27 Apr 2022 Ranger Wildtrak vs 2022 Hilux SR5
It’s a common question our clients ask when they’re in the market for a new ute, Ranger or Hilux? Both are sought after vehicles, top of their segment, and workhorses of the industry. The Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux have been battling it out for best-selling 4×4 honours for years, and while the Hilux Ute has been Australia’s best selling car overall on a number of occasions to date, the Ranger is chasing that title as well.
Australia’s love affair with Utes has surged this past decade and competition is fierce. There are many cheaper options – the Mitsubishi Triton and GWM Ute included, but in this article we want to put the 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrak up against the 2022 Toyota Hilux SR5. We put the Ranger and Hilux head-to-head on exterior, interior, and driveability. Let’s get into it!
The Ford Ranger has an appealing look, inspired by the F-series full size trucks. It’s squared off hood, c-shaped headlights, and muscular wheel arches give it great road presence for a mid sized Ute. Add to that the wider track than previous series, which gives it a stronger look front on. The back and side design is very similar to the previous model, however, the stamped tailgate has crisper lines and a new handle, while the tub is bigger and can now fit a pallet between the arches like the outgoing Amarok. It is worth mentioning the addition of Matrix LED headlights giving a better illumination during dark and wet driving conditions.
In true SR5 form, the Hilux is a tough-looking rig with two-tone 18-inch alloys, a chrome grille, sharp-looking LED headlights, stainless steel sports bar and side steps included as standard. The styling upgrade the Hilux received in 2020 has helped the newer models, but we don’t see many major differences in this model.
The Ranger boasts an impressive cabin, with several ground-breaking features. A fully digital gauge cluster showing a range of instruments, which is common in up-market SUV’s but a rare feature in utes. The screen in the new Ranger is HUGE! 12″ of touchscreen goodness to be exact, located in the centre stack, running the Sync 4 operating system with informal voice command function. There are more open and lidded storage bins, retractable dash-mounted cupholders, chunky ventilation dials, a rotary dial for 4WD modes, plus a small stubby shifter and electric park brake. These features combine to give the Ranger a minimalist, tech-focussed, and upmarket feel.
In the Hilux you sit commandingly high, seats are superbly comfortable and the dashboard layout is clean and simple to operate. There’s ample storage and everything feels robust.The 8.0-inch infotainment screen, which is responsive and runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is well-positioned for easy operation. A digital speedo and dual-zone climate control – absent on previous Hilux SR5s – are now standard and you score navigation, digital radio, carpet on the floor (rather than vinyl), an air-conditioned cooler box up front and a 220V power outlet. The Hilux has some family-friendly elements such as rear air vents, two Isofix points and two top-tether child-seat anchors.
Behind the wheel
The outgoing Ranger remains one of the best-riding commercial vehicles over rough Aussie terrain, thanks to local engineering work. The new Ranger has huge wheel tracks – 50mm wider than the previous model. The vehicle sits on an updated version of the existing T6 platform. The core setup is expected to remain, meaning most Rangers bar the new Raptor will retain leaf rear springs.
Beneath the new bodywork is an upgraded ‘T6’ chassis riding on a wheelbase that’s 50mm longer than the previous Ranger. This was achieved after engineers moved the front wheels slightly forward allowing a better approach angle. The new Ranger has 3.5 tonne towing capability.
The latest round of updates saw Toyota promise: “the ride comfort of the rear suspension has been noticeably improved when driving without a load.” Reports suggest, yes, there are improvements. Hiluxes have suffered terribly from a pogo-ing rear end that struggled to settle over road bumps. But the latest round of updates see a decent improvement when driving with zero-load. But, when the tub is fully loaded the handling is transformed. The rear obviously feels more planted, boosting not only comfort but also the sense of safety and security in corners.
The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine is reasonably smooth and quiet. When cruising it’s whisper quiet – knock it into sixth gear at 110km/h and you’d barely know it was on. The cabin is decently insulated too, while braking performance is above average for such a heavy lump of a vehicle. There’s ample low-down performance from the 2.8 diesel.
Unlike the Ranger, the Hilux cannot fit a pallet between wheel arches in the tub. The Hilux has 3.5 tonne towing capability.
All in all, the Ranger seems to have taken the biggest leaps in their latest Ranger models, and the Hilux has some marked improvements but not as many ground-breaking new features. Finestream does not recommend one over the other, but we wanted to provide helpful information on one of the big questions consumers are asking, Ranger or Hilux?
The 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrak will hit Australian dealerships from the middle of 2022, and the 2022 Toyota Hilux SR5 is currently available.
What will you choose, Ranger or Hilux?