Playing Dirty with the next-gen Ford Ranger and Ford Everest

Ford Philippines recently launched the next-gen Ford Ranger and Everest earlier this year. So far, I’ve only gotten my hands on the lower-variant Everest Trend and I was impressed to say the least. However, my time with it was mostly casual driving and none of the situations it was engineered to conquer.

Ford knows this too, that’s why they took us out for a drive in Zambales. We got to play in the lahar bed, some shallow river crossings, and also paved winding roads with their newest trucks. There were also some activities that highlighted their technical prowess. Read on to find out how the twins just elevated the standard for their segment.

Ford Ranger

I’ve only had quick jaunts with the new Ford Ranger before this drive thanks to pre-launch shoots. Now that I’ve had extensive time with it, I can only imagine how lucky are those who can get this pickup.

Its name suggests some unpaved fun but the Ranger Wildtrak 4×4 is a conqueror on paved roads too. Riding comfort was very supple and complemented well with the quiet cabin. Driver comforts were also upgraded thanks to auto brake hold, the more responsive adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and the driver attention warning that slows down the car if it senses the driver has been unresponsive or has let go of the steering wheel. It still has the easy to drive driving dynamics but is now aided with a 360-camera system for better visibility especially on tight parking spaces.

It may be comfortable on the road but the Ranger gets gnarly when let out on the dirt. The wider track and longer wheelbase lends to a more stable cornering despite the uneven surfaces. The rear doesn’t jump out as much as before, and the power is just always available at a bleep of the throttle.

What really sets the Ranger apart is its improved features. The hill descent control bites in quicker and lets go smoother. There’s also an off-road mode for the 360-camera system where you’ll see the front part and front quarter parts of the pickup in order to navigate more accurately in tricky terrain. Most of these are shared with the Everest 4×4 but even then, that is a different beast.

Ford Everest

Upon reaching our hotel in Clark, Ford has prepared an activity to flaunt the advanced features of the new Everest. They made it do some parallel parking via active park assist, and showed how the Everest’s new electronic shifters shifts itself to park when the task is done. It also does this if you’ve activated the electronic parking brake and opened the driver’s door. There’s also a demonstration of their rear brake assist. It acts like the autonomous emergency braking on the front, only this time this works while the car is reversing. Using the camera and sensors, it will apply the brakes on its own if it sees a potential collision.

I already know that Ford improved the suspension of the Everest when I drove the Trend model a few months back. It was a night and day difference that made the Everest more appealing, apart from its slew of tech toys. Still, I was surprised at what it was capable off in an off-road setting.

The lahar beds seemed like mere truck lanes in C5. The Everest 4×4 just didn’t care with the deep grooves on the sand or the drops and climbs from one area to another. Even if you’re going at speed, the Everest remains stable and composed. I just wish the seats hug you better but apart from that, the riding comfort of the Everest is outstanding.

It’s really what set the Everest apart from the Ranger. They may have the same front face, same dashboard, and share most safety features, but on an unforgiving terrain like the lahar beds in Zambales, the Everest shines as the one you’d choose if you want comfort and fun more than capability.

As for fuel efficiency, Ford’s twins clocked in 15 km/l on our highway runs. That involves going through Skyway Stage 3, into NLEX, and ending once we’re in Clark. On the rural roads to and from Zambales, they returned 10 km/l with moderate traffic.

After the playtime in the dirt, Ford took us to the serene spot of Mapanuepe Lake deep in San Marcelino, Zambales. It was a total chill spot because there was no signal, no wifi, and no pollution. Just pure nature and the freshwater surrounding your little patch of green land. I’d like to go back here with my girlfriend, hopefully still with a Ford so I can have another playtime on the dirt just before she gets her dose of IG pics on the lake.

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