Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Drive: 2016 Ford Ranger 2.2 Wildtrak

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The local pickup truck segment feels like something straight out of the reality show, Survivor. With the level of cut throat competitiveness going around, only the strongest will outwit, outlast, and outplay everyone else emerging as the ultimate king of the hill. Ford has certainly been playing that game right so far and it shows: the Ranger continues to be the country’s best-selling pickup truck. That streak is bound to continue with the heavily refreshed 2016 Ranger.

Forgoing the coat-and-tie in a ballroom setting launch, Ford decided to go to the deep end of the experiential game and let people experience an adventure in the new Ranger. Without much of a peep in terms of details and specifications, the contingent of Indiana Jones wannabes took off in seaplanes and landed at the shores of the remote Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur. The take-off point could serve as a warning shot across the bow of the Ranger’s competitors since Caramoan was the venue for Survivor. Coincidence? Perhaps not.



Driving into the tight confines of the resort in Gota Village in Caramoan, twelve new Rangers, all in Wildtrak trim, stood proud ready for the challenging 175-kilometer journey ahead. Seeing the new Wildtrak in the flesh makes one appreciate the details in its new design. Opinion is really split on the new bedazzling chrome nose, but people seem to agree: the liquid metallic elements make the entire front-end look much meaner. Together with the reshaped headlamps with projector-elements (daytime running lights on the 3.2 Wildtrak), it widens the appearance without going overboard. The side and rear are far less changed though, with the exception of a new wheel pattern for the Wildtrak’s 18-inch rims.

Assigned a 2.2 Wildtrak 4x2 and hopping aboard the cabin reveals a world of difference from the pre-facelift Ranger. Like its sculpted front-end, opinion is split on the Ranger’s cockpit. Some prefer the old one’s Casio G-Shock/Power Tool inspired chunkiness; some though have gravitated towards the new one’s car-like execution. Calling the new Ranger’s driving quarters a refresh simply does it injustice because almost every panel has been changed or modified.



The theme is now horizontal, with a thick graphite strip running the length of the dashboard. There are also convincingly executed metallic trim bezels as well. The top part features a leather-stitched dash topper with bright orange stitching, matching the cloth inserts in the new seats. The gauges are new, now similar to Ford’s other SUV offerings with a central analog speedometer flanked by a LCD screen on both sides. The four-spoke wheel features no less than 22 buttons commanding the screen, the infotainment, and vehicle functions like cruise control. And while there are more buttons now on the wheel, there’s a noticeable scarcity of them on the center console. In fact, it’s dominated by an 8-inch touchscreen.

Familiarity with Ford’s operating system is key to getting comfy. There are a lot of customization options available from displaying the tachometer as a bar or simulated analog gauge to changing the color of the ambient lighting to even the sensitivity of the park sensors. Suffice to say, to the untrained person, it does feel like a technological overload.



From Gota Village, it’s a drive through a zig-zag road that traverses five mountain ranges en route to the first stop: Balay Cena Una in Legazpi. The first 50 kilometers or so felt like the most severe test of any vehicle because of the terribly sharp concrete cuts mixed with unpredictable chunks of gravel and dirt piles. Without mincing words, the Ranger passed, but just barely. Designed as both a cargo hauler (3,500-kilogram towing and 1,000-kilogram payload) and active lifestyle vehicle, the suspension tuning gravitates towards the firm side. The firmness aside, there’s noticeable shudder in the cabin. It clearly doesn’t like these kinds of roads, but neither will any other vehicle. Plus, no other pickup probably would handle this better than the Ranger. It’s only because of a disconnect with the car-like cabin and truck-like ride that heightens the issue. When encountering cabin shudders, always remember: the Ranger is still a truck.

