It has been months since Ford Philippines has unleashed the first-ever Ranger Raptor on Philippine dirt, and with it comes a revamped lineup of the Ranger – the Blue Oval’s best-selling model in its Philippine lineup. One of the notable things seen in the new lineup of Rangers are the similarities between the range-topping Wildtrak and the monstrous performance pickup truck.
While we’re just as excited as you are for an in-depth review of the Ranger Raptor, Ford Philippines was only able to grant us a media vehicle of its Ranger 2.0 Wildtrak 4x4 Biturbo, which is the closest thing to a Ranger Raptor – only better, in so many ways than one. Let me explain.
Read along for a closer look at the 2019 Ford Ranger in its 2.0 Wildtrak 4x4 Biturbo variant.
Let’s get this out of the way: the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak is a facelift even with the new set of engine options. This means the frame remains the same underneath the slightly updated exterior design, as is the overall size.
Even so, the changes in the Ranger’s styling are for the better. The thinner slats on the grille gave it a new demeanor. Think of it like seeing a girl friend who came back from a holiday break – something’s definitely new with her. Maybe the hair, maybe the clothes. No, it’s definitely the hair. New hair treatment?
Aside from a few nips and tucks, the 2019 Ford Ranger, at least in its top-of-the-line Wildtrak trim, also gets a full set of LEDs for its lighting – yes, fog lamps included – while the headlamps have HIDs that lit the road very well at night. It also gets a set of LED daytime running lights, veering away from the yellow DRLs of its predecessor. While the old Wildtrak was an athlete in a tuxedo, the new one is the same athlete wearing a tuxedo, a pompadour haircut, and a Versace cologne.
Following the subtle changes outside, the Ranger Wildtrak’s interior also gets a bit updated, but not too much. First and foremost, I love the feel of the soft steering wheel material. It’s a pleasure to touch which affects the overall driving experience, in my opinion. The orange accents are retained, albeit less than before, inside the cabin to match the Wildtrak-exclusive Saber color. NVH insulation has been greatly improved as well, but you could still hear the engine noise creeping in at high-revs. It isn't hard to live with, especially with the almost-nonexistent engine vibration.
Beyond the aforementioned changes, you’re pretty much looking at the predecessor’s cabin – and that’s a good thing, as the Ranger’s status as the most attractive, most premium-looking interior in a midsize pickup truck remains intact. If there’s any qualm, however, it would still be the same thing I complained about before: the left display of the digital instrument clusters remains a bit cluttered, especially if you’re monitoring your fuel consumption.
Nevertheless, space is abundant, among the biggest in its class, while ride comfort remains the smoothest among pickup trucks, although, there was definite body roll when turning and nose dive when braking hard as expected from a truck with 232mm ground clearance.
The Ranger’s tech offering is where you would probably get pleasantly surprised. Added to the refreshed version is adaptive cruise control, which makes it a pleasure to drive on the highway. It also has lane keep assist, lane keeping aid, active park assist (parallel and perpendicular), and autonomous emergency braking. You won’t find these tech features in the Ranger Raptor, let alone in any other midsize pickup truck that’s sold in the Philippines. Well, new year, new tricks, new me. At least the Ranger is faithful to that cliché and didn’t stick to just hair treatment.
While the mentioned features above are already a handful, they’re only on top of what was already available in its predecessor, such as automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, SYNC 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, reverse parking camera, power-adjustable driver seat, and speed-sensing door locks. The speakers would delight music lovers but not enough to please sound connoisseurs. Rear passengers, on the other hand, get a 12V socket and a 230V inverter. Yes, you could cook rice while hauling sacks of cement at the back, so I was told.
And oh, that tailgate lift assist is pretty cool – I could literally lift the tailgate with just one finger.
The Ranger Wildtrak isn’t just the most pleasant-looking and the most tech-laden nameplate in its class – it’s also the safest. Aside from the mentioned tech features above, it also has a full set of airbags: driver, front passenger, sides, and curtains. On top of that, it’s equipped with electronic stability program with traction control, hill start assist, ABS with EBD, driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders, and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Driving and Handling
The Ranger Wildtrak is powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-liter bi-turbocharged diesel engine for this refresh. This is the very same engine found at the heart of the Ranger Raptor, and that includes the 10-speed automatic transmission.
I know what you’re thinking. 2.0-liter powering a 2,080-kg machine? Is Ford serious? If you think that the smaller engine displacement meant lower power output, then you’re wrong. In fact, the 2019 Ranger 4x4 Wildtrak produces higher numbers than the five-cylinder 3.2-liter of its predecessor – 210 horsepower (+10) and 500 Nm torque (+30).
Even better, these numbers translated well on the actual drive. With its turbo setup, there was low-end punch with a maximum pull that starts at around 1,700 RPM, while providing grunts within mid-range and beyond. Power delivery was very progressive and linear, thanks to its 10-speed slushbox. These traits accounted for a composed pickup truck that was never short of power, which was way, way better than before, I must say. Also, even with its size, the Ranger wasn’t hard to maneuver on both tight and wide roads. The electronically assisted steering felt weighty during fast-paced drives and light at crawls.
I wasn’t able to test the Ranger Wildtrak’s off-road capabilities, but for your information, it has a 4x4 shift-on-the-fly knob and a locking rear differential. It can also tow up to 3,500 kg and has a payload capacity of 1,120 kg. In comparison, the Ranger Raptor can only tow up to 2,500 kg and carry up to 766 kg of payload.
With its new driving characteristics and linear power delivery, the Ranger Wildtrak posed better fuel efficiency than its predecessor. An hour of driving within heavy traffic returned 7.3 km/L, while faster drives at around 60 km/h clocked in 11.1 km/L. Fuel efficiency on the highway (at 90 km/h), on the other hand, decreased by a hair, clocking in 14.8 km/L.
Take a Ford Ranger Raptor. Remove the more rigid chassis, Fox suspensions, Baja mode, 32-inch tires, and the gritty body kits and you’ll get a 2.0 Wildtrak 4x4 Biturbo. As a trade-off, you get more high-tech features and better towing/payload capacity at P1,695,000 that’s P200,000 south of the Ranger Raptor’s price tag.
With all things considered, the Ranger Wildtrak 4x4 is a smart choice if you’ll use the vehicle for its modern intended use – a lifestyle pickup truck that can double as a workhorse when needed. Yes, it’s the closest thing you could get to a Ranger Raptor but if you aren’t really into hardcore off-road racing, it should be the one you’re looking at rather than the huge four letters embossed on the Dyno Gray grille.
2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Biturbo Exterior Photo Gallery