A few years ago, I was in my car in the parking lot when this huge red pick-up took the slot in front of me, and out stepped the tiniest lady driver.
I fell in love.
No, I don’t know who that woman is, nor do I even remember what make the pick-up was. All I know is that someday, I want to be that woman who owns and drives around a car obviously too large for her like she owns the damn streets.
You can’t blame me for my lofty aspirations. I mean, I’m 4’11″—the world has always felt big, can’t reach shelves and all, and someone uses me as an armrest on occasion. For someone so vertically-challenged, it’s especially empowering to conquer something that’s beyond me, which likely explains my fascination with driving a large vehicle (but not why I’m nowhere close to writing a book in my 20’s, and I’m already 28. Send help.)
Well, the non-existent New York Times bestseller is one thing, but at least I did get one #goal off my bucket list when the Ford Motor Company‘s official dealership in Cebu reached out and asked if I could take one of their newest Ford Rangers out for a spin.
Of course I was all Ford it.
For as long as I’ve been driving, I’ve always had a sedan: First, Sasha, a 2004 Toyota Corolla that was my trusty companion for seven years; then Oscar, my 2016 Suzuki Ciaz that I’ve had for three years now. On occasion, I’ve test-driven other vehicles for work and borrowed cars from other family members, but save for an uncle’s Isuzu Crosswind, none of them have been huge. Or a pick-up, for that matter.
It was also my first ever Ford vehicle, so it was exciting to discover and experience another brand. I was trusted with a Ford Ranger Wildtrak, one of their newest variants that was also just recently introduced to the Cebu market.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my goals of having a pick-up are purely for aesthetic, and that I don’t actually need my car to do heavy duty stuff, so to be given free rein on the Wildtrak was… overwhelming, to say the least. There I was, listening to the brief on all the bells and whistles of this baby, and that all-too-familiar feeling of the impostor syndrome started creeping up on me—what was I doing with this beast of a ride?! All my life, I have never related so much to the confused Math lady.
But there was the Wildtrack, in all its 10 gears, four cylinders, and 16 valves glory, and I have no idea what those meant (still don’t), but I’ll be damned if seeing it didn’t evoke giddiness within me that threw all the technical specs out of the window and made me itch to start driving around. So I did.
(Besides, in daily driving from point A to B and being stuck in Cebu traffic, does anyone actually recite the specs in their head? I think not, but I won’t judge.)
First thing’s first—wow, this thing is massive. And while it is so, I appreciate that the driver’s seat actually adjusted enough to compensate for my lack of height. Sure, a lot of cars these days have adjustable car seats, but it’s not always that they elevate high enough for me. As for the Wildtrak, I was able to get in a comfortable driving position that let me see a good chunk of the road and be able to step on the foot pedals, all without being pushed so close to the steering wheel.
From the Ford Cebu dealership in Nivel Hills, we decided to test the Wildtrak in the city first. I mean, let’s be real, that’s where most of the action happens when you have a car (also, hungry). Driving through the streets of Cebu proved smooth and near-effortless for this powerhouse, and the suspension handled varying speed bumps and potholes decently.
One thing that was very annoying though was the proximity sensor. It worked well—a little too well, in fact, that crazy motorcycle drivers and idiots who jaywalk and cross the street when they’re not supposed to kept triggering the alarm, and also my anxiety.
I propose a toast to whoever at Ford decided this is a feature that can be turned off with the push of a button.
Before I discovered this, though, said proximity sensor has also brought my trust issues to the surface. Unfortunate as it is, I think it’s less the fault of the feature and more on my preconceived notions hearing beeps is never, EVER a good sign. While trying to park in a tight spot, already difficult for me on a sedan I’m used to, the proximity sensor went off incessantly even when I thought I was at a perfectly fine distance from the next car or the nearby tree.
The bright side? Two, actually: The rear-view camera, which was a helpful guide into maneuvering into that spot tail first; and the four-wheel drive mode, which easily defeated the loose ground and finally let me slide the car into place with nary a scratch or dent.
Following lunch and a little bit more of driving around in the city, we took the Wildtrak back up to the highlands to really put it through its paces. Ascent was smooth-sailing, with none of that relatively familiar sensation of a car struggling. Must’ve been that Hill Assist feature they’re very proud of. The pick-up also handled curves rather well—one of my apprehensions about bigger or taller vehicles is that they’ll topple over somehow, and yet the thought barely crossed my mind as we zipped through the roads of the Trans-Central Highway.
One thing I do wish we were able to try is experiencing the Wildtrak with cargo on the back. I’ve tried carrying heavy loads on my sedan and it was a struggle, so I was curious to see how the Wildtrak would’ve handled it, as it says on paper it can handle a maximum of 1.3 tons. I believe some friends who went on the media ride were able to do so during their trip, but alas the back remained well and empty the whole time we had it.
The Wildtrak is the Ford Ranger’s top-of-the-line, and it looks the part. The new grill and the daytime running lamps really make it seem tough, but considering you spend most of the time inside the vehicle, that’s where it counts the most—and Ford does a great job ensuring a comfortable ride, with plush seating, spacious legroom, great air-conditioning, even a 230 V outlet for charging your devices.
Even when I started out wanting a pick-up for shallow reasons, my day with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak has opened my eyes to all the possibilities, and how it could be so much more. Maybe someday I’ll truly deserve one for all the right reasons, but as it is, fulfilling my lofty ambitions for an afternoon is enough for now.
Cebu Veteran’s Drive, Nivel Hills,
Apas, Cebu City
(032) 231 9180 | website