Just when you’re about to dismiss the roads to be rough the whole way, things started to smoothen out. From this point, the entire drive played to the Ranger’s strengths. The 2.2-liter 4-cylinder features only a slight bump in power, but feels more than that. The throttle pedal seems to have been recalibrated, offering a surge of power instantaneously after just a jab. In tandem, the 6-speed automatic almost always downshifts amplifying this power surge. This sensation requires you to change your driving style else you risk discomfort to your passengers. There’s also less parasitic power loss from the power steering as well, since it’s now on an electric assisted setup. In-gear acceleration is still somewhat sluggish, but is still considerably better than before. It’s also quieter; easily the quietest among pickup trucks. Fuel consumption hovered around 9.52 km/L despite the brisk pace.



After the late lunch in Balay Cena Una, it’s time to try out the new Ranger’s off-road chops. Everyone swapped to the 3.2 Wildtrak, solely available in 4x4—to tackle the volcanic ash and sand surrounding the slopes of Mount Mayon. This marks the first time any car company has brought a vehicle through this kind of terrain usually reserved for purpose-built ATVs and dirt bikes. The black sands on the trails around Mayon present a unique challenge. Unlike the lahar beds around Mount Pinatubo, the black sand here is granular and loosely packed resulting in far less available traction and grip. Running on stock tire pressure, the Rangers drove head on with the 4WD set to 4L and the stability control turned off (traction control stayed on). There were some hair raising moments for sure, but everyone made it through. It made even the most off-roading novice feel like an expert.

With the success they’ve had with the current Ranger, Ford didn’t need to develop a new one. They could have simply stayed put and things would still work out in their favor. Even with the slew of new offerings out in the market, they still remained at the top of the game when it comes to creating a truly balanced offering. Of course, in the game of Survivor, you can’t simply stay still; you’ll risk elimination if you do. Building atop the solid foundations of the Ranger’s already formidable package, they’ve made the 2016 model tougher, smarter, and smoother.


76 comments:

  1. Hi Ulysses,

    Can you compare the ride to the Navarra NP300 and New Strada? How are they comparing. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Nissan NP300 Navara still has the best ride while the Mitsubishi Strada has the tightest steering. That said, the Ford Ranger has the best balance among all.

      Delete
  2. and to add on, what is the difference of the 2.2 4x4 AT Wildtrak to the 3.2 4x4 AT Wildtrak in terms of features?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are all windows auto-up and auto-down on the driver side?

      Delete
    2. The latest specs can be seen in the other article.

      Delete
  3. No differential lock? I think the diff switch is supposed to be beside the traction control switch, as I've seen in pictures from Wildtrak models from other countries. Nissan Philippines' NP300 doesn't have the rear differential lock unlike those in other countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No rear differential lock for Ranger as well. Only ones with rear differential lock are Isuzu D-Max (I think) and Toyota Hilux (I'm sure).

      Delete
    2. Nah, I don't think the Hilux will beat the Ranger. Toyota Philippines stripped it of nice features found in the Thai market Hilux, and overpriced it (parang Binay lang with the cakes hahahaha). Value for money goes to both the Ranger and the NP300 Navara.

      Delete
    3. Yes, if toyota dosen't change the hilux next year with its features the ranger, navara or maybe just maybe the colorado. Toyota needs to wake up. Vehicles of toyota here in the PH have lack of features. In china vios or the yaris have automatic climate control and smart key system and even traction control

      Delete
    4. I think it's just unfair that we get incomplete features on our new model cars unlike those they offer in other countries. If Filipinos can afford the top of the line SUV's then they can surely afford the added costs for the complete or added features like differential locks, LED lights, etc. You're spending more than a million and a half pesos for these top-spec trucks and if you want the diff locks then you'd have to go after-market when you know those features come standard on the same top-spec model offered in other countries. I'm just saying. Parang insulto there's always that missing switch or button pag Pilipinas model. Ano ba tingin nila sa atin?

      Delete
    5. even the 3.2 4x4 does not come with the lockers?

