Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4 review

King of bakkies

King of bakkies

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4

The king of bakkies.

It’s a hell of a thing to say, but I really do think the Ranger 3.2 automatic 4×4 double cab is the king in South Africa.

Nothing matches it.

The Nissan Navarra and VW Amarok are not very far behind, but they just don’t quite make the grade.

Ranger 3.2 4x4 auto DC

Ranger 3.2 4×4 auto DC

The Toyota Land Cruiser probably has more rock climbing ability and desert crossing grunt, but it is a truck, like a Land Rover Defender. As a plain lekka bakkie, Ranger 3.2 is king. Simply put, the competition lags behind. No wonder the HiLux has been trumped in the sales charts for the first time in literally decades.

The only negative  I can think of is the size or bulk. On the open road you do not feel the size. It is only when parking, in town or in an average garage. This Ranger is long and wide. It is 5.27m long and 2.16m wide. Your garage door has to be 1.9m high or you won’t get in.

Ford-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-005_ass

In spite of the bulk, fuel consumption is around 11 litres/100km provided you aren’t speeding or driving through sand. Then all bets are off.

The electronic stability control system is the best practical system on any bakkie and possibly 4×4 and includes roll over mitigation, adaptive load control as well as hill launch and descent control. It allows one more confidence and gives a better ride on tar and on gravel than any of its competition.

Easy to driveFord-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-041

The Ranger is fun to drive in any conditions and on any surface. Easy too.  It is the first bakkie to get a EuroCAP five star safety rating.

My wife drove the Ranger up the Boesmanskloof pass near McGregor in the rain, and down again without breaking into a sweat. Nuff said.

This bakkie handles well, accelerates well and stops…  quickly.

Off-road the Ranger is as good as any other double cab and better than most, most of the time. You can’t really go wrong with it.

There are a number of little (clever) details in the Ranger that give it just that little extra boost, for example the external tie hooks for the load area, the smaller front doors to allow bigger doors at the back, and so on. Small touches that all add up. Clever design.

What’s not to like in this bakie? Not much.

I think the automatic version is even better than the manual and recommend it.

Price as tested R497 200. The 3.2 double cab range starts at R340 000 and tops out at R541 900.

In this size of bakkie also look at the (new) Isuzu KB, Nissan Navarra, Mazda BT, GWM Steed 6 and VW Amarok.

The Ranger comes with a four year or 120 000km warranty and 5 year or 90 000km service plan.

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VW up! is here

The new up! from Volkswagen is a front-engined and front-wheel drive three door mini car positioned below the Vivo.

At 3,540 mm in length and 1,641 in width, the up! is one of the smallest four-seater cars on the market.

From its small 999 cc capacity, the up! engine develops peak power of 55 kW at 6 200 rpm, and maximum torque of 95 Nm  from 3 000 to 4 300 rpm.

Volkswagen-up-Side-Angle

This engine returns a combined fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100km while emitting 108 g/km of carbon dioxide.

The aluminium five-speed gearbox in the up! was specially tuned for the its three-cylinder petrol engine.

up_interior_004Take up!

This derivative has the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with Hydraulic Brake Assist
  • driver and front passenger airbags, plus front side head/thorax airbags
  • two rear three-point seatbelts and height-adjustable head restraints
  • warning buzzer for front and rear seats if belt unfastened
  • ISOFIX fixtures and top-tether fittings for mounting suitable child seats in the rear
  • height adjustable steering wheel
  • manually adjustable door mirrors
  • manual air conditioner
  • daytime running lights
  • rear windscreen wiper
  • two rear seats with one-piece folding backrest
  • 14-inch steel wheels with 165/70 R14 tyres

Two trim levels

Move up!

In addition to the features on the Take up! model, the Move up! gains the following:

  • body-coloured door mirrors and handles
  • inside door handles in chrome
  • driver and passenger seat height adjustment
  • easy entry sliding seats for easy access to rear seats
  • front electric windows
  • electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • remote central locking
  • Radio/CD with MP3 and two loudspeakers
  • split folding rear seat backrest (60:40)

Volkswagen up! is available in six colours, namely Candy White, Mayan Blue, Sunflower Yellow, Tornado Red, Light Silver Metallic and Deep Black Pearlescent.

Retail Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)

1.0 MPI Take up! (55kW)                                                            R133 500

1.0 MPI Move up! (55kW)                                                           R140 500

Warranty and Service

Volkswagen up! comes standard with a 3 year/ 120 000 km manufacturer warranty, a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000 km service intervals.

GWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2 review

Steed-5-E-00_thumbGWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2

GWM have introduced a new, bigger leisure double cab bakkie as flagship, the Steed 6. A full road test will follow in due course.

