Hilux vs. Ranger: a closer look at which bakkie South Africans actually want

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2021 Toyota Hilux (Charlen Raymond / Wheels24)
2021 Toyota Hilux (Charlen Raymond / Wheels24)
Charlen Raymond

   • The Hilux and Ranger are two of SA's most popular bakkies.
   • South Africans are after different model variations of these two legendary nameplates.
   • Motivation to buying either of these two bakkies are very different.
   • For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

The Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger are two of the most searched for bakkies in South Africa. They're often neck-on-neck in the sales statistic stakes too – and each bakkie has its own unique fanbase. But, when one examines the search statistics more closely, South Africans are after different model variations of these two legendary nameplates.

This has been gleaned from an analysis of search and list data on AutoTrader during the month of September 2020. 

An analysis of this data reveals exactly which Hilux and Ranger bakkies are being searched for (this data is provided down to variant level; AutoTrader is the only motoring marketplace with the technology to do this). 

The ranking of bakkies (see below) is based on search data, and the average price, mileage and registration year is based on listed data. 

AutoTrader is the largest digital automotive marketplace in South Africa. As such, it provides unparalleled insight into car-buying patterns in the country.

Ford Ranger Raptor
2020 Ford Ranger Raptor (Warren Wilson)

According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, it is interesting to interpret the differences in search activity for the two bakkies.

"When searching for Hilux bakkies, it appears that buyers are looking for a reliable and dependable workhorse – and the Hilux fits the bill in this regard. However, people who search for the Ranger appear to be looking for a lifestyle vehicle and not just a workhorse," he points out.

This is apparent if one examines the actual models that are being searched for. Whereas people mostly specify the Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 and Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 when looking for a Hilux; when looking for a blue oval upfront, however, they specify the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Ford Ranger Raptor.


The two Hilux models boast the brand's so-called "legendary toughness", and they have 150- and 110-kW engines respectively. They are renowned for being thoroughbred workhorses through and through.

The two Rangers, on the other hand, are flagship models within Ford's bakkie range. With the Wildtrak, you get a smooth drive, class-leading approach, departure and break-over angles (making it masterful off-road) and a choice of two engines: 3.2 TDCi or 2.0-lire Bi-Turbo. The Raptor, on the other hand, is currently only available with the 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo - for many it holds the crown as Ford's top-of-the-range bakkie.


So, while – on the surface – these bakkie searches may look similar, the potential motivation to buy one appears anything but.

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