Ford is making its most serious attempt in years to wrest the title of most popular South African bakkie from Toyota’s Hilux.
The American auto giant launches a new
version of the popular Ranger bakkie in South Africa this month and this
evolution of Ford’s T6 platform features a collection of impressive upgrades.
Renowned for its handsome bakkie styling
the new Ranger differs little from the 2018 model, but for a new front grille
design, reshaped bumper and slightly more advanced LED headlights. A fantastic
convenience feature is the integration of a torsion beam to the tailgate’s mechanics,
which now required 60% less effort to lift and close than before.
Inside there is even less differentiation
in terms of cabin architecture, but the suite of advanced driver assistance
systems has been upgraded.
Ford can now claim to have one of the most
advanced and safest bakkies on sale in South Africa, having equipped new Ranger
with pedestrian recognition for its autonomous emergency braking system. It
also gains self-driving parallel parking assist, allowing you to manoeuvre the
Ranger’s larger dimensions into a tight parking with absolute confidence, as
sensors steer whilst you simply control the throttle and brakes.
Beyond the revised styling and upgraded
driver assist niceties, the Ranger’s most potent weapon in its battle against
Hilux is under the bonnet. In a change that might surprise bakkie fans, the
Ranger’s most powerful engine is now also its smallest: a 2-litre
This advanced 2-litre engine produces 157kW
and 500Nm, which makes it more powerful than the 3.2-litre five-cylinder, which
has traditionally headlined Ford’s local bakkie range and continues to be available
as an option with the new Ranger. Ford will also be offering a less powerful
and more affordable version of the 2-litre turbodiesel, with only one turbo, boosting
125kW and 420Nm.
Paired with these new 2-litre engines are
ten-speed automatic gearboxes, which promise to deliver a tremendous blend of
responsiveness and fuel economy. No other local bakkie rival offers a gearbox
with more than eight gears and Ford now commands a definite advantage in
drivetrain appeal with its new Ranger. For those bakkie customers who use their
double-cabs off-road, it is worth noting that combined with low-range these
2-litre Rangers now boast 20-gears with the 4×4 system selected.
Pricing starts at R287 100 for a basic
specification 2.2-litre single-cab, whilst the R514 300 gets you the most
affordable of those new 2-litre engines, in 4×2 double-cab configuration with a
10-speed automatic gearbox. If you desire a 4×4 version of that, the price
rises to R570 200. As a candidate for the best value offering within the
new Ranger portfolio, it must certainly be this 2-litre single-turbo XLT
For those who desire the performance of that
most potent Ranger offering, they will have to buy into the outlandishly styled
Wildtrak versions, which are the only new Rangers powered by the 157kW 2-litre
bi-turbo. Pricing for these are set at R632 300 for the double-cab 4×2 and
R678 200 for the 4×4.