• Bakkies make for a great vehicle when you're whisking the family away for a weekend.
• The Ford Ranger Thunder underwent another road trip on a two-hour drive outside Cape Town.
• The bakkie's aesthetics still bags many nods of approval from fellow road-users.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
The Ford Ranger Thunder had a chance to stretch its legs earlier in October on an excursion to Aquila Game Reserve. We had quite the adventure thundering through the Koue Bokkeveld region en route to our destination.
A much-needed escape from the mad routine of working from home, with a toddler, saw us heading for Touwsrivier. It also meant for an extended drive in the Ranger.
While we have been incredibly lucky with a significant amount of rainfall in the Western Cape these past few months, the Thunder's outside temperature gauge was indicating 36-degrees Celsius on the day we headed for our getaway. Thank goodness for the Ranger's crisp and sufficient aircon, and plenty of cupholders in the storage compartments in the doors meant there was enough room for our iced beverages we had thrown in the freezer the previous night. I could also keep my little one's yoghurt drinks cold in the deep-centred compartment between the two front seats.
Naturally, with the aircon on full blast, fuel consumption was a steady 10.1-litres/100km, but I managed to bring it down to a best of 9.6-litres/100km, not too bad at all. Since we were on the N1, it was the ideal time to utilise that cruise control button and set it at the speed limit of 120km/h, especially with many trucks and other motorists on the road.
The Thunder also has plenty of charging points, and when you have a five-year-old asking "are we there yet?" every five mins, you can quick-charge those low-battery devices in no time to keep them pre-occupied with a little bit of screen time.
While our entire journey was on tarred roads, our destination was on gravel surfaces. You'd have expected to engage the Thunder into 4H, but even in 2H, it saw the bakkie breeze through the rocky roads around the vicinity.
We had heard a strange noise on the front suspension whenever I turned the wheel to lock, and it did leave me feeling a bit uneasy. However, it turns out the bakkie needed a lubrication top-up. Wheels24's Charlen Raymond took it to the closest Ford dealer after the trip, and it was fixed in just a few hours, at no cost.
'That's quite a lekker bakkie, lady!'
The Thunder's stylish and rugged looks still get plenty of compliments where ever we may go, and everyone wants to take a closer look. I never tire of showing off its aesthetics and explaining its still a trusty Ranger under the bonnet.
Those side steps don't only look good but are much-needed to make ingress a lot more comfortable with the bakkie's high ground clearance.
The standard adjustable luggage divider in the loadbay is another favourite in the rear. Once you've packed all your bags, and extra weekend items, secure the partition in the right position by a quick turn on either side, and you won't have any loose bags failing around in the back as you drive through the twisties as you head back towards Cape Town.
I'm also beginning to understand why more South Africans opt for a Ranger as a used vehicle because not only is it a capable workhorse, but its such a comfortable bakkie for the family.
Pricing for the Thunder ranger starts from R733 500.