|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
If this entire contest were based purely on looks, nothing much has changed with the Chevrolet Colorado. Still, why fix if it isn’t broken? The Colorado proudly wears the “bowtie” badge front and center of the dual-port grille. It remains striking thanks to the large, scallop-shaped projector headlamps, the chrome rimmed fog lamps, and wide wheel arches filled in with 255/65R17 tires. The large “Z71 4x4” sticker on the bed connotes its position as a high-stance model, a fact hammered down by the functional (and important) side step boards. The Colorado also uses LED brake lamps at the back for a definitive and unique touch. For 2014, the Colorado spells out “DURAMAX” on the front doors while black door moldings help reduce the changes of door dings—after all, you don’t know what the urban jungle might throw at you, right?
While the Chevrolet Colorado looks macho, the Ford Ranger is simply the next-generation of pick-up truck design. It’s more boxy and angular than the curvy Colorado and comes across as a gym junkie beefcake. And unlike the Colorado which goes luxurious and preppy, the Ranger goes sporty with dark trim elements on the grille, bumpers, door handles, and side mirrors. Even the headlamps (non-projectors) and tail lamps (non-LEDs) feature smoked elements complimenting the 18-inch alloy wheels with slightly wider 265/60R18 tires. In as much as the Colorado looks like Gerald Butler, the Ranger is Vin Diesel. The Ford is simply one badass pick-up truck.
Winner: Ford Ranger Wildtrak
Moving inside, both pick-ups have the same meticulous care and thought to its design as possible. The Colorado offers a very elegant beige-and-black color scheme with complimenting dark metallic inserts that give an upscale feel. There are some nice cues like the deep dual bin instrument cluster. It’s more form over function though as the microscopic numerals are barely legible. Thankfully, the large driver multi-information display shows a wealth of information including a digital speedometer. Leather seating is standard on the Colorado while the “dual cockpit” design frees up valuable interior room for the front passengers. Those at the back are treated to equally generous quarters with adjustable headrests. And get this, the Colorado now features a 60/40 split-folding seat cushion that folds up to store tall items. There are even two bins beneath there to store stuff like tools, guns (?), and other loose knick-knacks.
Meanwhile, the Ford Ranger goes the opposite direction and heads for the land of sportiness. The all-black cabin, carbon fiber inserts, and Casio G-Shock inspired detailing on the instruments get two thumbs up in both design and functionality. The standard leather-and-fabric combination seats are finished with contrasting stitching and spell the words, “Wildtrak” on the headrests—a very unique and well-though of design cue. Seat space and comfort on the Ranger is good whether you’re at the front or back, though the Colorado does have the edge with its wider seat cushion. Also, the Ranger doesn’t have that unique 60/40 split-folding rear bench (there are also storage bins there though). The Ranger could have scored a win in this category if not for some simple flaw: some controls in the Ranger feel less than luxurious in their execution such as those in the climate control. Back-to-back with the Colorado, the Chevrolet has sturdier and more consistent feeling switchgear. In terms of space, they’re comparable, but the Ranger offers three individual headrests at the back, but the Colorado has better seat cushions.
Performance and Fuel Economy
Before 2014, the Ford Ranger would have run circles around the Chevrolet Colorado in terms of performance and fuel economy. Despite being fitted with the 2.8-liter Duramax, the Colorado’s refinement was sorely lacking. This year though, Chevrolet engineers have more than made up with a buttery, fuss-free engine. It’s actually called “Duramax 2” in other countries and the changes include: a high-pressure commonrail, a water-cooled variable-geometry turbocharger, an electrical EGR valve, and a new composite intake manifold. All in all, it’s just as refined and quiet as the Ranger’s motor. The 6-speed automatic is also very linear and smooth, though sixth gear is rarely engaged. That said, the Colorado’s power delivery is less than linear. Low down in rpm, the Colorado feels ordinary and requires a good mash of the throttle to liven things up. You can sense that Chevrolet’s relying on a bigger boost to get the Ranger-beating horsepower and torque figures. An added bonus for the Colorado is improved fuel economy figures which now stand at 8.69 km/L in city traffic.
