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While fiercely loyal Toyota Hilux double-cab owners would argue there was little need for continued development of their favourite bakkie past the fourth-generation model (introduced in 1983), the incremental evolution of this popular range has seen it dominate local sales charts for close to 50 years. That said, a lot has changed in the double-cab market in the 12 years since the last new Hilux (sixth generation) was launched, most notably in the shape of its competition.

It’s long been rumoured that one of the reasons for a delay in the launch of the latest Hilux has been the interim introduction of vehicles such as the Volkswagen Amarok and current-generation Ford Ranger. Both VW and Ford target lifestyle-oriented buyers by offering higher levels of comfort and refinement over and above the levels of toughness associated with this segment. Certainly, the Amarok, if often scorned by the “hard-core” off-roading (and farming) community, has highlighted the fact that modern double-cab ownership need no longer be associated with a compromise in comfort.

Where the Amarok has been perceived as being too cushioned since its 2011 introduction and the outgoing Hilux a little too utilitarian, the current Ranger has made significant inroads into Toyota’s segment domination by successfully bridging the gap between these two rivals. Recently facelifted to coincide with the launch of the (Ranger-based) Everest SUV, as well as to introduce a more rugged stance, the Ford represents the biggest challenge to the success of the all-new Hilux.

While the aforementioned purposeful stance of the revised Ranger range is emphasised by this flagship Wildtrak model’s unique paintwork, exclusive rollover bar and one-size-larger (18-inch) alloy wheels, there’s no denying the air of purpose imbued by the chrome-highlighted, F150-Series-inspired grille updates granted to XLT Rangers that rival the Hilux’s Raider spec.

There might be no shortage of brightwork on the new Hilux Raider’s grille, but most CAR testers agreed that the Toyota, while visually aligning itself with other models in the group’s portfolio, is less imposing than the Ford when seen in a rear-view mirror. That said, the new Hilux has grown and is both wider (5 mm) and longer (61 mm) than the Ranger, but slightly narrower. Viewed in profile, the Toyota has the more predominant snout (1 000 mm versus 905 mm) but, despite this, the Hilux boasts the greater claimed approach angle (31 versus 25,5 degrees) of the two.

Packaging
By updating the facia of the Ranger to mimic that of the recently introduced Everest SUV, Ford has included nearly every modern convenience available on its top-of-the- range Fusion sedan. This includes the company’s intuitive Sync2 touchscreen (and voice-activated) infotainment and Bluetooth system, as well as (in XLT and Wildtrak specification) climate control and comprehensive onboard trip computing. Two of the most obvious improvements to the Hilux’s roomier cabin, aside from Raider-spec leather upholstery and matching multifunction steering wheel, is the absence of a secondary transmission lever and the inclusion of a sophisticated-looking new touchscreen display unit. While the neat rotary drivetrain-mode selector is more convenient to use (and frees up interior space), we cannot say the same for the fussy infotainment system; as clear as its display may be, it attracts dust and requires too much concentration (i.e. eyes from the road) to operate.

A welcome addition to the Hilux is reach adjustment on the steering column to supplement the rake function. While our taller testers prefer an even greater range of adjustability, this small convenience will no doubt help with seating comfort. Despite its steering column offering only height adjustment, however, there were no complaints about driver comfort in the Ranger. A more raised driving position in the Hilux counters the car-like configuration of the Ranger, and this, in turn, means greater visibility from the cabin of the Toyota.

As confirmed by our measurements, it’s the Ford that offers more leg- and head-room in the rear seats. While Isofix anchorage points are a welcome inclusion in both models, it’s surprising that neither manufacturer thought to offer ventilation ducts for rear passengers. The Toyota’s sliding rear window offers some consolation.

Powertrains
Replacing the well-known 3,0-litre D-4D engine in the Hilux is an all-new 2,8-litre turbodiesel. It delivers 130 kW of power and 420 N.m of torque (from 1 400 to 2 600 r/min) when mated with a six-speed manual gearbox, and 450 N.m (1 600 to 2 400 r/min) when paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission. Having experienced both options, the manual version in this exclusive first test and the automatic at the international Hilux launch, it’s evident this drivetrain is the trump card in Toyota’s armoury. More refined in its workings than the recently updated 147 kW 3,2-litre Duratorq powerplant fitted to the Ranger, the Toyota’s engine also outperforms its five-cylinder Struandale-built competitor on the road and burns less fuel in a combined cycle.

