As the New Year rolls in, so do some exciting new models in South Africa’s favourite motoring segment. In a two-part series, we take a look at the double-cab bakkies hitting the local market this year.
Ford Ranger Tremor
Unveiled at Ford’s 100th Anniversary celebration – as part of a massive drop of new vehicles from the company – the Ford Tremor adds even more spice to the extensive Ranger line-up. But where exactly does it fit in?
The Tremor is essentially XLT meets WildTrak X. The Wildtrak X – which I was fortunate to drive through the mountains of Queenstown, New Zealand, in mid-2023– was designed as Ford’s ultimate, off-the-factory-floor off-roader, outside of their rally-inspired Ranger Raptor which to be honest still sits in a segment of their own. In the new Tremor derivative, customers have available all the off-road accessories and technology that set the Wildtrak X apart but built on a (slightly) more budget-friendly XLT-based spec.
The focal point for Ford’s new model will be its off-road prowess. The Ranger Tremor emphasises enhanced off-road capabilities using the Wildtrak X’s suspension system, incorporating Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers, increasing track width by 30 mm and ground clearance by 24 mm. The vehicle rides on 17-inch Asphalt Black alloy wheels with General Grabber AT3 265/70 all-terrain tyres, complemented by extended wheel arch mouldings in Bolder Grey to accommodate the wider track. Other physical enhancements for off-road performance include underbody protection, front tow hooks and cast aluminium side steps.
The Tremor also comes with a bunch of off-road specific technological features including, most notably, the Trail Turn Assist Feature – debuted on the Wildtrak X– which works to reduce the vehicle’s turning radius by up to 25%, and Trail Control (an off-road version of cruise control). Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Trailer Reverse Guidance is another cool addition, that aids drivers in reversing with a trailer attached.
Ford’s 2,0-litre four-cylinder Bi-Turbo diesel engine powers the Tremor with 154 kW and 500 N.m of torque. Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, this engine sends power to a selectable four-wheel-drive system, which includes Ford’s new permanent four-wheel-drive system.
Though exterior detailing is probably not why you would be buying the Tremor, it distinguishes itself from the XLT with a black honeycomb grille, LED auxiliary lights, and Bolder Grey accents, while bearing Tremor decals and a tubular sports bar.
While pricing is yet to be confirmed, the Tremor should offer off-road-oriented customers the sweet spot in price and functionality between the XLT and the Wildtrak X. For a full run-down on all the features and specifications, visit our sister publication CAR Magazine.
Widebody Toyota Hilux GR-Sport
It’s been while since Toyota gave their bakkie-adoring South African public something new to get excited about. Well, here it is, a mean-looking Dakar-inspired double cab, with all the familiar Gazoo Racing accents, but a much bolder design.
Designed with a wider stance and more imposing body kit, updated suspension and brakes, all-terrain tyres and revised standard specifications, Toyota’s latest Hilux GR-S represents the most hardcore iteration yet. To be specific, the latest GR-S will boast a 135 mm wider front track, a 155 mm broader rear track width and a 15 mm lift in ground clearance compared with the current top-spec Hilux double-cab.
The addition of black plastic wheel arch extensions with aero ducts, a black “G-mesh” grille, and a genuine bash plate for engine protection, adds to the formidable appearance.
Inheriting the powertrain from its predecessor, the new Hilux GR-S is powered by Toyota’s robust 2.8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel engine, optimised to produce 165 kW and 550 N.m of torque. This power is primarily delivered to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission for regular driving, with the capability to switch to an all-wheel drive (4H) mode. Standard features include a low-range gearbox, a lockable rear differential, and hill descent control, enhancing its off-road capabilities.
For the full run down on Toyota’s exciting new addition, check out CAR Magazine.
Isuzu D-Max X-Rider
Reintroducing the X-Rider moniker, Isuzu’s latest addition to the D-Max range boasts unique styling and solid performance. The X-Rider returns to local markets for the seventh generation of D-Max, with three models; HR X-RIDER LS 6MT, HR X-RIDER LS AT and the 4×4 X-RIDER LS AT.
The X-Rider’s exterior sets it apart from the rest of its D-Max family, sporting a gloss black grille with red “Isuzu” lettering and “X-RIDER” detailing throughout. Its 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and black bumper guard underscore a rugged styling choice.
Powered by Isuzu’s reliable 1.9-litre Ddi turbo-diesel engine, the X-Rider puts out 110 kW and 350 N.m of torque, while both manual and automatic transmissions are available in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations.
In a segment traditionally dominated by models like the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, the D-Max X-Rider positions itself as a unique, affordable option offering Isuzu’s characteristic dependability packaged with a distinct personality. For full specifications, visit CAR Magazine.
Of course, that’s not all for our bakkie-crazed country in 2024. Three other new double-cabs will make their way into the market this year. Stay tuned for Part 2.