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OFF-ROAD TEST

Toyota Hilux Black versus Ford Ranger Fx4





13 November 2017


The raging sales war between Toyota’s Hilux and Ford’s Ranger has been elevated to a new level: both ranges now boast limited-edition derivatives. We compared F×4 with Black, painted panel by painted panel.

Toyota South Africa Motors have traditionally been pretty successful in slapping on a limited edition badge on its Hilux, and then selling droves of bakkies. Think the Legend series, and the Dakar. In April, Ford added to its limited edition offerings, supplementing the Wildtrak with the introduction of its F×4 Ranger. However, Toyota was not to be outdone… in August, the company launched the Hilux Black; a limited edition derivative featuring unique cosmetic detailing. We drove both the new Ford and Hilux inside a week. Here’s what you can get extra for your hard-earned cash.

Ford Ranger Fx4
The Ranger F×4 derivative is available on the 3.2-litre 4×4 double cabs (manual and automatic). The F×4 badge is based on Ford’s popular F-series pick-ups as sold in the USA, and in the Ranger application it adds some cosmetic upgrades as well as the latest tech in the cabin. On the styling front, the radiator grille, fog lamp bezels, exterior mirrors, roof rails and the door and tailgate handles are finished in black. The 17-inch alloys are also decked out in a panther black finish, as are the side steps, rear bumper and special F×4 tubular sports bar in the load bay. The package is rounded off with F×4 decals on the flanks and tailgate.

The limited edition model is available in four colours: frozen white, moondust silver, sea grey and panther black. In the cabin, the F×4 is fitted with the latest-generation SYNC3 navigation and infotainment system. The system is accessible via a new eight-inch touchscreen and a voice command system. Pricing is an important factor, of course. The top F×4 3.2TDCi 4×4 double cab AT model retails for R608 900, that’s R15 000 more than the standard Ranger 3.2TDCi 4×4 double cab AT.  Interestingly though, the top Wildtrak model retails for R619 900, making it the most expensive model in the line-up.

Pricing – Fx4 versus Black:
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×2 Raider Black R521 100
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×2 Raider Black AT R538 900
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×4 Raider Black R585 300
Ford Ranger Fx4 3.2TDCi double cab 4×4 R593 900
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×4 Raider Black AT R604 300
Ford Ranger Fx4 3.2TDCi double cab 4×4 AT R608 900

Toyota Hilux Raider Black
Toyota has included the 2.8GD-6 double cab 4×2 derivatives in the new Black limited edition range. From a pricing perspective, the entry-level Black 4×2 model thus undercuts the manual F×4 4×4 by quite a margin. The new Black range is available in three colours: glacier white, chromium silver and graphite grey. The unique exterior detailing of this model includes: gloss black front grille and front bumper insert, colour-coded over-fenders, door handles and mirrors, a gloss black roof and 18-inch alloy wheels. Also part of the package is a black rear styling bar and black tonneau cover.

In the cabin there are up-grades. These include black leather interior with silver stitching, carbon-fibre panel inserts and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. On average, the Black versions retail for R27 000 more than their standard counterpart. For instance, the top 2.8GD-6 Hilux Raider Black double cab 4×4 AT retails for R604 300 compared to R573 000 for the standard derivative.

The drive – Fx4 versus Black
From a mechanical point of view, both the Ford and Toyota limited edition models remain 100% standard – so the drive is exactly the same as in their standard cousins. That means you get 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque from the Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel, and 130kW and up to 450Nm of torque from Toyota’s 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel mill. If we were after an Fx4 or Black with a manual gearbox, we reckon the Hilux has the edge. If an automatic gearbox is the preferred method of swapping gears, then the Ranger’s six-speed ‘box gets our vote.

But the actual driving experiences in the respective models are probably not the main selling points. Instead, it’s more about the fashion appeal and exclusivity of these limited edition models. Both these models tick the fashion appeal and exclusivity boxes. In the end, it’s about personal brand preferences. Suffice to say that, although the Hilux is currently in the year-to-date sales lead by a relatively narrow margin, the fight between the Hilux and Ranger is far from won or lost. The battle is well and truly on.