Here we compare the new Hilux SR5 and the Ranger XLT double cabs in 4×4 auto guise.
The 3.2-litre five-cylinder gained a new engine map, engineers honed the combustion process and improvements were made to the exhaust gas recirculation system to trim consumption (XLT 4×4 rated at 9.0L/100km on average) but emissions remain at Euro4 levels, and the sooty diesel smell on start-up reminds you of that every time.
Fresh hydraulic driveline mounts sooth some of the engine vibes while a suspension retune helps smooth the ride and Ranger is the first ute to adopt electric power steering. Common to both are 17-inch alloys, cruise control (with a limiting function in Ranger), side steps, auto air (dual zone in Ranger), Isofix and tether anchors in the back for kid’s seats, reversing camera (and rear sensors on Ranger), privacy glass, sat nav (Hilux with traffic updates) and a 220V power outlet.
It’s fairly easy to get the front wheels stressing under a cornering load in the Hilux, but the Ranger needs a more determined effort to test its limits in bends. The Hilux’s four is rather refined for a truck engine, and is generally quieter than the Ranger’s five-potter when cruising and at idle. The Hilux’s steering is hardly heavy, but it requires more effort than the Ranger’s. The Hilux tailgate gets new steel straps which won’t stretch over time, while Ranger has six tie-down points, two more than Hilux, a 12v power supply and a light which illuminates the cargo area at night.
And so which wins?
The Ranger is where our money would go. It’s better in nearly every facet, bar fuel consumption and emissions where it’s close.