The best of both worlds
The Toyota Hilux has dominated the bakkie segment for as long as I can remember, but the Ford Ranger has been hot on its heels for some time now and in fact has surpassed the Hilux on occasion (such as November last year) which means Toyota can not and should not be too confident in thinking the Hilux will remain the number one selling bakkie in South Africa for much longer. We will see the new Toyota Hilux in South Africa next year.
250 000 Rangers were built between 2011 and 2015. That means that every two minutes a Ranger comes off the line at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria. This South African built bakkie is exported to 148 markets. Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region says, “The current Ranger is one of the toughest, most capable pickups out there, and this is reflected in the exceptional sales of the Ranger to date.”
We attended the new Ford Ranger launch last week in Cape Town and it truly impressed in all manners. First off, it is a very good looking bakkie. I know that looks are subjective but I can’t see too many people disagreeing with me. The Ranger has been updated with a new hood that leads in to an updated trapezoidal grille and new headlamps. “When you look at how our customers use their vehicles, it’s important that a Ranger looks and functions as a tough, dependable tool,” Delate adds.
Step inside and you will notice a more refined and modern cabin. Horizontal lines create a spacious cabin and thankfully Ford has fine tuned this interior to create a more car-like feel. This is something the Volkswagen Amarok nailed a few years back and if anyone ever asked my advice on a bakkie I would suggest the Amarok for this very reason, unless they were wanting a workhorse. The Ranger is now both a comfortable drive and a workhorse. Again, I must reiterate, the Hilux needs to watch its back!
It is jam-packed with technology including Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and ABS on all but the Base model (ABS is an option). The ESP system integrates Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control, Adaptive Load Control and Trailer Sway Control, while ABS includes Emergency Brake Assistance and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
In addition, the top-specification new Ranger Wildtrak adds Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Driver Impairment Monitor, as well as Front and Rear Park Assist.
There are 33 derivatives in an array of trim levels available, namely Base, XL,XL Plus, XLS, XLT and the range topping Wildtrak. Ford has updated its engines to make them more fuel efficient and responsive in some cases. The range topper is a 3,2-litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine which Ford claims has an improved fuel efficiency of 18%. It produces 147 kW of power and 470 N.m of torque.
The revised 2,2-litre four cylinder TDCi also benefits from upgrades in terms of performance, refinement and efficiency. It now has 118 KW of power (previously 110 kW) and 385 N.m of torque (previously 375 N.m). We drove this engine up to the Matroosberg and I was impressed with just how composed and comfortable the ride was. It’s quiet too! Overtaking is effortless and you don’t feel like you are driving a workhorse bakkie, but rather a refined SUV.
Like I mentioned previously, this bakkie is both comfortable and capable! It is the best of both worlds. I always loved the VW Amarok because of its comfort level and the fact that it felt more like driving a car than it did a workhorse bakkie. And the Hilux was always my go to for the hardcore off-road workhorse. The new Ford Ranger offers both. It is more than capable off-road, which we experienced through the gorgeous Matroosberg, and after spending more than two hours on the road driving back to Cape Town, I was aware of just how comfortable it is as a cruiser.
UPDATE – PRICE LIST RELEASED!
Ford has upped its service plan to five years/100 000km. There is no service plan on the base model however.