Top 12 Winner, Double-Cab Bakkie: Ford Ranger

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Ford Ranger

The Ranger wins this category of the Top 12 Best Buys for the fourth consecutive year. If detractors complained that the newer Ford has always lagged behind the venerable Hilux in terms of sales, last year saw the Blue Oval’s double cab outsell Toyota temporarily, even if it was through the help of a dealer campaign. The current-generation Hilux is now well and truly in the twilight of its model life, but is reportedly due for replacement only in 2016. Conversely, the Ranger will receive a facelift this year, replete with a new 2,0-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine as well as slightly upgraded 2,2-litre turbodiesel and 2,5-litre petrol motors, a terrain-management system with four off-road modes, hill-ascent and -descent control, plus a variety of onboard systems that it shares with its Kuga sibling. Although less than spectacularly equipped, the 2,2 High Rider XL represents astonishing value at R314 900… And to make established contenders even more nervous, the addition of the JMC Vigus and GMW H6 (a group test featuring an example of each appears on page 80) sees well-priced and specified Chinese-made products dramatically close the gap between the budget and luxury ends of this market.

Runners Up:

Volkswagen Amarok
With the recent addition of a 4×2 eight-speed automatic version of the 132 kW/400 N.m 2,0 BiTDI Amarok, which has a CAR fuel index figure of 9,8 litres/100 km and CO2 emissions of 216 g/km, Volkswagen now arguably offers the best-balanced single-version double-cab model in the market.

Toyota Hilux
Buoyed by interior spec upgrades (such as the introduction of Legend 45 versions late last year), the Hilux has returned to the top of the sales charts. Will its successor be on the market by this time next year – and if so, will it be more leisure-oriented, or workhorse-based, as is the case with the current version? We can’t wait to find out.

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