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How a Ford Ranger Pickup Truck Taught Me Charity Is a Bit Like Motorsport
Let’s think about all those press releases nobody ever pays attention to. Sure, many of these are truly unworthy of our time, but even when it comes to charity matters, the titles are the only ones that get read on most occasions.

How a Ford Ranger Pickup Truck Taught Me Charity Is a Bit Like Motorsport

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That’s because charity is a bit like motorsport - it’s astoundingly difficult to grab the intense emotions that take place on-site and spread them into the world. For the writer to explain and the reader to understand just how visceral a purpose-built racecar can be, there’s quite a high number of stars that have to align. Well, when it comes to charity, things are ten times more complicated.

Sure, you’re going to explain how much money was invested into a certain philanthropy campaign, but you can’t quantify the amount of tears shed by the less fortunate being helped.

I discovered this and much more just before Easter, when I took part in a benefaction initiative included in the Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services. This is the Blue Oval’s philanthropy arm and while I had been involved in charity events before, I’ve always participated as a man, not a journalist.

As I said, charity write-ups are one massive vicious circle - we don’t write about them because you don’t read about them and vice-versa. Well, here we are together, breaking this circle.

I have to admit that, instead of writing this, I would probably be stranded on some muddy hill needing help myself if it hadn’t been for the Ford Ranger.

That’s because the adventure kicked off as if it was a usual review for Ford’s mid-size pickup truck. Nevertheless, while during a usual test I try to play the role of a customer, this time it was all real, which made it considerably more hardcore.

If I get stuck off the road during a review, I can always spend as much time as I like trying to find a way out. But when you’re delivering food to the poor, you know that you’ll have to engage 4WD Low in a much more responsible way.

At the other end of that power delivery switch on the Ranger’s center console, there’s an entire village of people for whom living a good life means having something other than bread and cheese to eat for Easter. This time there was “spectacular” route to go along - the easiest route through the muck would be the best.

I drove the Ranger through the morning rush hour, then for some 250 km (150 miles) to the Ford factory in Craiova, Romania. That is where I met up with two other Rangers and a Kuga compact crossover that would follow us as far as possible. The last part refers to our itinerary. Despite not traveling further than 60 km (40 miles) from the Ford factory, the route would take us to some remote villages up in the hills. The massive rain that had been washing the area for about a week before the action didn’t exactly come in handy.

As we reached one house after another, the people were visibly moved by what was happening to them. I expected to find plenty of children whose smiles would instantly wash the mud away from our convoy. And we did find them, as you can see in the gallery below.

Nonetheless, it was an old lady humbly spending her day sitting on the ground who impressed me the most. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking when it comes to this part.

However, I can tell you that, running from one village to another, the Ranger always felt like it was there for me. This is definitely a manly vehicle since it does require a certain amount of effort to drive.

From the urban buzz, through the highway and to the rugged terrain, the Ranger managed to adapt to every situation. I’d like to have one available each time I get such a task or even for a weekend away with my SO.

Speaking of serious offroading, in the end it always comes down to the driver. As I said, there were two other Rangers out there in the wild on that day, one of which was fitted with offroading tires. Up to a certain point, we all followed the same route and as you can notice in the image gallery, one of the pickup trucks got stuck. Want to try and guess which one was it? Yep, the Ranger with those beefy BF Goodrich tires.

I was rather inefficient while carrying my load since none of the work would’ve actually required the model I drove, namely a 3.2L straight-five diesel-powered model featuring the range-topping Wildtrack trim.

Then again, I didn’t need this experience to know that while the most muscular oil burner in the line-up is fun to drive, the four-cylinder units are a better choice.

I would’ve liked more space in the back - this was the double cab models and three Ford volunteers, workers from the factory, shared the area. Since they were enjoying their mission and showed they have V8 hearts, they obviously wouldn’t talk about this, but I noticed they could’ve done with a little bit of extra room.

Another thing I’d change on the Ranger is the restrained front fascia styling, which doesn’t do this rugged machine justice. Well, Ford has already done this with the 2016 model year Ranger, a facelift I’m looking forward to driving.

The charity project connected to the Craiova site debuted last year, with over $100,000 being invested so far. Ford is also planning to inject almost half a million dollars into this kind of initiatives over the following three years.

Returning to the Ranger, Americans, who haven’t received a Blue Oval mid-size pickup for a few years now, have plenty of reasons to be jealous on Australians, Europeans, and Africans. This Ford gets the job done well. But you don’t need a Ranger to handle some charity work yourself. When the weather is dry, a mountain bike is enough to take you to some people who are in need. As it happens in motorsport, sometimes racing is just as important as winning.


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