I’ve decided to focus on some key aspects regarding these two machines; the looks, the comfort, the power and the pricing factor. After assessing all areas I will come to a verdict.
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The Hilux Legend 45 is not a bad-looking bakkie, in my opinion. This model is fitted with a new headlamp and front fog lamp design, which features blacked-out detailing. It also has a smoked taillight design, stainless steel front nudge bar and a stainless steel rear step bumper. It comes with a tow bar, matte black side steps, exclusive Legend 45 badging for the nudge bar, as well as side decals and tailgate decals, colour-coded door handles with chrome-finish mirrors and multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. My only issue with the Toyota is that I feel it should have come with a rear roll bar and tonneau cover. Also, it just looks like a normal Hilux from afar.
The Ford Ranger on the other hand is easily identifiable as a Wildtrak model with its aggressive front bumper detailing, an aerodynamic sport bar and retractable tonneau adorning the tray, tubular side steps and bigger 18-inch alloys. The Ranger that I tested was also finished in a vibrant burnt orange, which adds an extra bit of the cool factor. The only issue that I found was that it really feels big. Parking and manoeuvring takes some concentration.
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The Legend 45 is liberally specced; it features a full black interior for the cabin including the dashboard finish; black leather with silver contrast stitching on the seats, door panels, steering wheel and shift lever. The Hilux has a reverse camera and a nice big touch screen. Unfortunately, on a sunny day you can’t really see anything that’s being displayed by the camera. I like the Toyota’s interior. It looks the same as it did back in 2005 but it’s functional and easy to clean.
The Ford on the other hand has a more luxurious looking cabin. Features include mesh and leatherette embroidered seats with heaters up front, eight-way driver’s adjustment and climate control. However, while the Hilux has a big touch screen, the Ford only features a five-inch multimedia screen. It does have a chilled centre console though, which is designed to accommodate a six pack…of juice, that is. The Ford also has a reverse camera except this one displays in the rear view mirror.
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The Hilux was fitted with the brand’s tried and tested in-line four-cylinder 3.0-litre, turbo diesel D-4D engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. This motor produces a reasonable 120kW at 3 400rpm and a maximum torque of 343Nm between 1 400 and 3 200rpm. This is not the most powerful engine but Toyota has proven its durability. The braked towing capacity of the Hilux is 2 500kgs.
The Wildtrak’s 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo diesel puts out a very healthy 147kW and 470Nm, and the optional six-speed auto does a good job of embracing the engine’s 1 500-2 750rpm max torque band. The Ranger can load a reasonable one-tonne payload, whereas the Hilux can load 1 100kgs. The Ranger beats the Hilux when it comes to towing; it has the capability to tow 3.5 tons with the standard tow bar.
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The Hilux Legend 45 4x4 retails for R505 400 and the Wildtrak 4x4 auto, will set you back R551 900. All prices include VAT and were sourced from the manufacturers’ websites.
→ Which will it be, then?
This is a very tough question to answer. Both bakkies will get you up a rocky hill or through a muddy pit. Both will tow your boat or caravan with ease while keeping you comfortable. On paper, the Ford Ranger is the better bakkie by far. It has more power and offers more luxurious features than the Hilux; it looks better as well, however, I can’t ignore the Toyota’s proven reliable reputation. I will accept any criticism but I’m going to settle for the Hilux - not because it’s the better bakkie out of the two but because I’ve grown up with the Hilux - the same way as I’m a Sharks supporter, whether they win or lose, that’s my team.