I never thought I’d be a pickup person. When I think of pickups, I think of gun racks, rednecks and fried chicken. If I wanted something big and tall, I’d complete the roof and go for an intimidating SUV. But for everyday driving, I’m happy with a lithe and nimble subcompact hatch. But spending some time with the new Ford Ranger 4x2 XLT convinced me otherwise. If you’ve seen one on the streets, you have an idea of what I’m talking about. Ford’s new pickup has so much presence it grabs your attention by the collar and holds it. Needless to say, once I got my hands on a test unit, I was convinced that I could be a pickup guy. Here’s why:
- It’s a massive dose of testosterone – Look at the size of that thing. For a bit of size comparison, that’s an Isuzu cargo truck beside it. Sitting inside the Ranger makes you tower over all the regular cars on the road. It’s a good feeling, the kind a macho truck can give.
- It’s has very good water fording ability – Ford claims the Ranger can cross 800mm of river depth, or, you guessed it, floods. If you live in Metro Manila you surely have encountered flash floods. And you’ve probably seen jeepneys and tall SUVs traverse the flooded street without trouble, while you look helplessly on in your compact sedan, calculating possible flood repair costs in your head. Unless it’s Ondoy or habagat level disasters, the Ranger is your best friend when the rainy season arrives.
- It has good creature comforts – It’s quite roomy inside. I sat in the back during one of those trademark rainy day traffic jams and it wasn’t bad at all. I even managed to get some sleep. The Ranger also has the iPod/iPhone-compatible audio system seen in the Ford Fiesta. Navigating through playlists and songs is also fairly intuitive.
- The engine is a beast – The engine may “only” be four-cylinder, 2.2-liter turbodiesel, but it has a capable 148hp, and more important, an earth-shaking 375Nm of torque. I advise you get the six-speed manual transmission. The feel of harnessing all that power in your hands is kind of exhilarating and downright fun.
- The price is right – All the features and specs I mentioned are on the base variant—the 2.2-liter XLT 4x2. And it costs just P1.069 million. What’s great is it doesn’t feel like a base variant at all. The materials, the massive wheels, the entertainment system, the running board and the chrome trim all make this pickup feel premium.