It’s no wonder the sales of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are so close – the payload and performance specifications are practically identical.
Prices are approximate on a spec-by-spec basis, such as fuel economy and power output. It makes choices difficult and leaves shoppers reliant on old-fashioned brand loyalty, better deals from dealers or personal preference.
If you’re in the market for a ute, it could come down to what you want in terms of comfort and convenience and how you recognize value.
Read more about HiLux and Ranger
But there are subtle differences beyond the shape of the grille and the name badge.
Ford is downgrading its 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbo-diesel in favor of the bi-turbo 2.0-liter four. The two have been selling side by side for a number of years, but now that the V6 is on its way, it’s time for the five pots to be set aside in favor of a newer series of machines that cater to many more to come. emission rules.
Toyota continued with the 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel, a relative of the previous 3.0-liter oil. It’s a decent unit and Toyota says a spate of problems with the stubborn catalytic converter are behind it.
Ford is technically more advanced – two turbochargers and a 10-speed automatic win over barbecue chats with friends anytime – but does the profile of buyers in this category require sophistication?
Both have tow ratings of 3500kg but Ford’s Wildtrak wins the payload war at 954kg (as listed by the factory) compared to the HiLux SR5 at 797kg.
Press the power button and Ford lists 157kW/500Nm while Toyota says the HiLux puts out 150kW/500Nm. Close enough, but peak power comes earlier for Toyota, while maximum torque is available more quickly for Ford.
The basic suspension kit is similar and in stark contrast to Ford’s state-of-the-art (well, for a ute) drivetrain, there’s a simple lively rear axle tipped by a cast iron lump masquerading as drum brakes.
Toyota, which is also a Thai product that levies a vehicle tax based on the level of sophistication of the rear brakes and suspension, has the same drum brake specifications.
Ignore the acknowledgment of cost over efficiency and the rest of the two vehicles stack up very well, especially at the level of multimedia, comfort and especially safety.
Both Ford and Toyota have the best of autonomous emergency braking as a halo kit, along with things like roll-over mitigation, trailer sway control, lane departure warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection (daylight), parking sensors, reverse camera and six airbags. (seven on HiLux). That’s passenger car inventory.
Both also have Isofix and top-tether anchors for child seats and are equipped with automatic headlights.
Inside is a common theme with an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen and 4.2-inch multi-function instrument display (two in Ford), six speakers, digital radio, satellite navigation, voice activation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
HiLux also gets free access to three years of Toyota Connected Services which offer stolen vehicle tracking, automatic collision notifications, and SOS emergency calls.
Ford has a similar emergency assistance system that runs through its phones and Sync3 multimedia units, and can automatically call for help when noting an overturned car or airbag deployment.
So, the two are similar enough to attract the attention of buyers as wide as merchants and housewives. So much so that loyal buyers of the brand can even cross over to get the opposition.
But when it comes to ownership, are they still close?
Toyota will ask for $60,680 (plus on-road fees) for the HiLux SR5 4×4 automatic dual-cab ute, $5410 off the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 Bi-turbo for $66,090 (plus fees).
After three years of ownership, Glass’s Guide expects the Ranger to retain its value better than the HiLux with an estimated 64 percent of its purchase price available for resale, compared to 58 percent for the HiLux.
Specs are close but picky with features and there are a few extras on the Ford – bedliner with electric roller shutter, heated/folding mirrors and lift-assist tailgate for example – while Toyota has a few items that aren’t standard on the Ranger like LED headlights.
If you have a tight garage, the HiLux will be more accommodating as it is smaller – almost 100mm shorter, 42mm narrower (with mirror tucked in), albeit 17mm taller.
The Toyota is also lighter (by 136kg) at 2110kg than the Ranger and has a lower gross combined mass of 5850kg compared to the Ranger at 6000kg.
GVM is 3050kg for Toyota; 3200kg for the Ford and both share a 3500kg tow rating with a payload of 797kg and 954kg, respectively.
Toyota claims that the HiLux SR5 will average 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers while Ford says the Ranger 2.0-lite will drink at a rate of 7.4L/100km.
As we well know, these are laboratory figures but we will stick with them for this comparison.
Both run on diesel and the costs in bowser are ubiquitous today – but especially at high altitudes.
The data here is based on driving an average of 12,000 km per year and with diesel priced at $1.85 per liter.
At that annual distance, the HiLux will use 948 liters a year and the annual fuel bill will be $1,754.
The Ranger will consume 888 liters of diesel, at a cost of $1643 per year.
The difference is $111 which – spread over a year – doesn’t mean much of a difference at all. Over three years, the HiLux will cost you $5262 and the Ranger will cost you $4929.
So refueling both utes is easy at the same ballpark. Both also each have 80 liter fuel tanks.
There is a price difference between the utes – $5410 – which plays a factor in strengthening the choice between the two.
That difference in purchase price is equivalent to running the Hilux on “free” fuel for more than three years.
This is a savings that cannot be ignored, especially given current fuel costs and the expected war-driven rise in the near future.
Cost of ownership
Toyota’s limited-price service program is $260 per visit and lasts three years or 60,000 km. Sounds good but the service interval is six months or 10,000 km, so $520 a year. For three years, that’s $1560.
While at Ford, this is an annual service and pricing program that costs $1430 for three years, consisting of $360 the first year, $610 the second year and $460 the third year. This is a lifetime program and costs are listed on the Ford Australia website.
Toyota does not have a free roadside assistance program but it is available for purchase. Ford provides free roadside assistance for seven years which is renewed for 12 months after each dealer service.
The same guarantee at five years and unlimited distance. However, if the Toyota owner sticks to the service schedule, the warranty is extended to seven years.
Taking the service charge into the cost of ownership, over three years the HiLux’s operating and fuel costs were $6822. Ranger is $6359.
The difference is a relatively small $463, meaning the HiLux and Ranger’s operating costs during the year were essentially the same.
But if you consider the difference in the purchase price of $5410 and the fact that you can buy your fuel “free” for about three years, the HiLux can be considered a winner.
More pragmatically, the buying decision is about what deal you get from your local dealer, the location of the service center (especially Toyota since you’ll be there twice as often), and your preferences in vehicle brand and features.
It is not cut and dried. The decision between you choosing a HiLux or a Ranger is up to you – what you want, where you buy it, what you prefer as a vehicle that you will probably have to use for at least three years.
Whatever the difference, cost will not play a big role.