Dynamics
Combining this livelier powertrain with the lighter (by nearly 200 kg compared with the Ranger) Hilux body, the Toyota feels easier to manoeuvre, both around town and off the beaten track. Ford fans will counter that the Ranger feels more substantial than the lithe Hilux, yet it’s difficult to argue against Toyota’s track record for durability. Despite Ford’s adoption of an adaptive electric power-steering system in the Ranger line-up, it’s the hydraulic setup in the Hilux that feels more intuitive while offering greater feedback.

An area where the outgoing Hilux drew heavy criticism when compared with nearly all of its rivals was ride quality. Significant improvements have been made in this department, but there remains a firmness and resultant jostle to the new vehicle’s on-road manner that seems destined to remain an Achilles’ heel, even when up against the Ranger Wildtrak on its standard 18-inch wheels and lower-profile tyres. That said, like its predecessor, putting a load on the Hilux’s rear leaf springs improves its ride quality.

A day spent off-road with both vehicles proved that they are only as capable as the person behind the wheel. Both bakkies feature on-the-fly shifting into all-wheel drive for gravel-road expeditions and, while you’re likely to feel more bumps over broken surfaces in the Hilux’s cabin than the Ford’s, both double cabs are composed on loose surfaces. Both the Ranger Wildtrak (and XLT) and Hilux Raider offer stability control and trailer-sway-control systems. The Hilux’s braked towing mass has increased to match its rival’s 3 500 kg maximum.

Effective low-range transfer cases and hill-descent control, together with one-touch rear-differential locks, add to their go-anywhere prowess. Of interest is the fact that the Hilux offers a maximum wading depth of 700 mm compared with the Ranger’s 800. Bragging rights? Heading into town, we were grateful for the Hilux’s (relative) lightweight manoeuvrability compared with the bulk of the Ranger, even if the Ford offers the tighter turning circle of the two.

On the open road, the punch offered by the 2,8-litre Toyota engine, mated here with a slick six-speed manual transmission, came to the fore. Not only did it feel more powerful than the Ranger’s Duratorq motor – which, admittedly, was robbed of some performance by its lethargic automatic transmission – but it also proved the more refined and frugal.
UPINGTON, Northern Cape – Does the average South African bakkie-buyer really need the ability to blast along off-road terrain at breakneck speeds? Or string together drift after dirt-flinging drift? Or, indeed, jump the vehicle off a gravel-road crest at 120+ km/h without fear of the underpinnings positively disintegrating upon landing?

Almost certainly not. Although many probably want that ability. And now they can have it.

Yes, the locally built Ford Ranger Raptor has finally hit the market in South Africa (read our pricing story here and our international driving impression here), with the Blue Oval brand billing its beefed-up bakkie as downright peerless when it comes to high-speed off-roading talent. And, after spending many hours subjecting the aggressively styled newcomer to numerous tests over various unpaved surfaces – from the soft sand of the dunes to the brittle surfaces of a salt pan – it’s safe to say that’s more than mere marketing talk.



Thanks to an army of bespoke under-the-skin items (check out our in-depth technical article to see exactly what it took to design and build this vehicle), including a strengthened chassis frame, uprated brakes, high-performance Fox dampers and a new coil-over rear suspension set-up featuring an integrated Watt’s linkage (the latter noticeably reducing body lean through fast bends), the Raptor-badged model boasts a level of off-road talent that is simply streets ahead of any other straight-from-the-factory bakkie currently offered in our market.

Add a comprehensive “terrain management system” – which offers six driving modes in the form of normal and sport (for on-road use) plus grass/gravel/snow, mud/sand, rock and Baja (for off-road use) – that allows powertrain characteristics and the level of electronic assistance to be varied, and you have something not too far from a fully fledged off-road racer.

Of course, what’s not so racy is the oil-burning four-banger Ford opted to drop over the front axle. The 2,0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel unit (offering 157 kW and 500 N.m) has been at the centre of heated discussion since the reveal of the Ranger Raptor back in February 2018, with many enthusiasts suggesting a couple more cylinders would have been more fitting for a vehicle developed under the Ford Performance banner.



Granted, on tarmac the Ranger Raptor doesn’t accelerate particularly quickly from standstill (in fact, Ford has made a point of not mentioning the Silverton-built Raptor’s claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time in its press material ... but it’s 10,5 seconds, if you were wondering), so those hoping it will keep up with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 and Mercedes-Benz X350d from light to light will be bitterly disappointed. And it’s also a little irksome this very engine can be ordered in the Ranger Wildtrak (and even the Everest), too.

But seldom during my time with the Ranger Raptor off-road did I find myself thinking more grunt would have been useful (and not once when rally ace Gareth Woolridge had me holding my breath and bracing for impact as he attacked obstacle after obstacle during a punishing hot lap across varied terrain). And that leaves me feeling the Struandale-assembled engine is at the very least sufficient for high-speed off-road action.

