Review | How the Ford Ranger Thunder steps up as a workhorse

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Ford Ranger Thunder
Ford Ranger Thunder
Sean Parker

• Sean Parker recently used the Ford Ranger Thunder for several heavy duty tasks. 

• It was introduced recently to the range during 2020. 

• The Thunder is powered by a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine with 157kW and 500Nm. 


I'm sure most South Africans have had a bakkie experience. And no, not the ice-cream bakkie that's used to store leftovers. I'm talking about some of the most popular vehicles on our roads.

Bakkie memories range from squashing into the back loading bay with your cousins on the way to the beach or sleeping in the back of a Nissan Champ because a snake was spotted at the campsite.

Bakkies encourage adventure, business, and Ubuntu. The latter phrase is Zulu and loosely means a 'person through other people'.

And so, the bakkie owner comes to service, and someone's move into a new home is made easier because of Ubuntu. Families use bakkies as daily drives, and when it comes to the Easter holiday or festive season, the double cab is loaded, and an adventure awaits.

If someone you know has a bakkie, it's not uncommon to ask them for assistance when moving home or large items that don't fit into an ordinary hatchback.

Ford Ranger Thunder
Ford Ranger Thunder

All these thoughts ran through my mind as I recalled my experience late last year with Wheels24's long term Ford Ranger Thunder. The SA-built bakkie is a popular sight on our roads. Its rivalry with the Toyota Hilux in the sales charts and among locals is almost as intense as the competition between Manchester United and Liverpool fans.

Within the first hour of driving, my elbow rested on the window as I took up the bakkie 'driving position'.

Like many, I needed a bakkie to do a job. Several, in fact. A friend needed to move his bed into a new apartment, and the Ranger was called up to the starting line-up. It was the only option, and my long-term Hyundai Venue certainly wasn't available for 'hire'. By quickly removing the tonneau cover of the loading bay, we packed everything on the back, secured it and headed towards the destination.

Ford Ranger Thunder
Ford Ranger Thunder

The 10-speed automatic and bi-turbo diesel engine made mincemeat of the journey, and I was impressed by its effortless cruising on the highway. Bakkies have come a long way since they were dirty, agricultural workhorses. This model even has adaptive cruise control, LED headlights and Apple CarPlay.

With the bed offloaded, it was mission accomplished. But the list of duties wasn't finished. Somehow word had gotten out I had the Ranger for a few days. Several requests came flooding in via WhatsApp, among them being moving an industrial freezer and dumping waste at the local recycling depot.  

The Ranger completed each task without breaking a sweat. With luck, the freezer fitted onto the loading bay with a couple of centimetres to spare. Again, the 157kW and crucially 500Nm smiled at the challenge like Cheslin Kolbe lining up a sweeping move. I duly chucked the junk into the loading bay and deposited it at the municipal dump, chop-chop.

Bakkies might come in all shapes and sizes, but it's clear they all have a purpose.

Ford Ranger Thunder
Ford Ranger Thunder

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