The 3rd in the Fabulous FOuRDSeries

What is the difference between the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and the Ford Raptor? At first glance, nothing much – visually. The grille, flares and wheels on the Raptor are bigger, and they have the same 2.0- litre twin –turbo engine. What else is there?

Ford Philippines put down the questions to rest by hosting the Ford Ranger Media Drive. Its primary purpose was to bring the Ranger Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor together and test their mettle. They may look the same on paper, but on the field, well that’s another story.

Since its introduction, the Raptor has jumped in popularity, eclipsing even the competition. The Raptor has set itself in a pedestal, a position that left other models wanting, and enthusiasts panting.

However, The Wildtrak and Raptor have different purposes, and that’s why there’s the Media Drive. So, a group of media personalities, jumped and joined the caravan. The drivers were assigned Ford Rangers at random, Ranger 2WD, Wildtrak 4WD and of course the Raptor. Vehicle interchange was done so all could cop a fell on the respective pickups.

Destination: The sandy and wet Sacobia River in Pampanga.

The “crew” listening to the instructions.

Upon arrival, the group were divided into two groups; one for the Raptor Run along the Sacobia River bed, and the Wildtrak on a technical course specifically made to showcase it’s capabilities. The instructor, Mr. Beeboy Bargas, gave his tips before giving out driver’s assignments.

Mr. “Off Roading” himself, Beeboy Bargas

“Listen to the instructor with you, and you will be fine. If in doubt, Stop! The Raptor is more than you could handle if not driven properly!” Be alert!” stated Mr. Beeboy Bargas.

Yours truly opted for the course first. We were transported to the site about a kilometer away in a Ford Everest Titanium 4WD, and this was the backup vehicle. The Everest SUV was more than capable of racing through a combination of dry and wet sand, mini-rivers and rocks. Impressed? Me too.

The course was composed of a steep 7ft hill, tight turns with deep, uneven single track. The purpose here is to show the off road abilities of the Wildtrak, incidentally, with leaf springs suspension. Driving the Wildtrak on the hill first was a bit unnerving; ascent meant seeing nothing but the sky, even with spotter shouting instructions outside. Going down was more easier, with the Descent Assist Control; the system will apply brakes automatically for a slower, controlled descent. Immediately after the hill, you are required to make a hard left with steep uneven soil obstacles. You could feel the rear wheel lifting as the adjacent front wheel was raised up. Despite that, the Wildtrak kept on going. It was the driver’s demeanor that set the limitations of the truck.

The group went around the course, at least three times, with each time getting easier, as we have now a grasp on how the Wildtrak handles under extreme conditions. The odd combination of dry soil and wet sand also gave credence to the traction system. You could feel the transfer of power to the wheel with most traction. Being stuck in sand is no longer a problem.

The Raptor, on the other hand was different kind of beast. The media peeps were briefed before actual driving by a certified 4×4 instructor. He gave a stern warning about the seemingly unlimited capabilities of the Raptor, and how it all depends on the driver’s attitude.

The Terrain Management System offers six pre-set ( Baja, Sport, Weather, Mud/Sand, Rock Crawl, Normal) driving modes to navigate on virtually any terrain, with just a turn of a dial. Inspired by the famed Baja 1000 Desert Race in Mexico, the Baja Mode controls traction, improves shifting speed and response, and enhances the Raptor for high-speed desert (sand) runs. Of course, we will be running under the “Baja Mode”

After a few practice runs, we were given the helm of the Raptors. Speeding through the river was an understatement; the two raptors were averaging 80-90kph through the riverbed. We could have gone faster except water splashing around the vehicle rendered front visibility to nil, therefore, frequent slowdowns were inevitable.

The Raptor was very impressive. The power and speed was there, but the most surprising fact here, was even at full speed at the rough riverbed, the ride was comfortable. You couldn’t feel the unevenness of the terrain, except when jumping on elevated soil. In fact, as a rear passenger in a run on the almost 4km track, I swear I became sleepy because of the ride. It was only when water was splashing everywhere that I realized we were still hauling!

After a hearty lunch, we proceeded to Nueva Ecija via TPLEX. Highway driving also gave us a comfortable ride, which was a surprise given that the Wildtrak has the stiffer leaf spring suspension. Upon exiting, we drove in heavy barrio traffic and a short zigzag up to the resort testing the demeanor of all pickups. This route was chosen to show the versatility of the XLT, Wildtrak and Raptor on any road condition

Simply put, the Raptor is designed primarily for competition. The Fox Suspension and 6-drive modes makes the Raptor a contender right of the box. The 2.0 liter Bi-Turbo and the 10-speed transmission is more than enough to propel this beast to ungodly speeds, on any terrain, without any complaints.

The Ranger Wildtrak, however, is engineered for a different purpose. While it shares the same powertrain with the Raptor, it drives without the advanced suspension, drive modes and humongous tires. Rather, it goes basic with smaller diameter tires and traditional leaf-spring rear suspension.

This, however, doesn’t make the Wildtrak much lesser. In fact, the Wildtrak has a heavier payload rating and higher towing capacity than the Raptor. Although they share the same 3:73 final drive ratio, the Wildtrak is lighter, quicker off the line and more fuel-efficient. Additionally, the 2.0 is more adaptable than the tried-and-tested 3.2 litre 5-cylinder engine.

Simply put, the Wildtrak is more versatile, in business or pleasure. The Raptor is for serious adventure. And awesome to look at.

For those who want the panache but at a budget, then the new Ford Ranger XLT is for you. An option-laden 4×2 with the reliable 2.2 litre diesel, It’s the perfect starter pickup at PHP1,176,000

Specifications:

Ford Ranger Raptor

  • ENGINE: 1996cc, IL4, TDI, 157kW/500Nm
  • TRANSMISSION: 10-speed auto, switchable 4×4
  • Performance: 10.39sec 0-100km/h, 8.2L/100km, 212g/km, 2372kg
  • Max Power: 213hp @ 3,750rpm
  • Max Torque: 500 @ 1750-2000

Price: PHP 1,998,000

Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 

  • Engine: 1996cc, IL4, TDI, 157kW/500Nm
  • Transmission: 10-speed auto, switchable 4×4
  • Performance: 9.30sec 0-100km/h, 7.4L/100km, 195g/km, 2246kg
  • Max Output (HP)      210 hp @ 3,750 rpm
  • Max Torque (nm)     500 Nm @ 1,750 rpm

Price: PHP 1,695,000

The Ford Pickup line is the most complete in the market today –From the basic XLT to the Raptor. There is a pickup for everybody that needs one. Fabulous Fords indeed!

Text/Images by Earl Manalansan

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