Ford Ranger facelift - from highway to dirt road

By RIZAL JOHAN | 3 February 2016

The best-selling model out of the Ford stable in Malaysia is its pick-up truck, the Ranger.

The popular pick-up, which is available in six variants with automatic and manual transmissions, has been updated for a bolder appearance.

Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak - 01-1.
It is centred on the front fascia with big chrome-trimmed trapezoidal grille, creases on the hood and new projector headlamps.

Sime Darby Auto Connexion, the official distributor of Ford vehicles in Malaysia, organised a day out of fun behind the wheels of the new facelifted vehicles.

The journey took us from Subang Jaya to Tadom Hill Resorts in Banting for off-road activities.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT - 03
Two variants were on hand for members of the media to test out and it was the 2.2-litre XLT and the top-of-the-range 3.2-litre Wildtrak, both with the six-speed automatic transmissions.

The new Rangers not only updated its looks but have tuned the turbocharged Duratorq TDCi engines to be more fuel efficient and, in the case of the 2.2-litre four-cylinder mill in the XLT, output has been bumped to produce 160PS at 3,200rpm and 385Nm of torque from 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT - 09
The Wildtrak comes with a five-cylinder engine and is at the top where brute strength is concerned with 200PS at 3,000rpm and 470Nm of torque from 1,750rpm to 2,500rpm.

There is a big difference between the 2.2 XLT and the 3.2 Wildtrak as the latter just outguns the former on the road.
Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak - 12
The amount of torque available at the low rev range means it can pull away with ease. On top of that, it is smooth and quiet in the cabin and very comfortable too.

In fact, the interior of the Wildtrak is comparable to a premium sedan.

If you like comfort, ease and safety, then the Wildtrak is right for you.

Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak - 10
It has high-quality seat fabric and leather inserts with stitching, adaptive cruise control, electrical power assisted steering (EPAS), the latest in-car connectivity system SYNC 2, an 8-inch colour touchscreen with radio, mp3, CD, Aux, 2 USB ports, SD card, iPod, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and six speakers.

And it has a whole load of safety features such as six airbags, rear view camera, lane departure warning and assist, forward alert & collision mitigation by brakes, and distance indication and alert on top of the usual anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control and emergency brake assist.

Driving the Ranger, be it the Wildtrak or XLT, is really a breeze whether on tarmac or off it.

Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak - 04
At Tadom, a course with water crossing and other obstacles was specially constructed to try out the Ranger’s off-road capabilities.

While the XLT does not have the extra features of the Wildtrak, it is still very capable of doing the job.

And the interior is comfortable too, just not as premium as the Wildtrak.

Just by switching to the low range 4X4 gearing and an electronic locking rear differential kicks in to improve traction.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT - 01
The XLT is just a joy to drive in such harsh conditions.

Whether it was wading through water up to 800mm deep, driving through muddy terrain, getting through the bumpy elephant steps, hill climbing and descending through various approach and departure angles, the Ranger makes its occupants feel confident throughout.

The Hill Launch Assist really helps boost your confidence because you can be up a steep hill and take your foot off the accelerator and not hit the brakes and the Ranger just stays put ... up to three seconds.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT - 05
Which is more than enough time to get your foot over from the throttle to the brake pedal.

The Hill Descent Control is another big plus because you can just go over a steep hill at a speed which is automatically set and just concentrate on steering.

Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak - 14
These are the features that make off-roading a real joy and even when you are not, the Ranger
is an all-round fun car to drive.

It’s no wonder the Ranger is so popular.

The Wildtrak is priced at RM136,154 and the XLT at RM112,078 (all prices are on-the-road with insurance).