      Delete
    6. hindi ko gets bakit ang daming hate sa ranger galing sa mga fanboys ng ibang truck.."hilux will beat this" weh? bumili nalang kayo ng hilux nyo pabayaan ung mga gusto magranger..kanya kanyang priorities yan. ako personally mas gusto ko hilux but ill buy the ranger now compared to the hilux kasi bago pa ung hilux..may mga recalls na yan at bare ung unit. ill wait for the facelift.

      Delete
    7. It's not just truck manufacturers charging Filipinos ridiculous prices for under-spec products; ALL foreign manufacturers do it. Living in Tokyo it's incredible to me to see the prices Filipinos are expected to pay for what, overseas, are last year's models. 4K TVs at twice the price elsewhere, cars at 1.5x the price elsewhere.....

      Delete
    8. Your right! The Government bones the car dealers with greedy, crazy duty tax then the already third world economy of the Philippines every day person has to pay for that greed of the Government. The same goes for TV's, - basically everything. Everything is double! In the USA you can buy a loaded F150 4 door pickup for about 1.8-2M and it puts the ranger to triple shame. The Ranger is a piece of crap compared to Full size F150 Ford Trucks. The Filipino people actually get high prices with STRIPPED ACCESSORIES and get basically a defective vehicle that will never last more than a measly 100,000km which is just break in for a F150 Ford Truck in the USA.
      Then, we you service your car at say Ford Alabang (which I have experienced) they steal your parts and swap you with broken parts. They are total crooks at Ford Alabang. FYI
      They dont even have a lemon law in the Philippines. The dealers could care less about the customer. They screw you every chance they can get!
      The whole car buying scenario is just crazy here. The whole industry is crooked!!!

      Delete
    9. I live in Canada and I totally agree with what was said here. Watered down specs and very expensive vehicles are made available in the Philippines. But with info avail on the internet, bistado yang Toyota with its stripped down Hilux. Compared with the Ranger specs, Toyota must think very highly of itself to offer less for more money.

      Delete
  4. rear diffential locks had been here a long time ago with the imported/surplus Suzuki 4x4 multicabs and i hear they come cheap with all them bells and whistle

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ford ph should give the ranger 3.2 4x4 a rear differential lock (just like in other countries).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct. More and more Filipinos are getting into trucks and off-roading. Kung meron differential locks yung trucks nila sa ibang bansa, dapat meron din yung sa atin.

      Delete
    2. So the Everest has rear differential lock and the Ranger has not? (specs Everest on Ford.com.ph)

      Delete
  6. Don't you think the brown in the seats are out of place?

    ReplyDelete
  7. 2015 Best Pickup Truck:

    1) Navara
    2) Hilux
    3) Ranger
    4) Dmax
    5) Strada

    IMHO... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ranger - 2.2L 4x2 AT Wildtrak

      Delete
    2. hahaha. Navarra no. 1 ? look at the features of Navarra. It does not even have tha standard features on the 4x2 variant like, GPS, steering wheel controls, cruise control, reverse camera etc. It only looks good in appearance but very bare in the inside of the basic features that are common in other pickups. Look at the features that the dmax and strada has to offer. For me these 2 are the best in the market right now in terms of getting the best value for your money..

      Delete
  8. 2016:

    1) Navarra
    2) Ranger
    3) Hilux
    4) BT50
    5) Colorado
    6) Dmax
    7) Strada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2017

      1) Ranger
      2) Colorado
      3) Hilux
      4) BT50
      5) Strada
      6) Dmax
      7) Navara

      Delete
  9. Imo The New Ranger wins this, then followed by Navarra, then all the rest follows. Checked out HiLux several times and trying to convince myself that its a new pickup, but whew seriously Toyota?!?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  12. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204846350746717&set=pcb.10204846355026824&type=1

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    ReplyDelete
  13. patay tayo dyan... Nagbenta na!
    Ford everest yun topic eh.

    ReplyDelete
  14. mr.uly,

    may built-in bedliners na po ba ito pareho?...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sa pabilisan,np300 navara ang the best sa lahat..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think people buy pickups because they want to go fast. You want a fast car, buy a sedan and call it a day.

