At this point, I think we’re all quite aware of Ford’s biturbo Ranger lineup in the Philippine market, including the Ranger Raptor which I happened to drive on the lahar fields in Zambales. That was the reason why I got excited after hearing a Ford Ranger Wildtrak lend-out; I wanted to feel that biturbo power on a normal daily drive to and from the office. To my slight disappointment, it wasn’t the biturbo; rather, the single-turbo Wildtrak 4x2 AT variant. But, was it really a disappointment though?
Ford Philippines introduced the 2019 lineup for the Ranger nameplate in September 2018. It tagged alongside the much-anticipated Ranger Raptor at a dirt course in Taguig City. It features minor changes on the exterior and a notable improvement under the hood. With its introduction, Ford Philippines was also proud to announce the new 2.0-liter turbodiesel and 2.0-liter biturbo engine during the event. So, how do these smaller engines compare to the outgoing 3.2 and 2.2 mills? Well, I might have an answer for the 2.0 turbocharged.
Although I consider the changes on the exterior as minor, I still find it refreshing to see the Ranger without the black slab on the bumper – which kind of looks like a mustache. It isn’t bad but the new look has this simplicity to it that takes it a bit further when it comes to the visual aspect. The grille now extends down to the middle section of the bumper and is painted black. Replacing the ‘mustache’ bumper accent is a set of blacked-out fog lamp housings on the lower side portions of the bumper.
A side profile will give you the same view as to what the older model looks like, except a small detail on the badge at the front quarter panel. While old models have 3.2 and 2.2 indicated on the badge, 2019 models have a ‘Ranger’ for the non-biturbo and ‘biturbo’ for the higher variants.
You shouldn’t also expect to see a different layout upon entering the cabin. As this is considered to be a little-over-to-a-facelift upgrade, the interior wasn’t really tinkered with. However, the upgrade took away the need for a key ignition, as the 2019 model now features a push-button start. Considering that this is a Wildtrak variant, Wildtrak logos are found all over the cabin, be it on the seats’ backrest or the dashboard. Another thing worth mentioning is the absence of orange accents on the seats’ upholstery, which I personally like better without. I just like things simple so I think the orange stitching is enough.
Oh, there are illuminated inside door handles, which I know are little details but, hey, they’re good to look at with those red lights in the dark. For charging, there are 230-volt and 12-volt sockets found at the back, while a USB socket is located in front of the transmission stick.
Entertainment is still highlighted by an eight-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system. This comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and voice commands and they’re pretty convenient especially when you’re driving with your young ones. Also, the rearview mirror is electrochromic, which means it regulates reflections of headlights tailing you as it automatically darkens. This makes night drives pleasurable despite cars that are on high beams.
As mentioned earlier, the truck now has a push button start for its ignition system. It’s worth adding that it now has a passive smart entry system, which is absent on the previous model. Better late than never for this feature, right? I also do have to point out that the adjustable speed limiter is a convenient help when it comes to driving on the expressway, as well as the rain sensing wipers – now that we’re experiencing sudden changes in the weather.
Driving and Handling
Pickup trucks are known for their bouncy suspensions. No wonder the Raptor features those Fox Racing shock absorbers, which control the movement of the springs. Although the Wildtrak 2.0 4x2 AT didn’t have those, I wasn’t able to find uneasiness on the ride. Maybe, if I played with it a bit more on a gravel road, I could come up with a different conclusion. However, the fact that I drove the Wildtrak 4x4 on the lahar field of Zambales still assures me that the suspension isn’t that bad. Of course, nothing compared to the Raptor but that’s already given.
Handling for the 2019 model, I believe, is more fun as it is somehow lighter. The steering wheel is light on turns and is on point on sharp curves. That even felt better with the pulling power of the 2.0 single-turbo diesel engine, which generates 180 hp and 420 Nm of torque. Give your desired pressure on the pedal and off you go, it’s as simple as that. Turns out that the initial disappointment finding out this was not the biturbo is a premature judgment on this machine, as it still handles the job pretty easily and it’s impressive. And while you think it’s harsh on braking as it is a big vehicle, it was surprisingly gentle; it wasn’t throwing me forward as I was stepping on the brake pedal.
The 2019 Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 4x2 AT is equipped with tons of safety and convenience features. Airbags run from the driver and passenger front, all the way to the side and curtain, which I, together with Ford, pray you won’t be needing forever. There is cruise control to help you manage your speed, an anti-lock brake system with electronic brakeforce distribution for well-managed emergency braking, and hill-start assist for inclinations, among others.
The seats, on the other hand, are all equipped with three-point seatbelts and are complemented by Ford’s seatbelt reminder system. The rear seats feature ISOFIX anchors for easy baby car seat installation. I also do know for a fact that kids are often adventurous in their own right, which is why the doors have childproof locks as standard across all Ranger variants.
Aside from being a candidate for a daily driver, the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 4x2 AT also showed great numbers on the fuel consumption meter. Knowing that this truck has a small engine and a turbo slapped on it, seeing the readings didn’t surprise me. A good run of an average speed of 80 to 90 km/h on SLEX registered 18.2 km/L on the screen. Now, I might have to admit that this isn’t a steady, gentle pressure application on the gas pedal. You may expect higher readings if you follow strict inputs on acceleration. Meanwhile, driving through heavy traffic in certain areas in Laguna gave me about 12.3 km/L.
I might have felt a little disappointed at first, knowing that what I would be driving wasn’t the biturbo 2.0 Wildtrak. Yet, at the end of the day, Ford proved that disappointments are a natural thing, especially if you can’t tell the difference. Not to mention, it has a price tag of P1,455,000, which is not bad with all the tech stuff and power you get. The 2.0 single-turbo is indeed powerful, efficient, and most importantly comfortable to drive. These three are rarely observed together on a pickup truck so if you think this one will disappoint, be its guest and find out what ‘Built Ford Tough’ really means.
2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 4x2 Exterior Gallery