Driven - May 2017

Bakkie Dual: Ford Ranger 2.2 vs ISUZU KB 300

Ford Ranger 2.2 vs ISUZU KB 300 – Which is the best bakkie?

Choosing the right bakkie is something that was a simple task a decade ago. Do you want the Hilux, the KB or the Navara? Now however there are many players, all with great products. It’s really become a preference related choice, no longer a “better than” thing since most modern pick-up trucks can do similar things for the average consumer.  The two bakkies we want to focus on in this article are the updated Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab DTEQ LX 4×4 Auto and the ever so popular updated Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi Double Cab XLS 6AT 4×4.

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What makes them tick?

The Ford is powered by a 2.2 litre turbocharged diesel that produces 118kW/385N.m. The KB on the other hand has a 3.0 litre turbocharged diesel that makes 130kW/380N.m. So despite more displacement, the Isuzu is down on torque, but by a mere 5N.m. Both vehicles have great power delivery and usable torque throughout the rev range, but the Ford is definitely the smoother of the two. Since both cars are 4×4’s, they offer the choice to drive in 4×2 mode, as well as diff lock and low range mode too.

If weekends away in the bush are your thing, both these trucks will do a sterling job at getting you to your destination safely with ease. Both can also tow up to 3500kg so your Venter trailer won’t be a problem, nor will a horse box for that matter. Being double cabs, you do have the least amount of space compared to a single or super/extended cab. The space you sacrifice however is made up by the fact that your family can accompany you on an excursion.

Bakkie Lifestyle.  

Gone are the days when the ol’ bakkie was just a car for work. The car now needs to work during the week and play in the weekend. As a result, comfort it crucial. This is where you start seeing differences between the two trucks we had on test. The KB is a natural born hard worker. Known for decades of its ability to run businesses, it has come a long way to evolve as a car that can comfortably accommodate the family. This is especially the case when you drive the facelift version. Leather seats, a touch screen infotainment system and a great sound system make the car very liveable. The only time you start noticing anything in terms of comfort is when you drive the Ford Ranger. You would swear that Ford had a spy at Volkswagen, taking tips on how to make a bakkie feel like a car. The Ranger is definitely the most comfortable between itself and the ISUZU. Noise levels from the engine are also considerably lower compared to the ISUZU, as you can hear that engine working hard in the KB. If comfort is what you’re after, the Ranger is the best choice despite it having cloth seats. The Ford is also equipped with the SYNC infotainment system which gives you access to features like Bluetooth and USB capabilities.

Who’s the fairest of them all?

Contrary to popular belief, we feel the Ford Ranger is a tricky car to judge its beauty. Without fancy wheels and roll bars, it looks quite plain. The updated KB has a prettier face and actually looks better than the Ranger. However when a Ford Ranger is equipped with the right bits on the outside, (no we’re not referring to the infamous Raptor kit), it looks very good as well.

Overall, both vehicles had their pro’s and con’s. The KB is the rougher bakkie between the two but looks the best. The Ranger is the nice bakkie to drive everyday and feels less cumbersome, yet less visually appealing in standard spec. The KB comes in more expensive at a price of R563 500, whereas the Ranger retails at R529 900. The Ford Ranger also has a 5 year 100 000km service plan whilst the ISUZU KB has a 5 year 90 000km one. If we had to choose, we’d opt for the Ford Ranger and use the extra money to make it look more rugged. Either way, both bakkies are great choices, they all offer great off-road and on-road attributes while giving you every day driveability and practicality.