Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux, the better pickup
Few battles are as heated in the Philippines as the one between these lifestyle trucks. The Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux might appear very similar on the surface. But under the skin, they are very different beasts. They have both been in the business for making battle hardened workhorses since time immemorial. This arms race has now moved to an age where the two trucks are no longer used by just construction workers and contractors, but people who would have otherwise bought SUVs.
As pickups, there are some very specific expectations from these two. While they do try to go beyond their usual demands and try to be more like SUVs, the fundamentals cannot be ignored. Diving straight in then, let’s find out which is the better pickup.
The Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger needs no introduction in the Philippines. More so because the pickup has not changed a lot since 2015. That last update brought in the electric power steering and a host of safety features – especially in the Wildtrak variant – like the Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway control, reverse camera, forward-collision avoidance, Blind-Spot Monitoring, traction control and Lane Departure Warning. The dash got Ford’s Sync 3 system for connectivity and 8-inch TFT touchscreen infotainment with navigation. Yes, this pickup truck is better equipped than many contemporary SUVs.
The interior is also extremely spacious. The Wildtrak’s monstrous 3.2-litre inline 5-cylinder turbo diesel engine received improvements, giving it very good levels of NVH in the cabin. More importantly, it produces 197 hp and 470 Nm of torque, giving it towing capacity of 3500 kg and payload capacity of 1120 kg. It also manages to give a decent enough fuel economy of 11.35kmpl.
The Ranger also happens to be an off roader like no other. It has a proven record of handling off road conditions like no other, not the least of which is the unbeatable fording depth of 800 mm. This then is the SUV replacement that you take outdoors on the weekends and come back home while being cocooned in luxury.
The Toyota Hilux
Compared to the Ford, the Toyota Hilux will feel like a village idiot. The Hilux got a new top end version called the Conquest which got a lot of cosmetic upgrades and standard equipment like the smart keyless entry and a touchscreen entertainment system with all the usual connectivity options. But even here, the cabin space is shorter than the Ford. It is also made with a more with a focus on utility than comfort. It misses out on a lot of safety equipment that comes as standard on the Ford. Even the reverse camera is a Php 15000 option.
The biggest engine you can get is the 2.8-liter CRDi turbodiesel that churns out 174hp and 450Nm using a six-speed automatic transmission or a 5 speed manual. Four-wheel drive is present but there is only one lockable differential in the rear. It has class leading ground clearance at 279mm but its fording depth is only 700 mm.
The Toyota unlike the Ford, is best suited to highway duty. The suspension is on the stiffer side and most in its element with the loading bay filled up. Driving position affords a great view outside and the hydraulic steering is responsive and communicative. Mileage from the engine is also better at 13.8 km/L. This then is the pickup of choice for someone who uses a pickup every day at work and not just on weekends.
A prospective Toyota owner will tell you that all of Ford’s myriad options are only extra things to break down. Things like reversing camera, in a word unnecessary. What they want from a pickup is reliability, practicality, and if it comes to that, easy service and parts availability. Ford has still got a lot of catching up to do in this department. However, there is now a growing crowd of people that want something like the Ford Ranger for the weekends. For the adventurers and weekend warriors, the Ford should be the obvious choice.