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Typically, it’s the pick-up trucks that run the gauntlet when they’re put to the task of showcasing their burly capabilities and features to their respective markets, but most especially to the motoring media. It’s as if these trucks didn’t literally go through millions of kilometers of testing on every aspect of their performance, comfort and durability, and it’s as if we’re the ones left with the burden of proof regarding their claims. Well, in a way, we are. It’s a case of “don’t take our word for it” from the side of the manufacturers, and “we’ll see about that” from ours as journalists. But it’s a burden we’d happily take on at almost any given day.

Phuket, Thailand: it’s our first overseas test drive after being cooped up for over two years due to the pandemic, and boy were we ready for whatever they can throw at us- well, at the next generation Ford Ranger that is. Thailand has always been Ford Asia-Pacific’s go-to proving grounds for their SUV and Truck releases, and for good reason. Their trucks with specs and features that seem over-engineered are pushed to their limits on every possible terrain found in our region, ranging from the mild to the outrageously extreme, and they’re all in various provinces of Thailand- Changrai, Chiangmai, Rayong, Krabi, then this time in Phuket- each one an adventurous experience, and each trip adds a notch to the levels the nameplates of Ford have upgraded to… and the next-gen Ranger seems to have the most significant to date.

The future of off-roading, right now

Strap yourself behind the wheel of a current top-spec Ranger Wildtrak 4X4, and you know you’ve got a hardy truck with a robust 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine mated to a SelectShift 10-speed automatic transmission, rated at 210 PS and 500Nm of Torque, an 800mm wading depth, and basically everything you’ll need to get you out of hairy situations off the road and take you to places lesser rides would stall in. But what does the next-generation Ford Ranger offer on top of these? Apparently more, besides a stunning driver interface right smack in the middle of its Zen-like dashboard. There’s a bit of a breakthrough when you’re able to see the obstacles you’re traversing, in vivid high-resolution via its front facing camera simultaneously witha 360-degree bird’s eye view that’s impressively accurate as a visual reference. So not only is it smart in that regard, it also allows you to get more adventurous in a smart way, since you’ll see how far you can push your boundaries.

The touch screen that’s essentially a dash-mounted tablet serves as your central control and information center for your vehicle and drive status, navigation, entertainment systems and more- sorry guys, access to your social media isn’t on the menu… yet. The convenience, intuitiveness and efficiency the info-at-a-glance it offers on a larger scale is so significantly now. It’s even complemented by its virtual instrument binnacle, that reflects pertinent data for the driver, like which among the various drive modes you’re engaged in… and that brings me to how the new Ranger is-

One incredibly capable land craft

Toggling between 4 Wheel-High and 4 Wheel-Low settings with mere button pushes, engaging the differential lock for more serious traction via the touch screen is great, its Hill Descent Control can even be life-saving in certain situations, but its well-engineered plethora of terrain-specific drive modes actually enhance and expand your range and well, your enjoyment and capacity for more adventurous driving thrills- one for mud, sand, rocks, and even water-wading included. For each mode, intelligent off-road dynamics come into play in various combinations in real-time, adjusting Torque and throttle response, axle ratio, drivetrain configuration and more, to be able to take on almost anything you point it at. The new Ranger also has a wider track, a longer wheelbase, better approach and departure angles, and even an improved suspension for when you’re back in civilization.

Built for the best of both worlds

Let’s face it, unless you’re one of the very few who actually thrive in an abode in the middle of nowhere and have the likes of Indiana Jones as weekend guests, you wouldn’t need the other half of features the next-gen Ranger is equipped with, like intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering, a lane keeping system with road edge protection, and eventually even access to a proprietary app called FordPass, that allows owners to connect to their Ford vehicles 24/7 via their smartphones, to start the engine remotely and set the preferred AC temperature, get vehicle health alerts, and even stay connected while in the Ranger vis Ford’s SYNC4A. But, it’s there in case you think you won’t.

Whether you’re a city slicker or someone in search of a lost city, or someone that’s both, the next-gen Ranger is blinking like a large beacon as a most compelling ride for that version of yourself.  As for me, I’m just so glad all this pent-up longing for a serious overseas drive, especially one that’s off-road and almost off-grid, has been satiated by this new Ranger. And it did so with flying colors. Don’t fret though, as Ford is about to roll it out on Philippine soil by the second half of this year. Adventurers, rejoice.

