In this review...
- Tech & Safety
- Driving & Handling
- Initial Verdict
2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: It's back
The midsize pickup truck segment in the Philippines has always been a tightly contested market. This is why car brands in the country are launching their respective challengers. Toyota Motor Philippines already launched the new Hilux, while Isuzu Philippines brought in the all-new D-Max, then there’s Nissan Philippines with the refreshed Navara.
Ford Philippines jumped into the competition by launching a series of updated Ranger versions. Back in February 2021, Ford PH launched the refreshed Ranger which was quickly followed by the Ranger FX4 Max in March 2021. Then, the Blue Oval brand even brought in the limited-run Ranger Raptor X in June 2021.
But after those launches in 2021, Ford PH has been relatively quiet in the midsize pickup truck category until recently.
Say hello to the next-generation Ford Ranger, a pickup truck that’s determined to make its presence felt in the local market. Here’s a first impressions review of the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4x4.
2023 FORD RANGER Arrives in the Philippines | Philkotse Quick Look
2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: Exterior
The exterior of the 2023 Ford Ranger has received a major revamp, which is expected since it’s a next-gen model. Up front, it has LED headlights with black housing, C-shaped daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, a large grille in dark gray finish, and a resculpted hood.
2023 Ford Ranger
The 2023 Ranger is not messing around when you look at its front end. It has a bold and assertive look, creating a confident demeanor. It now also comes with a squared front, veering away from the outgoing version’s rounded shape. The design combo of its headlights and grille makes the Ranger stand out, especially when you compare it to its Japanese pickup rivals.
The side profile gets a design makeover too, highlighted by the Ranger’s prominent fender flares that now come with a more straight-cut finish. Black claddings on the wheel arches add character to the Ranger’s side while complementing the side steps finished in flat gray/silver. It also features crisp character lines on the door panels that resemble a knife-like accent. The 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, and disc brakes.
The side profile also gets a makeover
Roof rails are also installed in the next-gen Ranger for that added functionality. Silver rails are also put on top of the bed, which can be maximized as tie-down points. But, what I liked most in the Ranger’s new side profile is the added step board placed towards the rear of the bed. This allows you to have easier access to the bed without opening the tailgate, and it also gives you more room to load and keep the cargo secure.
In terms of dimensions, the 2023 Ford Ranger has grown in all aspects. Compared to the old Ranger, the next-gen version is 5,370mm long (+16mm), 1,918mm wide (+58mm), and 1,884mm tall (+63mm). Its wheelbase has also increased by 50mm, which is now 3,270mm. It also has a higher ground clearance at 235mm (+3 mm).
To put things into perspective, the next-gen Ranger is now larger than its segment rivals such as the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max.
The rear gets a major design revamp as well
The Ford Ranger’s rear now has a more distinctive appeal as it has a lot of design highlights such as the sharp character lines on the tailgate, unique LED headlights, and a stamped RANGER wordmark. The Ranger’s tailgate now comes with an easy-lift function. With the help of installed dampers, you can easily lift and close the Ranger’s tailgate.
The 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4x4 comes with a bedliner
The bed comes with a bedliner along with a 230-volt inverter plug, which you can use for both work and play. Of note, the 2023 Ford Ranger has a leaf spring rear suspension, and it is equipped with a rear differential lock, good news for those who want to take this pickup truck for an off-road adventure.
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2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: Interior
You can instantly notice the design update integrated into the 2023 Ranger’s interior once you step inside. The refreshed cabin features a new layout, giving the Ranger a more upmarket appeal.
It now has a modern-looking dashboard layout
The distinct change in the next-gen Ranger is its dashboard since it now comes with a more straightforward look, featuring a flat center surface due to the massive 12-inch infotainment touchscreen.
The air vents now come with a honeycomb accent, which I find to be a nice touch since it carries the design trim seen on the front grille. It also has a leather steering wheel with integrated buttons, and orange stitching can be seen throughout the cabin since this is a Wildtrak variant.
Orange stitching is seen throughout the Ranger Wildtrak's cabin
The center console has also been updated resulting in a new placement of the bottle holders. What I find a bit unsettling is the look of the new Ranger’s gear indicator printed in white text. While it does its purpose, I think Ford could have made it look more appealing since it looks like an afterthought. But, what’s good is that the 2023 Ford Ranger now comes with an electronic parking brake, bidding goodbye to the traditional handbrake found on the outgoing model.
