LET THE GAMES begin: The much-hyped battle of the giants, when talking bakkies in our very own South African marketplace, is shaping up to be something of a real bun fight — no — rather make that a power struggle. For the opening gambit we’ve elected to pair Toyota’s seminal Hilux 3.0-litre D-4D double cab 4×4 Raider with the new kid on the block, the much-awaited Ford Ranger XLT 3.2-litre TDCi D/C.
It might seem something of an oxymoron to call a bakkie pretty, but in the case of the Ranger we can justifiably do that. Just about everyone in the office reckons she’s a good looker from any angle, even though she’s been largely designed and developed Down Under, under the watchful eye of Ford US. (We promise not to mention that particular continent again in this article!)
Despite a recent nip and tuck the 3.0-litre D-4D Toyota Hilux Raider that’s built in Prospecton, Durban, still looks remarkably anodyne when compared to the Ranger’s strikingly handsome and up-to-date good looks. A new bonnet, complete with power bulge, a new radiator grille and new front and rear lights – along with other cosmetic changes to be found throughout, leave it decidedly trailing in the must-have stakes. With its 5 260mm overall length and 1 835mm body width dimensions it maybe suffers from an inferiority complex from the Ford newcomer.
Ford has chosen to call its new Ranger ‘21st Century Tough’, an accolade that needs to be earned. Still, it certainly exudes a taut and muscular appearance whether seen in single-, double-cab or WildTrak styling. Interestingly, the Ranger is built in Silverton, Pretoria. There’s lots of local content coming through — not a bad thing, we reckon. Ford has export orders for it from countries across the globe. Everything is entirely new, from the chassis, to exterior sheet metal, even theinterior fixtures and fittings. At 5 274mm long and 2 163mm wide, it is considerably bigger than the bakkie it replaces.