The Steed 5 remains in the line-up as a workhorse single cab bakkie, but getting a new 2.0 turbodiesel engine.

GWM have upgraded the smaller (normal) Steed 5 double cab to the Steed 5 E, which now comes in two models, the basic SX and the Xscape which adds leather upholstery, a touch-screen media system with Bluetooth, rear diff-lock, side steps, roll bar and tyre pressure monitoring.

Steed 5 E

Steed 5 E

The biggest difference in the new Steed 5 E is the nose. It looks really good. The Steed 5E Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX is now a good looking, well equipped bakkie, and comes with climate control, radio/CD with USB support, dual front airbags and ABS/EBD as standard.

Steed-5-E-025Changes include a new aerial built into the windscreen (very effective) , quieter and more effective windscreen wipers, integrated side indicators, extra sound-insulation around the cabin and revised rear seat cushions.

These bakkies appear to be well put together. No dust, no squeaks or rattles and everything opens and closes properly. The cabin feels well appointed and quiet in a bakkie context.

A strange omission is no clock and I missed a simple trip data display with fuel consumption and the like.

Steed-5-E-039The ride when empty is a little skittish but very similar to the previous Isuzu KB.  Steering is very direct and light but not unpleasantly so. The gearbox, clutch set-up is very good and smooth, a real pleasure and easy to use.

They claim a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres/100km. I got around 9. So its on a par with the best.

If you want a smaller double cab, you must test drive the 5 E. Also look at the Nissan NP300, Mitsubishi Triton and outgoing Toyota HiLux.

Pricing of the Steed 5E range (excluding service plan) is as follows:

Steed 5E 2,4-litre SX                             R229 900
Steed 5E 2,4-litre Xscape                      R244 900
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT SX             R259 900 (as tested)
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT Xscape             R274 900

The cost of the service plan needs to be confirmed with your dealer. A 4×4 version of the Xscape will be available soon.

Warranties are really good. Manufacturer’s warranty is for 5 years or 100 000 km, while the corrosion guarantee is 10 years and unlimited km.

As tested R259 900. The 4×4 is R289 900.

The bigger Steed 6 Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX costs R294 900.

Steed-5-E-034

 

 

Isuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2 review

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-036_thumbIsuzu KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2

The new Isuzu KB continues where the old tried and tested model took us. Reliable, solid, dependable. It still has good road holding and it still sounds and smells  like a truck. The way a KB should. You just gotta love that old diesel mill.

It is bigger and it is way more frugal than the model it replaces.

Isuzu claim  a combined cycle of 7.7 l/100km. I think you should work on just under 9 normally but around 7 l/100km on highway unladen. Still pretty impressive.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-065_doorThe cabin of this KB is much more spacious than the old one. Storage is a doddle with all the usual nooks and crannies, compartments on the floor under the seats, sunglass holder in the roof and clever drinks holders which slide out of the dash.

The leather multi-function steering wheel in the LX models is a pleasure to use. The integrated sound system is comprehensive and sounds good.

Leg room at the back is much improved as is ease of entry and exit. In short, the cabin is much bigger. It is also more comfortable and luxurious but not as smart as the Ranger.

The front is dominated by the powerful halogen projector headlights, but I have to say the chrome grille is a bit much.  The KB looks like a bakkie should, if that makes sense. It is more rounded than its predecessor and, one could say, stylish.

Isuzu KB 3.0 DC

Isuzu KB 3.0 DC

Ride quality has been improved and now almost matches the Mitsubishi Triton in my mind. It is very good both on tar and gravel. The new KB continues the tradition of excellent gravel travel built by earlier models. In town steering is a little heavy and feels cumbersome.

The engine torque and power is good but not as good as the opposition. It will serve you fine in most circumstances. It has been updated with a new intercooler and several other improvements and is around 15% up on the old model. You don’t really feel it on the road though.

Safety equipment include six airbags, ABS with EBD and BAS, and Isofix anchorage points, but not stability control.

It does not have standard rubberized load-bed or tonneau cover hooks.

If you do a lot of driving on gravel roads you will love this Isuzu.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-066_dashThe KB 300 D-TEQ LX AUTO 4×2 as tested is priced at R440 100. Isuzu prices a are a little steepish for what you get.

The range starts at R383 900 for the  KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4×2. The range topping KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4×4 is R483 500.

In this size of bakkie also look at the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navarra, Mazda BT, GWM Steed 6 and VW Amarok.

The Steed 6 Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX costs R294 900.

If you are more interested in the traditional one ton bakkie size check out the Toyota HiLux, GWM Steed 5, Nissan NP300 (Hardbody) or the very capable Mitsubishi Triton.

The warranty covers 5  years or 120 000 km. The service plan is for 5 Years or 90 000 km.

Isuzu-kb-3.0-dc-023