2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Zambales Drive: Through paved and dirt roads

Updated Jan 11, 2023 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

Making a solid statement.

It was clear that Ford Philippines want to make a solid statement when it launched the next-generation 2023 Ranger and Everest last July. It’s as if the two Ford vehicles have stopped hitting the snoozed button, and finally decided that it’s time to stand their ground.  

Next-gen 2023 Ford Ranger and EverestNext-gen 2023 Ford Ranger and Everest

Equipped with an all-new look that’s complemented by a redesigned interior and a revamp T6 platform, the Ranger and the Everest have a lot of potential against their respective segment rivals.

Ford Philippines quickly jumped to the earliest possible opportunity to showcase the improved capabilities of its heavy hitters. It has prepared a test track at the Arcovia Open Grounds in Pasig City during the local launch of the next-gen Ranger and Everest.

While that proved to be a success, Ford PH isn’t done. The Blue Oval brand invited Philkotse to drive the 2023 Ranger and Everest all the way to Zambales to further highlight what the two Blue Oval giants can do.

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Manila to Clark, Pampanga

The three-day drive event started at the Sequoia Hotel Manila Bay. For this stint, we were handed the keys to the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak. It was equipped with a 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine that delivered 210 hp and 500 Nm of torque. The engine was then mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

Similar to what I said in the Ranger First Impressions Review, I appreciate this truck’s steering feel. It was light yet it still gave enough road feedback for better control – quite useful when I was navigating out of the hotel’s parking. The Ranger’s 360-degree camera also helped a lot in making sure that no posts were hit while exiting the parking. 

As I drove along the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAX), the steering felt a tad firmer – a good trait since it emanated a feeling of total control of the vehicle. 

Power from the 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine was maximized when I cruised along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). The Ranger had good power delivery, ensuring a surefooted drive, especially when overtaking slower vehicles. 

Next-gen Ford Ranger 12-inch infotainment touchscreenNext-gen Ford Ranger 12-inch infotainment touchscreen

I also appreciated that the 2023 Ford Ranger has wireless Apple CarPlay and a wireless phone charger. With this combo, it was easy to access my go-to Spotify playlist while having the Waze app on display for navigational help. Although, there were a couple of instances wherein the massive 12-inch infotainment touchscreen sort of froze up. The wireless Apple CarPlay also got disconnected on a couple of occasions, but it automatically reconnected after a few seconds.  

The one-two wireless combo was still a nice feature that added to the Ranger’s creature comfort despite these glitches. The best part was, my phone was fully charged as we touched down at Hann Casino Resort in Clark, Pampanga – without any wire cluttering the front cabin.

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Hann Casino Resort

Before calling it a day, Ford PH prepared a quick driving exercise when we arrived at the hotel’s parking. We got to try the2023 Ford Everest's Active Park Assist and Reverse Brake Assist here.

The Active Park Assist is one of the Everest’s features that help drivers when parking. In the exercise, the Everest searched for a suitable parking spot with just a push of a button. Once the system found a spot, the Active Park Assist maneuvered the vehicle without any intervention needed from the driver. All that was needed to do was to hold and press the Parking Assist button with the shifter in Neutral, then let go of the brakes and the steering wheel.

Next-gen Ford EverestThe next-gen Ford Everest is equipped with Reverse Brake Assist

The other feature that I tried was the Everest’s Reverse Brake Assist. This feature was meant to help reduce or avoid a collision when backing up. The tech automatically applied the brakes when the system detected an object in the vehicle’s path. 

>>> Find the best Ford Everest 2021 price in the Philippines

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Hann Casino Resort to Zambales

I was once again assigned to get on board the next-gen Ranger Wildtrak during the drive’s second day. For this stint, the destination was Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales.

Next-gen Ford Ranger WildtrakNext-gen 2023 Ford Ranger cruising on the highway

The group had to take the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to get to Zambales where I got to use the Ranger’s Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping tech. The Adaptive Cruise Control promoted comfortable drive along expressways. It gave the Ranger the ability to adjust its speed depending on the traffic upfront.

Meanwhile, the Lane Keeping tech kept the vehicle centered within the lane. The said tech applied steering torque or a subtle nudge to direct the Ranger to the center of the lane. Both features aid in a safer drive. 

Next-gen Ford Ranger front shotThe Ranger's Adaptive Cruise Control offers driving comfort on the expressway

The 2023 Ford Ranger detected if the driver’s hands were not on the steering wheel, flashing a warning on the digital instrument cluster. Once the system couldn’t detect the driver’s hand on the steering wheel after a couple of warnings, it automatically decreased the vehicle’s speed. This was meant to minimize impact in the event that the driver dozes off while driving. 

Upon exiting SCTEX, the group drove through provincial roads. We navigated our way through a series of winding roads in which the Ranger performed well. Despite the vehicle’s tall stance, I appreciated how the Ranger held its ground when driven along winding roads. It’s stable, giving you the confidence that it can take on sharp turns.