Next-generation Ford Ranger excels

Typically, it’s the pick-up trucks that run the gauntlet when they’re put to the task of showcasing their burly capabilities and features to their respective markets, but most especially to the motoring media. It’s as if these trucks didn’t literally go through millions of kilometers of testing on every aspect of their performance, comfort and durability, and it’s as if we’re the ones left with the burden of proof regarding their claims. Well, in a way, we are. It’s a case of “don’t take our word for it” from the side of the manufacturers, and “we’ll see about that” from ours as journalists. But it’s a burden we’d happily take on at almost any given day.

Phuket, Thailand: it’s our first overseas test drive after being cooped up for over two years due to the pandemic, and boy were we ready for whatever they can throw at us- well, at the next generation Ford Ranger that is. Thailand has always been Ford Asia-Pacific’s go-to proving grounds for their SUV and Truck releases, and for good reason. Their trucks with specs and features that seem over-engineered are pushed to their limits on every possible terrain found in our region, ranging from the mild to the outrageously extreme, and they’re all in various provinces of Thailand- Changrai, Chiangmai, Rayong, Krabi, then this time in Phuket- each one an adventurous experience, and each trip adds a notch to the levels the nameplates of Ford have upgraded to… and the next-gen Ranger seems to have the most significant to date.

The future of off-roading, right now

Strap yourself behind the wheel of a current top-spec Ranger Wildtrak 4X4, and you know you’ve got a hardy truck with a robust 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine mated to a SelectShift 10-speed automatic transmission, rated at 210 PS and 500Nm of Torque, an 800mm wading depth, and basically everything you’ll need to get you out of hairy situations off the road and take you to places lesser rides would stall in. But what does the next-generation Ford Ranger offer on top of these? Apparently more, besides a stunning driver interface right smack in the middle of its Zen-like dashboard. There’s a bit of a breakthrough when you’re able to see the obstacles you’re traversing, in vivid high-resolution via its front facing camera simultaneously witha 360-degree bird’s eye view that’s impressively accurate as a visual reference. So not only is it smart in that regard, it also allows you to get more adventurous in a smart way, since you’ll see how far you can push your boundaries.

The touch screen that’s essentially a dash-mounted tablet serves as your central control and information center for your vehicle and drive status, navigation, entertainment systems and more- sorry guys, access to your social media isn’t on the menu… yet. The convenience, intuitiveness and efficiency the info-at-a-glance it offers on a larger scale is so significantly now. It’s even complemented by its virtual instrument binnacle, that reflects pertinent data for the driver, like which among the various drive modes you’re engaged in… and that brings me to how the new Ranger is-

One incredibly capable land craft

Toggling between 4 Wheel-High and 4 Wheel-Low settings with mere button pushes, engaging the differential lock for more serious traction via the touch screen is great, its Hill Descent Control can even be life-saving in certain situations, but its well-engineered plethora of terrain-specific drive modes actually enhance and expand your range and well, your enjoyment and capacity for more adventurous driving thrills- one for mud, sand, rocks, and even water-wading included. For each mode, intelligent off-road dynamics come into play in various combinations in real-time, adjusting Torque and throttle response, axle ratio, drivetrain configuration and more, to be able to take on almost anything you point it at. The new Ranger also has a wider track, a longer wheelbase, better approach and departure angles, and even an improved suspension for when you’re back in civilization.

Built for the best of both worlds

Let’s face it, unless you’re one of the very few who actually thrive in an abode in the middle of nowhere and have the likes of Indiana Jones as weekend guests, you wouldn’t need the other half of features the next-gen Ranger is equipped with, like intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering, a lane keeping system with road edge protection, and eventually even access to a proprietary app called FordPass, that allows owners to connect to their Ford vehicles 24/7 via their smartphones, to start the engine remotely and set the preferred AC temperature, get vehicle health alerts, and even stay connected while in the Ranger via Ford’s SYNC4A. But, it’s there in case you think you won’t.

Whether you’re a city slicker or someone in search of a lost city, or someone that’s both, the next-gen Ranger is blinking like a large beacon as a most compelling ride for that version of yourself.  As for me, I’m just so glad all this pent-up longing for a serious overseas drive, especially one that’s off-road and almost off-grid, has been satiated by this new Ranger. And it did so with flying colors. Don’t fret though, as Ford is about to roll it out on Philippine soil by the second half of this year. Adventurers, rejoice!

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