I posted a photo on Facebook standing at the back of a Lightning Blue Ford Ranger Raptor and it gathered the attention it needed among virtual friends. I bet you, some became envious, while others doubtful how I suddenly got wealthy to afford a hefty-priced at P1.9 million Asian version of the famous American Ford pickup truck.
Yet the comment of my biker friend Randy Yap placed me on my rightful position when he said: “you don’t choose the Raptor, the Raptor chooses you.” That was exactly the case. I was able to drive the Ford Ranger Raptor 2.0 Bi-turbo 4X4 after being chosen as one among the few media and blogger participant in this year’s Ford Media Drive – an annual program by the automobile company.
First time Raptor driver
I missed driving a Ford Ranger last year and so I came back with a revenge by driving a 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor from Ford Dealership in Sambag, Jaro to Capiz.
As a first time driver of a Raptor, I came early Saturday morning to the Ford Dealership and showroom to get acquainted with Western Visayas Area Manager Priscilla Abrille and to get a feel of the eye-catching pickup truck.
“The Ford Ranger Raptor which you are about to drive is part of the Ranger family, but a high-end pickup version of the Rangers. This is intentionally designed for the Asian region considering its terrain, climate and weather condition,” introduced Abrille.
The Ford Ranger is considered as the most preferred and a highly anticipated brand in this year’s Truck Month. As an established leader in the pickup truck line, a purchase of a Ford Ranger Raptor is bundled by a worry-free ownership Premium Care Package valued at P100,000. “The services that goes with a Ford Ranger Raptor is what sets it apart from the rest, said Abrille, for it comprised of a free 5-year Scheduled Service Plan, a 5-year warranty, and a 5-Year Roadside Assistance.
Abrille and myself discussed further its cutting edge features, its bi-turbo power, and other technical capabilities and we were together in saying that the Raptor is the ultimate pickup truck for an off road junkie, a farmer who resides beyond concrete roads and up to the mountains, or a rural folk who has to cross rivers to reach private spots.
6 Walk Around a Raptor
Likewise, a first-timer driver of a powerful Raptor needs to understand its many details in order to appreciate its usefulness, value and safety. Hence, you need to undergo the technical orientation described by Ford Iloilo sales consultant Justin Karl Bercades as a “6 Walk Around a Raptor.”
The 6 Walk Around will allow you to understand what are the features at the front, under the hood, the side, the rear parts, the driver’s side, and lastly – the interior, wherein you get to warm up on the driver’s seat, hold the steering wheel, and put your hands on the various buttons and familiarize your eyes on the symbols and safety information at the dashboard.
Completing Justin Bercades’ 6 Walk Around the Raptor helped simplified technical information and it will gave me the needed confidence to drive the Raptor.
Buckled up for fun with the Raptor
Driving a Ford Ranger Raptor outside the city and off to Dumalag in Capiz was exhilarating and purely liberating for a family who has been on a lockdown since March as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
We were a family of four – all first-timers on a Raptor and we navigated our way to our destination using the Google map feature at the center screen. Air-conditioning was excellent and Bluetooth music from an IPhone was brilliant with its outside noise cancellation feature.
Speed was pumped up in between the empty highway to bring us on time to a staging area in Cuartero, Capiz where our guide, Kiua Mariz Chavez, was waiting. Chavez is a forester of the Forest Management Services Unit of Capiz Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and we followed her as she snaked on the inroad going up to the interior of Dumalag passing through numerous barangays until we reached a dead end where Brgy. Sta. Carmen, the last barangay, is situated.
This is the area that made a shiny 4X4 Ford Ranger Raptor smile as it performed best. Going up to muddy road due to a recent rain was effortless with its 4L feature fully engaged and it decelerated down to the edge of the dirt road to load hundreds of different types of seedling up for transport to Capiz PENRO Complex in Brgy. Lanot, Roxas City.
Pride of place by the stewards of the forest
The officers and members of the Sta. Carmen Integrated Social Forestry Association greeted us upon disembarkation, a bit surprised that a Raptor traveled all the way from Iloilo City to provide service on the seedlings that they have collected from the inland nursery.
“This is a powerful truck that can carry tons of load. No wonder it can reach us here,” quipped Rolando Belarmino, the 65 years old president of the 20 member association who all holds a stewardship certificate.
Right away, they started loading native tree seedlings composed of Talisay, Pangi, Malugai, Dao, and Bangkal. The seedlings were then covered by a screen for protection and ready for transport.
A small community, the residents of the mountainous Sta. Carmen subsist by managing the timberland and forest. They also plant rice, corn, banana, coconut, and vegetables. “I got here in the 80’s after I married my wife who is a “tumandok” (native of the place) and we have since lived peacefully by planting crops, trees, domesticated animals, and with a tilapia and mudfish pond.
“We have enough food here and this is the main reason why we did not feel the brunt of COVID-19,” said the 52-years old farmer and Brgy. Kagawad Potenciana Araña.
Nay Tinsi, as she is called, also expressed a pride of place by narrating that their community has the potential for agro-tourism as she showed us the beautiful mountainous landscape, its rich agriculture produce, and with a waterfalls that has become a local tourism spot visited by many residents from neighboring barangays and municipalities especially months after lockdown was eased.
As we discussed about fresh farm produce and its abundance, we walked through rice paddies to the house of Rodolfo Belarmino for a lunch composed of native chicken tinola and a grilled mudfish, a fresh catch from the pond.
Ford Ranger Raptor again exercised its 4X4 characteristics with a ground clearance of 283mm, a short climb to slippery slope was stable. We navigated ourselves back to the main highway in no time and drove 38.9 kilometers to turn over the seedlings to Reyjand Dejapa at the Capiz PENRO Nursery complex in Brgy. Lanot.
We entered Roxas City proper early afternoon and we brought the Raptor to the boulevard to allow it to inhale the salty air in front of the beach and to enjoy its successful and safe travel for the day.
The Raptor has an imposing size for a small city roads with its 5,398 mm length, but efficient to maneuver considering its automatic transmission and with an Automatic Park Assist (APA) feature that made back entry parking quite easy.
The next day, we drove back from Roxas City to Iloilo City without a load, but only to relish its sports driving setting for high performance on the highway. The Raptor could perform mercilessly. Its 500Nm torque has all the power to set you off and its 2.0L engine size, 4 cylinders, and 16 valve performs at the optimum yet unnoticed for it offers a smooth humming sound even as you start to accelerate at 120 kilometers/hour side-by-side 10-wheeler trucks.
Indeed, the Raptor is #BuiltForTough. When the Raptor chooses you to drive him, never hesitate. You don’t get to choose the Raptor; it chooses you instead.