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Lahar beds going to Mapanuepe Lake

Before reaching Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales, we drove through the off-road trail surrounding the Lahar beds. The Ranger’s capability in dirt road driving was tested here.

Next-gen Ford Ranger Hill Descent ControlThe Ranger's Hill Descent Control doing its job

The first thing we needed to do was to make a nose dive onto the Lahar beds. Equipped with a hill descent control and with the 4H mode engaged, the next-gen Ranger smoothly crawled downwards. The 360-degree camera also helped a lot in making the steep drive downward manageable. The camera displayed a full view and it also had directional path lines allowing surefooted steering despite having hampered visibility. 

Next-gen Ford Ranger Lahar beds in ZambalesReady to get dirty

The next-gen Ranger also did not have a problem driving through uneven road surfaces. The suspension was tuned for such rough terrain driving. Naturally, I felt a series of bumps while driving through the trail but the next-gen Ranger absorbed the impacts within reason. 

Next-gen Ford Ranger off-road drivingDriving through rough terrain is no problem

Ford’s midsize pickup truck also showed that it can drive through the Lahar beds confidently. Despite the somewhat slippery Lahar beds due to rain, the Ranger’s maneuverability was not compromised. With all the tech it has, it was relatively easy to keep the Ranger going. It’s safe to say that the next-gen Ranger was a truck built for work and play.

Ford Philippines managing director Michael BreenFord Philippines managing director Michael Breen

After the off-road trail, we finally made it to the Rodriguez Ranch where we were greeted with an awesome view of the Mapanuepe Lake.  

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Mapanuepe Lake to Zambales’ provincial roads

I was then handed the keys to the next-gen Ford Everest Titanium for the second half of the drive. Like its pickup sibling, the Everest showed no hesitation when it came to driving through the road less traveled.

Next-gen 2023 Ford Everest driving through LaharNext-gen 2023 Ford Everest is also ready to go out and play

The Everest did a great job in driving through uneven roads. The ride was more pleasant compared to the Ranger, which wasn’t surprising since the Everest didn’t come with a leaf spring rear suspension. It also has the same tech found on the 2023 Ford Ranger, giving it similar driving capabilities. 

Next-gen 2023 Ford Everest river crossingComing through

I appreciated the Everest’s ride further when we were driving through the winding provincial roads. It was stable when steering on tight turns and it absorbed road impacts well. The steering felt light with enough road feedback.

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Back to Hann Casino Resort, Clark

The Everest further highlighted its comfortable ride when cruising along the SCTEX on the way back to Clark. 

The Adaptive Cruise Control and the Lane Keeping tech worked their wonders once again. It allowed me to have a relatively laid-back drive, which was good after a long day of on- and off-road driving. My fellow motoring journalist Vincent Villa, who was seated in the front passenger seat, even fell asleep on the way back to Clark.

2023 Ford Ranger, Everest Drive: Worth the wait

It appears that Ford did its homework in making the necessary improvements to its heavy hitters, the Ranger and the Everest.

Next-gen 2023 Ford Ranger Next-gen 2023 Ford Ranger

The changes are not just merely cosmetic as the two Ford vehicles are now equipped with technologies that make them smart machines. One can’t also miss the fact that the Ranger and the Everest come with an improved ride. 

Next-gen 2023 Ford EverestNext-gen 2023 Ford Everest

So far, the Ranger and the Everest are adapting swiftly to the Philippine market. In fact, the next-gen Ranger is the best-selling model in Ford PH’s best monthly sales for the year so far, yielding over 1,300 units sold in September. Indeed, one can say that it was worth the wait.

Know more about Ford Ranger 2024

Ford Ranger

The 2023 Ford Ranger is a 4x4 or 4x2 pickup truck. It is the latest version of the said model, and as of its launch in the Philippine market, it has a total of eight different variants.

These are the top-spec Wildtrak 4x4, Wildtrak 4x2, Sport 4x4, Sport 4x2, XLT 4x2, XLS 4x2 AT, XLS 4x2 MT, and the entry-level XL 4x4. As of 2023, prices for these trims ranges from php 1,213,000 to Php 1,910,000.

Under the hood of the new Ranger are two-different diesel mills. For the Wildtrak 4x4, it uses a 2.0-liter biturbo that can churn out 210 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque. It is also the sole trim that uses a 10-speed automatic tranny.

The rest of the all-new Ranger then gets a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that can produce up to 170 horsepower and 405 Nm of torque. Only the XLS 4x2 and the XL 4x4 may come with a six-speed manual. The other non-biturbo trims then use a six-speed automatic.

Size-wise, the all-new 2023 Ranger is 5,370mm long, 1,918mm wide, and 1,884mm in height. They also offer a wheelbase length of 3,270mm, and a ground clearance of 235mm.

Locally, the 2023 Ford Ranger faces the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Strada, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, etc.

₱ 1,213,000 - ₱ 1,910,000