Do you remember the last time you experienced something for the first time? Now think of a time you got to do something for the first time, before anyone else ever got to do it. You’ve got two exciting things right?
Well that’s what Ford Philippines was able to pull off when they let us drive their 2015 Ford Rangers to the Mayon Volcano. The Ranger was the best selling pickup in 2014 here in the Philippines and means Ford Philippines would just about pull out all the stops to usher in its latest version.
We met up bright and early at Ford Manila Bay, had breakfast and then shuttled to the airport, but not to the usual terminal, but to a private terminal for a seaplane ride to Gota Village Resort in Caramoan. That was “first time” #1, taking off from NAIA and landing in the ocean and deplaning on a beach. We had refreshments and a quick briefing as to the day’s activities and driver teams for the long drive to Mayon.
Paired with my partner for the drive, Tet Andolong of Business Mirror, we found our ride, a brand spanking new 3.2L Wildtrak 4×4. I took the first shift behind the wheel.
The road ahead was winding and not as smooth as we would have liked, there were areas where roads were being re-paved and cut, we had to run on rough dirt and on some occasions counterflow. As expected, the New Ranger had an easy time with what the provincial highway threw at it. The 2015 Ford Ranger is as good or even better looking than its predecessor, new front end that looks almost exactly like the All New Everest.
The dual-TFT similar to that of the Explorer shows information such as climate control, entertainment and vehicle parameters. The dashboard and center console looks better with an 8 inch touch screen with SYNC 2 with more convenient voice commands and connectivity which lincludes Bluetooth, smart charging USB ports and AUX. The Electric Power Assisted Steering made the trip on the winding roads easier, steering more precise and reduced the load on the engine, contributing to more efficient fuel consumption and to some extent, quieter without the hydraulic pump.
We finally, albeit late, got to our lunch venue and then made our way to the foot of Mayon volcano. It was a dirt track made for ATV’s and we were to be the FIRST full sized vehicles to go through the terrain (“first time” #2). Our 197Hp Duratorq power plant still puts out 470 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission mad quick work of the varied terrain, sandy and wet muddy volcanic ash, the Ranger easily finding grip on uneven terrain switching between 4H and 4L.
It was a treat to drive through a place no full sized vehicle had been through before. By the time we reached the area for our photo op, the sun was setting and it was starting to get dark as we made our way back and onwards to Misibis Bay where we were to spend the night of well earned rest after a long day of putting the latest Ranger through its paces, which it sailed through.
2014’s “best selling” pickup truck is going to be tough to repeat in this growing market segment, but after seeing what this Ford can do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again. Rangers really do lead the way.
Words and Photos by Neil Pagulayan