Motoring | Motoring News
Ford released the Ranger Thunder into the market and Toyota countered with their Hilux Legend RS as part of their refreshed line-up for 2020.
We have already brought you the “Off-road Battle”, and more recently the “Road Test Battle”, now it is time for the definitive “Numbers Battle”. The likes of Nissan’s Navara, Isuzu’s D-Max, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi’s Triton, and Mazda’s BT-50, to name but a few, have all tried to do battle with the Hilux and failed. It’s really only the Ranger that has been able to give the iconic Toyota a go when it comes to the sales race in South Africa.
A quick recap of what the new Ranger Thunder and Hilux Legend RS offer you in terms of spec and changes before we crunch the numbers.
Ford Ranger Thunder
Derived from the highly successful Wildtrak, the addition of the exclusive Thunder brings even greater style, luxury, capability and practicality to the range. Numerous distinctive design features are unique, starting with a revised honeycomb-style front grille incorporating red accents on the side.
This is complemented by black detailing for the side mirror housings, and bold three-dimensional “Thunder” nomenclature at the base of the front doors and on the rear tailgate. The new 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels are finished in black, and the integrated sportsbar gets a red insert for extra flair.
Inside you get black leather with red contrast stitching in place of the orange as used on the Wildtrak, and the front seats feature “Thunder” decals embroidered in red. Aside from the visual enhancements, the Thunder benefits from practical additions in the load compartment too, including a lockable “Mountain Top” black roller shutter to safely secure goods being carried. There’s also a cargo area management system with a bed divider that allows you to easily compartmentalise the available space for securely holding different-sized items.
As with the Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor, the Thunder is powered by the 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel engine which produces 157kW.500Nm, and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
To go with an already impressive array of safety features, the Thunder now gets Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, plus Ford’s innovative Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist, which takes the hassle out of parallel parking manoeuvres by using ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for parking spaces that are big enough to park the vehicle, and alerts you when a suitable spot is found.
The system calculates the trajectory and steers the vehicle into the slot using the Ranger’s electric power-assisted steering and sensors. All you have to do is operate the accelerator and brake, and select the appropriate gear as indicated by Park Assist.
Ford’s innovative EZ lift tailgate, is now also available on the Ranger Thunder, and makes accessing the load bin significantly easier through the incorporation of a torsion rod system that reduces the initial lift force required to raise the tailgate by 70%. LED headlamps also do duty, as well as LED front foglamps, along with LED daytime running lamps for improved visibility.
Toyota Hilux Legend RS
Fifty years in the making, Toyota has launched an updated range of Hilux derivatives onto the market, and the flagship model is the Legend RS. And this means you get a trapezoidal grille outlined in black, a unique integrated skidplate, dark-plated headlamp inserts and a centred chrome inlay, which suspends the Toyota insignia.
These are joined by matching overfenders, which seamlessly blend into the front bumper corners – forming integrated fog lamp bezels. They also feature gunmetal inserts over the arches, which contrast with the textured matte-finish of the overfenders and door-handles. A graphite rear bumper and Legend-specific tailgate garnish complete the package.
The Legend rides on new two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels with a machined surface and darkened centre caps – employing 265-60-R18 tyres. The optional ‘RS’ accessory package brings a motorised roller shutter, graphite-coloured sportsbar, rubberised bedliner, assisted tailgate with central-locking function and dust-defence kit to the party.
Inside a unique accent treatment is applied to the instrument cluster, interior trim panels, switchgear and gear lever, along with blue door illumination, and perforated leather upholstery and black roof lining. Legend models now boast an all-new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation.
The enhancements are not limited to aesthetics however, as the output of the 2.8 GD-6 engine has been boosted by 20 kW to 150 kW, with an additional 50 Nm on offer, bringing the figure to 500 Nm when equipeed with the six-speed automatic gearbox featured here.
Another area of focus has been the ride and handling – where the engineers targeted improved ride comfort without compromising off-road performance and durability. This has resulted in retuning of spring rates, shock absorbers and suspension bushes, as well as revised cabin mounts.
In addition to all the elements already mentioned, the Legend double-cab 4×4 model here additionally receives electrically adjustable front seats, a nine-speaker JBL audio system with dash-mounted speakers, keyless entry and push-button start. For the first time on Hilux, the Toyota Safety Sense safety system forms part of the standard inventory on Legend 4×4 models. TSS integrates a Pre-collision system, Lane Departure Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control – to offer you additional peace of mind.
To see the scoreboard, click here.
One thing is certain in life, and that is death and taxes. And I think we can add change into that mix too, because the last time we did this ‘Numbers Battle’ with the Ranger Raptor and the Hilux GR Sport, the Ford just pipped the Toyota at the line.
But since then, Ford has introduced the Thunder and Toyota has refreshed their entire Hilux range. And what Toyota have done is address the issues around the lack of infotainment tech, class leading driver assistance systems, a lack of real power, and most importantly, they have improved the ride quality.
It has transformed the Hilux, and as you can see from the numbers, it has stolen the title back from the Ranger by a slender three-point margin!
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