The fact remains the Hilux is hard to fault. It does everything rather well – but just on a slightly lesser scale. Little wonder then that the hallowed name has been around for well over 40 years now – that kind of pedigree has to be well and truly earned.
It’s no coincidence to discover that the Hilux has been SA’s favourite bakkie for more years than the company might care to remember . . .
Wading through water wasn’t ever going to be on the agenda in the Rawsonville area, but here the Ranger would have been in its element and surely the winner because it can handle a (derivative dependent) 800mm wading depth, if one hits upon swollen rivers.
Generally, any bakkie that’s devoid of a cargo-carrying load tends to pitch and roll, but once again the Ranger remained largely composed and acceptable in this regard.
Yes the interior of the Hilux has been modernized with the addition of USB and iPod connectability and some shiny new faux-metal detailing – but why the omission of providing a really chunky steering wheel, for example? Low/high range selection is by a stubby gearlever alongside the main one. For many this is very reassuring, but oh so mechanical in action. In the Ranger, off-road selection is applied simply by the flick of a button and back again to disengage on the fly … couldn’t be easier, could it?
As mentioned earlier, an all-new vehicle really does benefit from being created from a clean sheet of paper. Perhaps one of the most gratifying and obvious improvements is to be found when entering or exiting the vehicle via the Ranger’s rear doors: these are now simply ultra-wide compared to the outgoing model. Knee and shoulder room for rear-seated adults couldn’t be better – about 75mm, in fact.