      Delete
  16. facts is fact when buying a pick up truck, you know it will be subjected to a blue collar types of jobs and reliability is the biggest issue so with that in mind Japanese brands over american brands and china brands needs to be deported back to china

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But for me, I will buy an american brand, you !#@%%$^@#%$%@!$#%@$^^!^@%$!

      Delete
  17. Hi uly! I hope you guys can do a separate review on the 2.4 variant of the hilux. I want to know if its significantly better than the outgoing 2.5 model.
    And how it compares to the other NON top of the line pick ups in its class.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Another thing i want to clear, the hilux claims it has "imanual transmission".. Its supposed to be an "intelligent" manual transmission.
    Id like to request your personal review regarding this if its ok. The brochure's explanation got me curious on how it translates to "real world" driving.
    Is it real or just some marketing gimmick?
    And why does the manual variant for the 2.8 have less torque (420nm) compared to its auto counter part(450nm).
    Your opinion would be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ilang taon na ba si batman

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does the 4x2 wildtrack have a backing up camera???

    ReplyDelete
  21. tinanggal na ang rear fog lamps sa 2016 wildtrak. And also based from specs released, they say may drl ang wildtrak. When I visited a showroom hindi ko naman makita sa headlamp, even asked ford people at the showroom to show me the drl, hindi nila mapailaw. meron ba talaga? its a 3.2 wildtrak yung nakadisplay na tiningnan ko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On some models, the DRLs will only turn on when the vehicle is running and the gear is in 'D' or Drive.

      Delete
  22. i have plan to buy next month pick up truck my first choice ranger wildtrak 2.2at 4x4 second NP300 7at. have anyone idea regarding ride comfort and fuel economy?
    thanks....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if you're looking for value-for-money, the Ranger 2.2 has all the bells and whistles you can think of. The NP300 Navara is stumbling because of the lack of luxury features even for the TOTL variant. However, the Navara has the edge when it comes ride. Fuel efficiency? Based on the OLD Ranger (not 2016), the Navara comes out with better FC. However, we've yet to test the 2016 Ranger against the NP300 Navara to verify.

      Delete
    2. I am not familiar with pick-ups, did the old Ranger have a locking differential? Is it ok to have buy a 4x4 without one? Is it possible to have that installed later or is it too costly or not possible? thanks.

      Delete
    3. I am not familiar with pick-ups, did the old Ranger have a locking differential? Is it ok to buy a 4x4 without one? Is it possible to have that installed later or is it too costly or not even possible? thanks.

      Delete
    4. Im not into the special features type, for me ok na may aircon, radio, usb, power steering, power windows, power lock, power mirrors. Important for me is the smooth ride, FC, durability and power. Thats Navara np300 for me. Buttom line personal preference talaga. Good luck

      Delete
  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. kudos Uly for your fair enough view.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Uly,
    I am planning to buy a pickup and my choices are strada, dmax and navarra. Which one would you suggest. I want the best value for my money with all the features. I just plan to use it everyday for city driving and not for offroad or for cargo, thats it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, my advice, a qualified one, I own two D-Max, 2010 and 2013, absolute beasts in pick-up segment, but, there is a but, for city driving you have only 3 options now: new NP300, new L200 and even Amarok. Ranger is good but bulky and heavy for roaming in town, more suitable for real pick-up action. D-Max is fuel master, not even the newest pick-ups can compete with Isuzu in terms of engine and fuel consumption. I do 6.8 liter/100 km average, with AC On, in heavy use, its a dream for the rest of the pick-ups. But D-Max is more spartan than others, engine noise is present, not so confortable. Try NP 300 and L200.

