Ford Ranger T6 2.2 M/T Test Drive Review

Ford Ranger T6 2.2 M/T Test Drive Review

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As much as the original Ford Ranger paid an important role in opening up the pick-up truck market in Malaysia, there was another truck that played its role in another crucial development of this segment. The truck in question is not the Toyota Hilux, but rather the Mitsubishi Storm, which became the first pick-up truck to be offered here with automatic transmission.

It was a time when Malaysians had already fully embraced the convenience of automatics, and Mitsubishi was rewarded with a surge of sales for introducing its Storm Automatic at the right time. The competition followed suit in due course, and the result now is that most pick-up trucks sold in Malaysia come with automatic transmissions.

The new Ranger is ready to make a splash in our market.

There is still a market for manual pick-ups, but like with passenger cars, most companies now offer higher-specced models with the more powerful engines exclusive with automatic transmission only, leaving stick shift to reside at the lower end of the food chain. This brings us, then, to the all-new Ford Ranger T6, which is offered with the option of 2.2 and 3.2-litre engines.

The 3.2 is offered in the fully decked out Wildtrak trim and is available exclusively with automatic transmission. The 2.2 gives you the choice of swapping cogs yourself or letting the machine to do the work. We have already reviewed the auto version last month, and today we find ourselves behind the wheels of its manual counterpart, which is priced RM6,000 cheaper at RM89,888 with insurance.

We did not test the Ranger’s 800mm wading depth, but it acquitted itself well with water for sure.

Besides trading the torque converter for a clutch pedal, the manual Ranger also loses a small amount of equipment compared to its auto sibling. Our earlier review of the auto model erroneously listed auto headlights among the manual’s equipment deficit, but truth is, auto wipers and electrochromatic rear view mirrors are the only things missing if you migrate from the auto. As such, available equipment remains impressive, and to recap, they include Voice Command, steering-mounted controls, power-folding door mirrors, auto cruise, multi-info display, and Bluetooth connectivity.

In the engine room, Ford’s new 2.2-litre turbodiesel pumps out a highly-competitive 148hp and 375Nm which goes to the road, or dirt if you prefer, by an electronic shift-on-the-fly 4×4 system. A 6-speed manual transmissions connects the two, and although Ford is not the first truck in the market to offer a six-cog stick shift, it does have the finest gear change in the segment with short and precise throws that are almost sports car-like. Swapping cogs smoothly, however, requires practice – there’s a need to gently blip the throttle even on upshifts to avoid jerks.

Shifter is slick and precise, but finesse with throttle required for smooth gear-changes.

This deliberate action required to enable smooth gear change calls for continuous focus and commitment from the driver, and whilst getting it right often proves satisfying, it is less pleasant when you mis-time your footwork. Add to the deliberately heavy nature of its controls, the manual Ranger can prove tiresome to the average driver, and those of you who have decided at this point to go for the automatic model have perfectly justifiable reasons to do so.

However, if you enjoy the daily workout of manual transmissions as much as I do, there is plenty to like here. As mentioned earlier, the shifter itself has very short and precise throws, and by virtue of it being a manual, the acceleration lag we reported with the automatic model has become a non-issue.

In addition, other qualities that we have reported earlier such as cabin quality, refinement, and comfort remain excellent and truly ahead of the competition, although it must be noted that the Mitsubishi Triton has better ride comfort, and the newly-launched Chevrolet Colorado has comparable sound insulation. Neither truck, or none of the competition for that matter, however, combines all of the above qualities in one package like how Ford managed here, which is where Ford has truly raised the bar for the rest to follow.



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