But then, I got in and drove the brute and there wasn’t much to complain about; in fact there wasn’t much at all. The vehicle is so basic that you get a steering wheel, electric windows, a radio, AUX port and aircon. It’s back-to-basics bakkie-ing and there’s something charming about it, especially when you consider that this is a more utilitarian product than the lifestyle Rangers in the model line-up.
It is certainly kitted out in other areas though. There’s a locking rear differential, the aforementioned second battery, moulded black bumpers, an expanded wiring harness and auxiliary switch bezel, as well as 17-inch steel wheels and tyres that look like they could do damage to a pothole or two.
There are also running boards and a tow bar. And, on my unit, the badass optional steel bulbar, which could double as something we’d see running over zombies in The Walking Dead. The vehicle’s frame is also stronger for an increased towing capacity of 3 500kg. It has aluminium side-steps and a lockable fuel filler cap to highlight the purpose of the vehicle.
→ Heart of the beast
The engine in the test unit double cab 2.2 TDCi was the hi-power unit with 110kW/375Nm on tap. The vehicle also comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and as with the other Ranger models, it’s a pleasure to pilot around.
I was averaging around 9.5 litres/100km versus the claimed 8.2 litres/100km. However, I was using this to commute to the office in the city. This vehicle is more a workhorse for use in mining and farming applications as we can see from the list of features.
→ Locally capable
It’s certainly capable off-road - this being the 4x4 model with both a four “high” and “low” setting for negotiating different terrain. The XL Plus is built at the Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, making parts availability good and replacement costs lower in a business scenario.
→ Meeting requirements
It still has a few safety items to help it comply with international mining safety standards, such as dual air bags up front, side impact, curtain, and driver-side knee airbags and ABS brakes.
It would appear that Ford has made something unique - and affordable. The Amarok might be comparable in terms of engine and towing capacity however, there is no double-cab Amarok workhorse while the 2.5-litre D-4D motor in the Hilux 4x4 SRX simply cannot tow or perform near the same way as the Ford’s can.
→ Peace of mind
This model comes with a four-year/120 000km warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan. It retails for R391 900.