passenger or the driver. The feeling is similar to what its midsize SUV brother can offer, and far from its beefy, muscular exterior demeanor.
The whole homey cabin is packaged ironically — a monstrous pickup truck that exhumes toughness. The good thing about it is that the design isn’t too aggressive. It still has those soft curves and classy accents, which give the Ranger a handsome appeal. It’s like that bulky gym guy who dresses well and can pull off a tuxedo.
Just like the other Ranger Wildtraks, its main distinction from other variants are the blacked out grille, door handles, and exterior mirrors. For someone who doesn’t like chrome that much, this is a huge plus for me.
That beefy design naturally comes in a sizable machine. For starters, the Ranger is 301-mm wider and 461-mm longer than the Everest. So, what do those numbers mean? Well, you have to have a really huge garage if you’re looking to buy this truck.
With its size, you might think hat this pickup truck is hard to maneuver, but it’s not. It has proximity sensors that are pretty sensitive, but that’s fine since you really need them when in tight streets. It also has a rear parking camera installed for that extra eyes behind, and a light steering feel.
At the heart of the Ranger Wildtrak is a 200-hp 3.2L 5-cylinder TDCi turbo diesel engine. To pull its 3,200 kg weight, it churns out a whopping 470 Nm of torque. Those figures are easily felt on the accelerator, with a smooth and reserved power delivery. With that, high-speed runs is never a problem.
It may not be as punchy as you would expect from such high numbers on paper, but whenever you need the boost, just press on the pedal harder and you’ll get what you need. The 6-speed automatic transmission also upshifts precisely, but there’s a discernible delay when manually downshifting.
With this engine behavior, the Ranger Wildtrak registered decent fuel economy figures. An hour of traversing southbound EDSA on a weekday morning read 6.9 km/l, while faster paces at 60 km/h average returned 10.2 km/l. Highway cruise at 90 km/h got 15.1 km/l. Looks good, really.
The monstrous exterior appeal that’s ironically combined with a homey, almost luxurious, cabin work well for the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3.2 4x4. It’s a pickup truck with a complete package of solid design, practicality, smart features, and decent fuel economy. Now, if you factor in its current price, what more can you really ask for?