The 10-speed automatic transmission, too, does a fine job of selecting the appropriate cog for most driving situations (magnesium paddle-shifters ship standard, but seem superfluous here), with the final couple of ratios further settling what is already a pleasingly hushed diesel engine when on the long road.



The specially developed BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres (in 285/70 R17 size) under those menacingly flared arches, meanwhile, not only come to the party in the rough stuff, but also help deliver an almost plush ride quality on tarmac, despite an aggressive tread pattern. Ultimately, the generously specced Raptor is certainly usable as an everyday on-road vehicle, although its considerable width sees it spilling from the average parking bay.

While the bold exterior styling (only amplified by the lofty 283 mm ground clearance and 150 mm wider tracks) makes the Raptor easily distinguishable from lesser Ranger derivatives, inside the differences are not quite as marked. The most obvious upgrade to the cabin is the fitment of model-specific sports seats offering a handy mix of comfort and support, while more subtle changes include blue stitching, a freshened-up instrument cluster and a red top-centre marker on the leather-clad tiller. Frustrating, however, the steering column is still missing reach adjustment, which makes it difficult to lock in the perfect driving position.

The Ranger Raptor is a particularly interesting addition to a local off-road market that generally focuses on low-speed, technical jaunts off the beaten track. The newcomer, by contrast, offers high-speed thrills away from the asphalt, flattering drivers with even limited skill or experience. Still, I can’t help but feel the majority of Ranger Raptors sold in SA won’t ever see the sort of terrain for which this vehicle has been been expressly designed.



Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if a healthy chunk end up being bought on looks alone, with buyers perfectly content to sacrifice towing capacity (which drops to 2 500 kg) and payload (reduced to 607 kg) at the altar of a highly sophisticated suspension arrangment that will seldom see anything more rural than an immaculately graded gravel road.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that Ford could have simply slapped an aggressive body kit onto a standard Ranger (and perhaps thrown in a smidgen more under-bonnet oomph), with the result likely to sell in significant numbers while requiring far less-intensive development (and thus a mere fraction of the investment that went into the Raptor). But those who get the chance to experience this machine at maximum attack off the beaten track will be glad this isn’t the case.

So, back to that original question: does the typical bakkie-owner really need this level of off-road wherewithal? Well, does the average supercar driver need the ability to reach licence-losing speeds? The answer to both is “no”, but (in each case) that doesn’t mean they don’t want it...
UPINGTON, Northern Cape – Does the average South African bakkie-buyer really need the ability to blast along off-road terrain at breakneck speeds? Or string together drift after dirt-flinging drift? Or, indeed, jump the vehicle off a gravel-road crest at 120+ km/h without fear of the underpinnings positively disintegrating upon landing?

Almost certainly not. Although many probably want that ability. And now they can have it.

Yes, the locally built Ford Ranger Raptor has finally hit the market in South Africa (read our pricing story here and our international driving impression here), with the Blue Oval brand billing its beefed-up bakkie as downright peerless when it comes to high-speed off-roading talent. And, after spending many hours subjecting the aggressively styled newcomer to numerous tests over various unpaved surfaces – from the soft sand of the dunes to the brittle surfaces of a salt pan – it’s safe to say that’s more than mere marketing talk.



Thanks to an army of bespoke under-the-skin items (check out our in-depth technical article to see exactly what it took to design and build this vehicle), including a strengthened chassis frame, uprated brakes, high-performance Fox dampers and a new coil-over rear suspension set-up featuring an integrated Watt’s linkage (the latter noticeably reducing body lean through fast bends), the Raptor-badged model boasts a level of off-road talent that is simply streets ahead of any other straight-from-the-factory bakkie currently offered in our market.

Add a comprehensive “terrain management system” – which offers six driving modes in the form of normal and sport (for on-road use) plus grass/gravel/snow, mud/sand, rock and Baja (for off-road use) – that allows powertrain characteristics and the level of electronic assistance to be varied, and you have something not too far from a fully fledged off-road racer.

Of course, what’s not so racy is the oil-burning four-banger Ford opted to drop over the front axle. The 2,0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel unit (offering 157 kW and 500 N.m) has been at the centre of heated discussion since the reveal of the Ranger Raptor back in February 2018, with many enthusiasts suggesting a couple more cylinders would have been more fitting for a vehicle developed under the Ford Performance banner.



Granted, on tarmac the Ranger Raptor doesn’t accelerate particularly quickly from standstill (in fact, Ford has made a point of not mentioning the Silverton-built Raptor’s claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time in its press material ... but it’s 10,5 seconds, if you were wondering), so those hoping it will keep up with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 and Mercedes-Benz X350d from light to light will be bitterly disappointed. And it’s also a little irksome this very engine can be ordered in the Ranger Wildtrak (and even the Everest), too.