      Delete
  27. ANO PO MAS MAGANDA DMAX X SERIES OR 2016 WILDTRAK RANGER? pa help mga kuya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for the wildtrak, I test-drived all these pick-up trucks and they were all nothing compared to the Ranger. (Looks exterior-interior, hi-tech features,power, and even accessories) And for me personally I like a pick-up truck that's tall and brute. I even have a few notes on these trucks:

      Hilux- tall but looks old exterior wise and the bed liners dont come with the unit you have shell out 15k more for the liners when its suppose to be basic for a pick-up

      Dmax X-series- noisy engine, short and WTH with that supposedly sports bar also non Electric Power Steering (EPS) which means it is very hard to turn.

      Strada- looks good now taller and cheaper but thats it. Narrow inside and that itself is a big NO for me

      Navarra NP300- Short and very basic exterior wise. Although you get alot of comfort when unloaded because of its suspension set-up when fully laden, the back sags a whole lot which sucks because that is the whole reason for getting pick-up truck to haul cargo.

      I hope this help, but then again do your own research and try these units...

      Delete
  28. Your right! The Government bones the car dealers with greedy, crazy duty tax then the already third world economy of the Philippines every day person has to pay for that greed of the Government. The same goes for TV's, - basically everything. Everything is double! In the USA you can buy a loaded F150 4 door pickup for about 1.8-2M and it puts the ranger to triple shame. The Ranger is a piece of crap compared to Full size F150 Ford Trucks. The Filipino people actually get high prices with STRIPPED ACCESSORIES and get basically a defective vehicle that will never last more than a measly 100,000km which is just break in for a F150 Ford Truck in the USA.
    Then, we you service your car at say Ford Alabang (which I have experienced) they steal your parts and swap you with broken parts. They are total crooks at Ford Alabang. FYI
    They dont even have a lemon law in the Philippines. The dealers could care less about the customer. They screw you every chance they can get!
    The whole car buying scenario is just crazy here. The whole industry is crooked!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ok lang ba yun 2.2l 4x2 FORD RANGER 2016 WILDTRAK

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you, Mr. Ang, for the very informative article. I now know what to get.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Prefer pa din talaga ung bigger displacement like 3.2 of the ranger.kahit at low revs ramdam mo hatak lalo na at 5 piston sya.kung may budget kayo 3.2 na kunin nyo.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Boss january 25 7:02

    Malaki ba difference ng fc nf 3.2 sa 2.2?

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love my Ranger ride is nice quiet not alot of road noise. 2 problems with it though.1. NO GPS system 2. No AC outlets for the back seat riders

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nakita ko sa internet yung rear suspension systems ng NP300 pansin ko parang hindi durable ang dating. May manipos na tubo na pinikpik para malagyan ng bolt tingin ko pra schedule 20 na GI na pipe at isang tama lang ng bato parang masisira kaagad.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Mga sir tama po ba ranger 3.2 4x4 kinuha ko compare sa navara np300 tanx

    ReplyDelete
  36. sir pasagot Malaki ba difference ng fc nf 3.2 sa 2.2?

    ReplyDelete
  37. sir pasagot Malaki ba difference ng fuel consumption 3.2 sa 2.2 at kung tumatakbo ka ng 100km/hr to 160km/hr. ilan ang average na nakukunsumo ng fuel km/L sa 2.2 at 3.2?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Good Evening, I live in the Uk and my husband fancies a new pick up as his next vehicle. Totally for pleasure, not business. My sons have small motorbikes and he is renovating our house. he is really stuck between the new Nissan navara Tenka and the Ford Ranger Wildtrack 3.2. Can anyone help.

    ReplyDelete
  39. ford ranger sucks!!!
    may look good on the exterior and interior but parts wise? will kill your budget on the cost.

    still go for Japanese trucks

    jdm all the way!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I need your suggestions and opinion about buying a car. Actually it would be my first car if ever. My reason for buying a car is for a business and I'm a civil engineer and i thought it would be more practical if i would buy a pickup car. TIA

    ReplyDelete
  41. Ano ma-advice ninyo Kung bibili ng pick up wildtrak 2.2 2017 AT or Hilux Toyota 2017? Nakaka bili ba ng parts ng wildtrak sa labas at hindi sa casa? Thank you

    ReplyDelete