For that hard work, toughness, practicality, pick-ups are the best option and they will also not disappoint on rugged terrains. The focus this time is on the Ford Ranger and the Isuzu D-Max. While the Ford Ranger stepped up its game in 2011 regarding comfort and refinement, Isuzu D-Max would only wake up two years later to catch up.
The Ranger offers a bolder look with its front having a trapezoidal grille and muscular bonnet. Patrick Kisauzi, a Ford owner, says that it also has integrated headlamps with LED daytime running lights. However, on the front’s lower half is an integrated bumper connecting to fog lamps. Adding to the Ranger’s standpoint are stamped-in-wheel arches, big mirrors, and large headlamps.
On the other hand, the D-Max comes with bonnet trimmings and a redesigned chrome framework. Replacing the projector styles headlamps are integrated daytime running LED lights. Its headlamps have smooth flowing lines providing a seamless transition from the front to the side.
Kenneth Kamanzi, a mechanic, adds that the integrated fog lights currently feature a chrome rim and the remodelled bottom air-intake gives it a powerful look. The bonnet, though lacking any projections for both the turbocharger and intercooler merges well with its redesigned front headlamps and grille.
Size is very important here as is excessive bulk hampers efficiency, dynamic ability, manoeuvrability, and performance. Dan Bamutenda, a motorist, says that both pick-ups are at 1 815mm to 1 851mm high, and quite similar in track, width and length. However, the Ford’s wheelbase is 200 mm longer than the D-Max. The quite heavier Ford has also got a somewhat deeper and larger load box.
The Ford has a larger engine; 3.2-litre Duratorq five-cylinder TDCi diesel engine. Its torque is also higher at 470 Nm and power output of 147 kW (198 hp). In the same spirit, it consumes 8.9 litres per 100km. The D-Max comes with a 3.0-litre D-TEQ engine with a power output of 130 kW (174 hp) and 380 Nm of torque. It also has 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
Though somewhat bouncier over rough terrains, Bamutenda says that the D-MAX is still firm. However, the D-Max’s coarse clatter disrupts any efforts to eliminate noise in the interior
The Ford has low cabin levels which makes the ride quite comfortable. Although it has uneven rumbling noises, they are barely audible while idling and are well stifled at highway speeds.
Both are competent and quick in the corners. While both have quite accurate steering input and assistance, the feel is still remote and numb. The Ranger’s steering feels rather light at slow speeds thanks to the assistance rendered by its EPAS system. However, Moses Nkwame, an Isuzu owner, attests that the D-Max’s initial reaction to steering input is slow. Both have airbags, thus are safe. They also use drums at the rear and ventilated discs upfront when braking.
Kisauzi says that both use an electronic rotary dial to switch between four or two-wheel drive. That replaces the second gear lever.
Both handle extreme terrain with ease thanks to the break-over and departure angles coupled with wading depths and good ground clearance.
They also easily handle any work because of electronic driver support systems such as hill launch assist, adaptive load control, traction control and hill launch assist. However, the Isuzu does not have a downhill assist control.
But Kamanzi says that owing to limited front wheel articulation and longer wheelbase, the Ford is compromised in extreme situations. Precise modulation is also tricky because of an overly sensitive accelerator pedal.The D-Max has great wheel articulation which strengthens its off-road capability.
Nkwame says the D-Max has its controls placed in a logical and intuitive manner making it easy to reach and operate them. Its centre console and dashboard is sporty and functional. All high-end models have a keyless entry Passive entry and start system (PESS) with a start/stop ignition.
There are multiple storage compartments for secure and convenient storage of smaller items. It also has ample space and the angle of the seats backrests adds to its comfort, more so during long journeys. Its foldable rear seat allows for one to directly load things on the car’s floor. It has extra storage space in the floor area beneath the rear seats.
On the other hand, the Ford has now got a dual 4-inch TFT instrument cluster which eases driver’s access to the climate and phone control details, 4X4 data, pick-up’s information, entertainment via the multifunction steering wheel. It offers better foot and knee clearance, therefore, entry and exit of the vehicle is easier for back-seat passengers.
The Ford equally boasts of ample storage as its interior cabin has close to 20 storage spaces. It also has double cab pockets on all the doors for water bottles and cups. It glove compartment is big enough to take in a laptop while phones and other small items can be stored in the console. There is even more storage space under the back seats.
A new Ford Ranger cost between Shs163m and Shs167m while a new Isuzu D-Max costs between Shs148m and Shs152m CMC Motors Group Uganda.
The D-Max has greatly improved regarding performance although the sixth generation Isuzu has lost its thrill regarding leisure. Nonetheless, it is a great workhorse, and comes with a five year/130,000km warranty plus five years of road side assist.
On the other hand, the Ranger is great in the leisure spaces with formidable combination of good looks, excellent steering, braking, ride quality and load carrying ability. To add to that, it was Australia’s top-selling 4x4 in 2017. It also comes with a three year /100,000km warranty plus five-year warranty specifically covering any bodywork perforation caused by corrosion