But seldom during my time with the Ranger Raptor off-road did I find myself thinking more grunt would have been useful (and not once when rally ace Gareth Woolridge had me holding my breath and bracing for impact as he attacked obstacle after obstacle during a punishing hot lap across varied terrain). And that leaves me feeling the Struandale-assembled engine is at the very least sufficient for high-speed off-road action.

The 10-speed automatic transmission, too, does a fine job of selecting the appropriate cog for most driving situations (magnesium paddle-shifters ship standard, but seem superfluous here), with the final couple of ratios further settling what is already a pleasingly hushed diesel engine when on the long road.



The specially developed BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres (in 285/70 R17 size) under those menacingly flared arches, meanwhile, not only come to the party in the rough stuff, but also help deliver an almost plush ride quality on tarmac, despite an aggressive tread pattern. Ultimately, the generously specced Raptor is certainly usable as an everyday on-road vehicle, although its considerable width sees it spilling from the average parking bay.

While the bold exterior styling (only amplified by the lofty 283 mm ground clearance and 150 mm wider tracks) makes the Raptor easily distinguishable from lesser Ranger derivatives, inside the differences are not quite as marked. The most obvious upgrade to the cabin is the fitment of model-specific sports seats offering a handy mix of comfort and support, while more subtle changes include blue stitching, a freshened-up instrument cluster and a red top-centre marker on the leather-clad tiller. Frustrating, however, the steering column is still missing reach adjustment, which makes it difficult to lock in the perfect driving position.

The Ranger Raptor is a particularly interesting addition to a local off-road market that generally focuses on low-speed, technical jaunts off the beaten track. The newcomer, by contrast, offers high-speed thrills away from the asphalt, flattering drivers with even limited skill or experience. Still, I can’t help but feel the majority of Ranger Raptors sold in SA won’t ever see the sort of terrain for which this vehicle has been been expressly designed.



Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if a healthy chunk end up being bought on looks alone, with buyers perfectly content to sacrifice towing capacity (which drops to 2 500 kg) and payload (reduced to 607 kg) at the altar of a highly sophisticated suspension arrangment that will seldom see anything more rural than an immaculately graded gravel road.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that Ford could have simply slapped an aggressive body kit onto a standard Ranger (and perhaps thrown in a smidgen more under-bonnet oomph), with the result likely to sell in significant numbers while requiring far less-intensive development (and thus a mere fraction of the investment that went into the Raptor). But those who get the chance to experience this machine at maximum attack off the beaten track will be glad this isn’t the case.

So, back to that original question: does the typical bakkie-owner really need this level of off-road wherewithal? Well, does the average supercar driver need the ability to reach licence-losing speeds? The answer to both is “no”, but (in each case) that doesn’t mean they don’t want it...

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Leather upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Lumbar support adjustment: driver electric
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Tyre pressure sensor monitor deflation detection system: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Driver knee airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 7
  • Lane departure warning: Standard
  • Lane change blindspot warning assist monitor: Standard
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • Head up display: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: adaptive
  • Active adaptive cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Voice control: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear + load box
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Electric seat adjustment: driver
  • Daytime driving running lights: Standard
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Xenon headlights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Towbar trailer hitch: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 976 km
  • Driven wheels: rear
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 6
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Diff lock: rear
  • Front tyres: 265/60 R18
  • Reartyres: 265/60 R18
  • Spare wheel size full: alloy
  • Length: 5354 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1860-2163 mm
  • Height: 1851 mm
  • Wheel base: 3220 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 237 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 12.7 m
  • Approach angle: 25.5
  • Break over ramp angle: 18.5
  • Departure angle: 21.8
  • Wading/fording (water crossing) depth: 800
  • Gross weight (GVM): 3200 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 750
  • Towing capacity - braked: 3500
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 80l
  • Fuel consumption average: 8.2 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 216g/km
  • Power maximum: 147 kW
  • Power maximum total: 147 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3000 r/min
  • Torque maximum: 470 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1500-2750 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 470 Nm
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 3198 cc
  • Engine size: 3.2l
  • enginedetailshort: 3.2TD
  • Engine + detail: 3.2 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 5
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i5
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 20
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 4
  • Warranty distance (km): 120000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 6
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 3
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Service interval (time): 1
  • Brand: Ford
  • Status: c
  • Segment: LCV
  • MMcode: 22032939
  • MMVariant: RANGER 3.2TDCi WILDTRAK A/T P/U D/C
  • MMintrodat: 2019-03-18
  • Introdate: 2019-04-08
  • DuoportarecordID: FordRang3Fd84

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