Another design detail that the next-gen Ranger has is its door handles. It’s now hidden in the door panels and within the armrests, a similar design approach to the Ford F-150’s door handles.
Rear aircon vents intend to help cool the cabin efficiently
Passengers at the back can expect decent leg- and head-room. The seats also have good cushion support for the mid-back, which adds to the overall passenger comfort, especially on long road trips. It also has rear A vents as well as a USB port, accessory socket, and grab handles for easy ingress.
2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: Tech & Safety
Aside from having a heavily revamped exterior and interior, Ford has also put a lot of effort into making the 2023 Ranger a more tech-savvy pickup truck. There’s no way that you won’t notice the Ranger’s massive 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, placed at the center of the dashboard. It comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and has Android Auto connectivity as well.
Look at that massive touchscreen
The touchscreen’s resolution is crisp and clear, leaving its segment rivals in the dust when it comes to image quality and interface responsiveness. The live feed of the Ranger’s rear camera into the touchscreen is clear as day, which is arguably the best as of yet in its class.
It also has a wireless mobile phone charger, which I find useful as it keeps your phone’s battery juiced up. Aside from that, you don’t need to carry a cable for your phone’s charger. Add that feature to the wireless Apple CarPlay, then what you get is a seamless and clutter-free smartphone connection.
No more analog gauges in the 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak
It’s apparent that Ford is pulling all the stops in the 2023 Ranger as it also has an eight-inch digital gauge cluster. The top-spec Wildtrak now doesn’t come with a hint of an analog gauge, which makes it stand out compared to its current segment rivals such as the Isuzu D-Max and the Nissan Navara.
The list of safety and tech features integrated into the top-spec 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak is extensive. Some of these are the following: Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keeping System, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert & Braking, Terrain Management System, among many others.
The infotainment touchscreen has a crisp resolution
It also has a 360-degree camera, Hill Launch Assist & Roll Over Mitigation, Hill Descent Control, seven Airbags, Parking Sensors, Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hill Descent Control, Isofix, among many others. Indeed, the top-spec 2023 Ranger is loaded with tech and safety features.
2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: Driving & Handling
The next-gen 2023 Ford Ranger is powered by a 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine that delivers 210 hp and 500 Nm of torque. It is the same engine as the outgoing model. The power unit is then mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
It is equipped with a 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine
The same power delivery is what you can expect with the 2023 Ranger since it still comes with the same engine. It gives you a relatively quick acceleration, and it is not short on delivering the power you need.
The steering feel is still somehow similar to the outgoing version. It has a light feel, considering that it is a pickup truck. Despite that, it still gives you enough road feedback allowing you to stay confident behind the wheel.
The next-gen 2023 Ford Ranger has a commanding stance
The 10-speed automatic transmission also shifts smoothly with minimal to none shift shocks even at low speeds. The engine shifts at the 2,000rpm mark during our leisure drive around Quezon City, which could play a role in maximizing the truck’s fuel efficiency. Expect to have more detailed fuel eco numbers when we’ve fully reviewed the 2023 Ford Ranger.
What surprised me the most during my quick drive with the new Ford Ranger is its ride comfort. Compared to the old model, the 2023 Ranger has a more pleasant ride. The suspension still leans on the stiff side but it absorbs impact significantly better than the outgoing version. Despite having the same T6 platform, the new Ranger has a more refined ride that’s coupled with a tolerable body roll.
Ready to take on its segment rivals
That said, the Ranger is within striking distance of challenging the Nissan Navara’s overall ride comfort. This is also what Philkotse Content Manager Jacob Oliva noticed during the next-gen Ford Ranger test drive in Thailand.
2023 Ford Ranger First Impressions Review: Initial Verdict
Ford Philippines is offering the next-gen Ranger in eight variants with a starting price of Php 1,198,000. The top-spec 2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4x4 is priced at Php 1,875,000. Previously, the Ford Ranger starts at Php 1,155,00 while the FX4 Max retails at Php 1,758,000.
2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4x4
The Ranger’s price across its variants has increased significantly but that’s already expected since it’s a next-gen model. The question that we need to address is if the Ranger’s price bump is worth it.
As of this writing, I can say that it is indeed worth it. Just looking at how vastly Ford revamped the Ranger’s design is an indication that you’re getting your money’s worth. Add to that the slew of tech and safety features as well as the refined ride quality, the 2023 Ford Ranger is a good offering. Indeed, the Ranger is back.