Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: Ford Ranger V6 Wildtrak breezes past Hilux and Isuzu

Toyota Hilux GR-S and Isuzu D-Max V-Cross no match for Ford's fastest oil-burning Ranger.

Since the new Ford Ranger was rolled out, The Citizen Motoring’s Road Test Editor Mark Jones has been a busy man.

Watch the Ford Ranger V6 Wildtrak

In the past two months, he has spent more time in a Ford Ranger on the straight track at Gerotek Testing Facilities than he did piloting The Citizen’s Toyota GR 86 around Mzansi’s race tracks in the GR Cup.

Mark started with the Ford Ranger 2.0-litre single turbo, which produces 125 kW of power and 405 Nm of torque. He then moved on to the 154kW/500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel and 292 kW/583 Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol Ford Ranger Raptor.

Mark finally completed the set this week with the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel which makes 184kW/600 Nm. It is only offered in double cab Wildtrak four-wheel drive guise. And it clocked the numbers expected from the model positioned between the biturbo and Raptor.

When you add the various engine performances into the mix of trim levels and body shapes on offer, it proves that the term “there’s a Ford Ranger for everyone” is not just a marketing catch phrase.

Unique space

Much like the Raptor, the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel also finds itself in a bit of a unique space in the current market. Unlike the Raptor it might have a “rival” in the V6 VW Amarok, but the two are built on the same line in Silverton.

The closest bakkie you can compare to this Ford Ranger to in terms of performance apart from its VW production sibling – which is safe to guess would be virtually identical – is the outgoing 190 kW Amarok which existed before Ford had a V6 oil-burner.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak
Our test car was fitted with 18-inch alloys clad in all-terrain rubber. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

We know from Mark’s recent tests that the new Ford Ranger Raptor blew everything out of the water by clocking 6.90 seconds in going from 0 to 100 km/h to become the fastest production bakkie yet in South Africa. But the previous record of 8.14 seconds it broke was held by none other than previous generation 190 kW Amarok.

The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel Ford Ranger fell short of this record in clocking 9.29 seconds during Mark’s test, which was not all that surprising.

The old Amarok’s mill was quite a machine. And at 2 406 kg this Ranger is all of 494 kg heavier than the previous Amarok. It is not only bigger, but packed with a lot more systems than the VW bakkie was.

Merc no match

The second closest thing we can compare this Ford Ranger V6 to is the Mercedes-Benz X350d. This ill-fated X-Class was also powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel mill that produced 190 kW and 550 Nm.

At 2 227 kg it weighed 179 kg less than the Ford Ranger, but could only record a sprint run of 9.43 seconds.

Quite surprisingly, the Ford Ranger 3.0-litre V6 oil-burner beat its Everest Platinum sibling hands down.

Even thought both are armed with the same powertrain mated to 10-speed automatic transmission, the Everest’s sprint time of 10.07 seconds is 0.78 slower than the Ranger’s.

While it won’t be comparing apples with apples, this Ford Ranger comfortably beats the fastest offerings in the Blue Oval’s rival stables, albeit four-cylinder offerings.

Ford ranger WIldtrak
Wildtrak treatment sees the application of yellow contrast stitching in the cabin. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Hilux and Isuzu killer

The fastest production Toyota Hilux on our time sheets is the GR-S. This 165 kW bakkie, which produces 15 kW more than the standard 2.8 GD-6, clocked a time of 10.31 seconds.

The Isuzu D-Max 2.5TD V-Cross briefly topped the time sheets for four-pot oil-burners before the Toyota Hilux GR-S.

The 140 kW/450 Nm Isuzu ran a surprising 0 to 100 km/h time of 10.59 seconds. The D-Max in the process beat the previous benchmark of 12.19, held by the Nissan Navara 2.5 DDTi Pro-2X.

Some critics like to question why we bother putting bakkies through high-performance testing in the first place. It’s quite simply really.

South Africa is bakkie country. Bakkies are constantly getting faster. And bragging rights among bakkie owners are as rife as it is between drivers of performance coupes or hot hatches.

Ford Ranger for everyone

With its current structure, Ford double cab buyers are spoiled for choice. Single turbo derivates are predominantly reserved for more fuel-efficient work-orientated offerings.

Bi-turbo derivatives get you into the performance bracket of the top dogs in the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max stables.

Should it be bragging rights you are after, the Ford Ranger 3.0-litre V6 Wildtrak will do just fine. Unless you have an extra R153 200 lying around and deep pockets to foot a Raptor’s fuel bill.