Ford Philippines recently launched the next generation Ford Ranger and Everest earlier this year. So far I’ve only received the lower version of the Everest Trend and I’ve been underwhelmed to say the least. However, the time I spent with it was mostly normal driving and none of the situations it created to overcome.
Ford knows this too, so they took us on a ride in Zambales. We got to play in a lahar bed, a few shallow river crossings, and some winding roads with their newest trucks. There were also some activities that highlighted their technical prowess. Read on to find out how the twins raised the bar in their segment.
Prior to this trip, I had only had short rides with the new Ford Ranger thanks to the pre-launch shoot. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time with it, I can only imagine how lucky those who can get their hands on this pickup will be.
Its name suggests off-road fun, but the Ranger Wildtrak 4×4 is a winner on paved roads, too. The ride comfort was very soft and nicely complemented the quiet cabin. Driver comfort is also improved with automatic brake hold, more responsive adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and driver attention warning, which slows the car if it senses the driver is not responding or letting go of the steering wheel. It still has the easy-to-maneuver dynamics, but it now features a 360 camera system for better visibility, especially in tight parking spaces.
It may be comfortable on the road, but the Ranger gets clumsy when let loose on the dirt. A wider track and a longer wheelbase provide more stable cornering, despite surface irregularities. The rear end doesn’t pop out as much as it used to and the power is always available with a single whiff of the throttle.
What really sets the Ranger apart are its advanced features. The hill descent control system engages faster and allows you to drive more smoothly. There’s also an off-road mode for the 360 camera system, where you’ll see the front end and the front of the pickup truck for more precise navigation in difficult terrain. Most of these are shared with the Everest 4×4, but even then it’s a different beast.
After reaching our hotel in Clark, Ford prepared an event to showcase the new Everest’s improved features. They forced it to parallel park with Active Park Assist and showed how the Everest’s new electronic switches automatically shift into park mode when the task is accomplished. This also happens if you have activated the electronic parking brake and opened the driver’s door. There is also a demonstration of their rear brake. It acts like autonomous front emergency braking, only this time it works when the car is in reverse. Using a camera and sensors, it will automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision.
I already know that Ford improved the Everest suspension when I drove a Trend model a few months ago. The difference between night and day made Everest more attractive, apart from the many technical toys. Still, I was surprised at what it was capable of off-road.
Lahar beds just seemed like truck lanes in C5. The Everest 4×4 just didn’t care about the deep ruts in the sand or the dips and climbs from one section to another. Even if you are moving at speed, Everest remains stable and calm. I just wish the seats hugged you better, but other than that, the ride comfort on the Everest is incredible.
This is really what sets the Everest apart from the Ranger. They may have the same front end, the same instrument panel and most of the safety features, but in unforgiving terrain like the lahar beds of Zambales, the Everest shines as the one to go for if you want comfort and fun more than capability.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the Ford twins managed 15 km/l on our tracks. This includes going through the Skyway 3 phase, at NLEX and ending when we are in Clark. On rural roads to Zambales and back, they returned at 10km/l with moderate traffic.
After playing in the mud, Ford took us to the quiet location of Lake Mapanuepe deep in San Marcelino, Zambales. It was a completely cold place because there was no signal, Wi-Fi and pollution. Just pure nature and fresh water around your little green patch. I’d love to come back here with my girlfriend, hopefully still with the Ford, so I can play around on the land one more time before she gets her dose of IG pics on the lake.