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Toyota Hilux vs Ford Ranger set for epic future engine war

Toyota Hilux vs Ford Ranger set for epic future engine war

No holds barred in South Africa’s biggest bakkie battle as new models expected towards the end of 2022.

Next generation performance Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux models promises to be proper.

Over the past few years, the whole “Battle of the Bakkies” trend in South Africa has exclusively become a turbodiesel war with Volkswagen’s 190 kW V6 Amarok ruling the performance roost. But what if I were to tell you that there could be an even more powerful Toyota Hilux versus Ford Ranger, 300 kW+ petrol driven war looming soon?

Both the Hilux and Ranger are due to be replaced by all new models at the end of 2022, or early in 2023, and along with this unveiling we are going to see a few new engine derivatives being offered.

Toyota have family engines from Lexus and their new Land Cruiser 300 available to power their all-new Hilux. I have no doubt that the trusted 2.4 and 2.8-litre turbodiesels will continue, and there is already talk of the GR Hilux running the Cruiser’s 227kW/700Nm 3.3-litre twin turbodiesel V6.

But lurking around, also for the Land Cruiser 300, is the potent 3.5-litre badged 3.4-litre V6 twin turbocharged petrol engine that pumps out a full 305 kW of power and 650 Nm of torque. A silky smooth ten-speed gearbox is on offer to drive the power to all four wheels.

Ensuring superior grip, traction and stability when needed most, the all-wheel -drive system runs a Torsen limited-slip centre differential along with push button powertrain response via the Eco, Comfort, Normal, Custom, Sport S or Sport S+ modes on offer.

Our current Ford Ranger Raptor makes use of the 157kW/500 Nm, 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel engine, while the rest of the range also get offered with the tried and tested 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq mills. But let’s be blunt, the Raptor is brilliant, but it lacks a serious dose of power.

Solution. Ford sit in almost the exact same position as Toyota with their family of engines available to power the all-new Ranger. The talk is that Ford is going to use the 186 kW/597 Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel from their best-selling F-150.

Obviously, the next Volkswagen Amarok then should also get the same powerplant as they will differently badged twins going forward. But this is not going to be enough to tackle Toyota’s GR Hilux.

There has been mention made of the Ford Ranger Raptor getting the Mustang’s 5.0-litre naturally aspirated engine that churns out a very respectable 330 kW of power and 529 Nm of torque. But this is a bit of an old school engine, and it would suffer proper power loses up at altitude versus the Lexus/Land Cruiser’s turbocharged 3.4-litre offering.

This is because the Mustang engine must suck its oxygen deprived air into the engine to produce power, whereas a turbocharged powerplant gets its air forced into the engine to make even power regardless of how little oxygen is floating around.

There are a bunch of EcoBoost petrol engines being used in Ford products around the world from 1.0-litre right up to 3.5-litres that they can use. The one for me that slots perfectly into the Ranger Raptor gap is Ford’s 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost turbocharged petrol that delivers a Toyota GR Hilux rivalling 336 kW of power and 692 Nm of torque. A ten-speed box is also available to drive the power to all four wheels, just like on the Toyota.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these two rivals to test them, but I have a feeling that I will be waiting forever for this to happen, because as much as we want our bakkies with the biggest, maddest engines, reality and pure sensibility will rule the day, and this 300 kW+ petrol war will never happen. But maybe there will be some crazy electric bakkie war in my future!

By Mark Jones