On the road, the Colorado has a supple and surprisingly refined ride. Though there weren’t any chances to take either pick-up off road, on pavement, the Colorado feels planted and secure; even more so than the Ranger. In terms of straight line stability, the Colorado has the slight edge, but gives up a bit of maneuverability (the Colorado’s steering feels slow). Where the Chevrolet really shines is in its ability to absorb small undulating ruts like Cat’s Eyes. The Ranger actually tends to hop through these obstacles creating a less-than comfortable feeling, especially for the rear occupants.
With a larger 3.2 liters of displacement to play with, the Ford Ranger now loses both the horsepower and torque game to the Chevrolet. However, its power delivery is much better. It feels very linear with an abundant amount of torque from as low as 1,500 rpm. There’s little need to mash the gas to get a similar jolt of forward momentum, translating to a much smoother experience behind the wheel. The 6-speed automatic though has this tendency to jerk through gearshifts (especially between second and third gear). However, because the Ranger is working with a larger displacement and one more cylinder, it loses out to the Colorado in terms of fuel economy, doing just 7.57 km/L in the city.
And despite the Ranger Wildtrak’s designation as a “lifestyle-oriented” pick-up, the ride just isn’t as smooth on pavement as the Colorado’s. Clearly, Ford is balancing on both comfort and capability so the Ranger does have the tendency to hop through smaller obstacles and jolt passengers, especially the rear, in the process. Surprisingly, both the Ranger Wildtrak and the Colorado LTZ are rated similarly for both towing and payload: 3,500 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms respectively. But while the Ranger gives up a bit in terms of ride comfort, it has the clear advantage when it comes to noise, vibration, and harshness isolation. There’s noticeably less wind and tire noise than the Colorado. The Ranger’s steering is much better calibrated too and responsive, making it more maneuverable in traffic and parking. The brakes also have a pedal feel.
Value for Money
As the toppers in their respective model ranges, the Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak and the Colorado 2.8 LTZ are separated by just P 20,000 (P 20,112 to be exact) with the Ford being the pricier one. Yet, both models carry almost the same amount of bells and whistles: leather seats (with power adjustment for the driver), automatic climate control, automatic dimming rear view mirror, rear parking sensors with a reverse camera, a full-fledged infotainment system, and even a standard bed liner.
However, the Colorado and the Ranger have diverged a bit, offering some unique equipment not found in each other’s list of standard features. For instance, the Colorado has the touch screen MyLink audio-visual entertainment system while the Ranger has a voice-activated (but no video) system. The Ranger has a dual-zone climate control while the Colorado has a single-zone one (but the Chevy’s air conditioning is much chillier). The Ranger also has the advantage of automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and front and rear fog lamps. But what gives the Ranger that convincing knock-out punch is the inclusion of Electronic Stability Program or ESP. Single-handedly, this very important safety system helps you out of hairy situations both off- and on-road. If there’s a single reason why you should consider the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, it’s this one.
Winner: Ford Ranger Wildtrak
It’s clear that both the Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ and the Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak offer next-generation levels of comfort and refinement in a genre once known for being simple workhorses. Though they’re both handsome with excellent performance, comfortable, refined, and user-friendly, the Ford Ranger still comes out on top, but just barely. It wins because of its chiseled good looks, but more importantly, better equipment levels (especially where it counts: safety). Still, the 2014 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ puts up a good fight with its mighty Duramax engine getting that much needed upgrade, it bridges the gap oh-so-tightly with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak in terms of performance and refinement.
Winner: Ford Ranger Wildtrak
2014 Chevrolet Colorado vs 2014 Ford Ranger Wildtrak
|Ownership||Colorado 2.8 LTZ||Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak|
|Body Type||4-Door Pick-Up|
|Engine / Drive||F/4WD, high, low||F/4WD, high, low|
|Under the Hood|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4||I5|
|BHP @ rpm||200 @ 3,600||200 @ 3,000|
|Nm @ rpm||500 @ 2,000||470 @ 1,500-2,750|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Diesel||Diesel|
|Transmission||6 AT||6 AT|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||N/A||N/A|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Rear Suspension||Beam Axle,
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc||Vented Disc|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Camera||Yes, Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front||Yes, Front, Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (driver)||Electric (driver)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40||Yes, Bench|
|Power Door Locks||Yes||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, Fold||Yes, Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes||Yes, Dual|
|No. of Speakers||6||6|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes||Yes|