Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

I REALLY wouldn’t know if Ford Philippines consciously intended the ride-and-drive activity of its inside-and-out-new 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak held on Nov. 6-7 to play with the concept of pairs, doubles and of the number 2. But there it was, the pattern unmistakable, and too uncanny to pass unnoticed.
Here’s what yours truly pieced “two-gether:”
1) The most obvious one, of course, was that of the Ranger Wildtrak’s new engine and transmission. Out with the 3.2-liter, in with the 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
But don’t be fooled by the size. Despite being smaller, this twin-turbo engine produces 210hp and 500Nm of torque. Combine that with a lighter engine, and you get even more fuel-efficient readings.
For our group’s 240-kilometer run from Quezon City to Candelaria in Zambales via Clark in Pampanga and Subic, our Ranger Wildtrak didn’t deviate from the 14-15 kilometer-per-liter consumption.
2) Aside from the Ranger’s renowned power, there’s the two “Cs” — comfort and connectivity. You can call these creature comforts, and the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak dishes them out in spades. The sedan-like suspension is a given (and we felt this both on the well-paved roads of the north-bound expressways and on the dusty dirt trails of the Acoje Mining Trail in Zambales), and the interior amenities we enjoyed during the trip deserve special mention, as well, such as: the electric power-assisted steering; SYNC 3 connectivity system; the multi-function display’s eight-inch TFT touch screen; eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and four-way manual-adjust passenger seat; and smart keyless entry.
3) This trip also accomplished two things: We got to drive the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak, and then we visited Ford’s newest dealership — its 47th in the country — Ford Clark along M.A. Roxas Highway in the Clark Freeport Zone.
What’s particularly special about Ford Clark is that this is the first dealership in the country to follow the automaker’s new global dealership branding guidelines, following a more globally aligned exterior and interior look and feel to offer customers a better dealership experience, while at the same time aiming to connect the customer’s online purchasing journey with in-store environment — paving the way for a more connected and seamless automotive retail experience.
Our visit to Ford Clark also allowed us to witness the power meeting of Bert Lessard, Ford Philippines’ managing director, and Levy P. Laus, CEO and chairman of the Laus Group of Companies, which established and operates the 1,863-square-meter dealership highlighted by a four-car showroom display, an interactive bay, and seven service bays.
“Today’s automotive customers are increasingly sophisticated, business-minded and technologically savvy. Therefore, it is vital that a dealership facility, which is one of our most important customer touch points, adapts to this changing consumer behavior in terms of look, feel, and the experience it offers to customers,” said Mr. Lessard.
Mr. Laus assured the group that Ford Clark would thrive in this new automotive business landscape, as he revealed that the dealership would have no less than 5G Wi-Fi connectivity, on a par with the world’s developed regions.
4) There were two Wildtrak variants tested. The 2.0-liter Wildtrak Turbo 4×2 AT, the price of which starts at P1.455 million, and the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo Wildtrak 4×4 A/T, which costs at least P1.695 million. Besides the two Wildtrak variants, the Ranger 2.2L XLT 4×2 A/T variant (priced at P1.089 million) was also driven.
5) All the other small things. Just like Noah’s Ark where creatures were boarded in by twos, we were paired up and given our vehicle assignments. Then, after a long first day of driving, we watched the Zambales sunset on an island named Potipot, which has two repeating syllables that sound like an old-fashioned car horn.