Ford Ranger

SA’s biggest sellers fight it out


Moving on to double-cab bakkies, round seven of our Auto Bakkie Race Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards shootouts takes South Africa’s favourite motoring niche. Bakkies may count for a third of the market, but that wedge of share includes Hilux and Ranger – the regular sales champions every month, every year, so there are even more of them that change hands on the aftermarket every month too.

Even bigger used bakkie market
This round of Gumtree’s Pre Owned Awards showcases the best used double-cab bakkies every year and with three previously-owned pick-ups selling for every new bakkie sold in South Africa these days, that’s quite pertinent. Also, while many Car of the Years choose their best new cars and bakkies, only the Gumtree Awards seeks to determine the best used pickup trucks out there in this case and this report singles out the five bakkis that best retain their value before the best is announced next week.

So, based on Unitrans pre-owned car sales data, but in alphabetical order, the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Isuzu KB300, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux Raider and Volkswagen Amarok  are already all winners in their own right because they best maintain their value among all used double cabs on the SA market. But which is our favourite, and how close – or how far we will be versus the full Jury decision come next Thursday evening?

It seems like yesterday when tested these five bakkies new, so before we consider how they shape up against each other as pre-owned bargains today, let’s consider what we said about them new back then…

Ford Ranger Wildtrak – Carlike Brute
Boasting cabin that ranks among the most striking of bakkies in a fine combination leather and hounds-tooth and packing Ford’s latest Sync infotainment tech, the Wildtrak also sets itself apart by that muscular 3.2-litre five-pot turbodiesel and slick six-speed auto box.

Making 147kW and 470Nm with a pleasant soundtrack, it performs well and is economical enough, but Wildtrak is a bakkie winner with carlike comfort and feel, latest tech and good looks. More than that, it’s built for tough off-road work too.

Isuzu KB300 – Real Bakkie
Set apart by aerodynamic and slick double cab styling Isuzu KB300 D-Teq DC LX certainly still looks the part. KB is quiet and economical thanks to its refined and efficient, if slightly noisy 3-litre turbodiesel and its while its autobox is good, it lacks a cog versus most rivals.

KB is a bakkie more than a car, which is a welcome trait in an often too soft DC niche, but it’s well stacked too with convenient touch screen infotainment, while new seats bring better room inside. Tough, rugged and car-like enough, KB has to be the practical choice.

Nissan Navara 2.3D – Downsize Delight 
Nissan’s downsized Navara 2.3D delivers top performance that comes close to the current bakkie benchmark with power, acceleration coexisting well with impressive fuel efficiency thanks to an advanced twin-turbo diesel set-up and a broad torque curve.

Navara feels refined on the road, if a little jarry on rutted or less than ideal surfaces, perhaps due to its coil spring rear setup instead of leaf springs. A middle of the road load capacity and best-in-class 3500kg braked towing capacity further add to this pleasant downsized bakkie wake-up call.

Toyota Hilux DC 2.8 GD-6 – Double Cab King
The double cab everyone has been waiting for, Hilux foes not disappoint.  This latest DC 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider lives up to all expectations and more, and like its manual counterpart it’s now more refined, more powerful, torquey and better kitted out too.

Still as tough, durable and robust as its legendary predecessors and this new six-speed auto is smooth too, swapping cogs virtually seamlessly, with ratios well-chosen for normal and 4x4 conditions. It’s the king of local double-cabs – and its sales will reflect this.

Volkswagen Amarok 132kW – The Volkswagen Phenomenon
The new 132kW Volkswagen Amarok 4Motion Highline with 8-speed automatic swaps cogs almost imperceptibly. Interestingly, first acts as a low range, while eighth doubles up as a fuel-saving overdrive that uses those 420Nm for easy driving in any situation.

Roadholding is good and carlike, while this bakkie totally epitomises the downsizing phenomenon that’s changing the face of the bakkie market right now. It may just be a two-litre, but Amarok is among the top performing pickups on the market.

So how do they shape up?
Being bakkies let’s look at practicality first. There, Ranger steps right ahead with a hundred kilos of loadability advantage – make that three hundred over the Hilux and Amarok. All five pull best in class – or at least close to a best in class heavy trailer, so this advantage comes down to the load in the bak.

Practicality spreads to running costs and there, the Hilux stars with the Amarok in close attendance, while the Ford and Nissan hit the pocket hardest. But the Ranger has by far the best service plan and the Nissan the worst, so the Ford owner actually scores in spite of the cost of those spareds, this side of six years from new. On warranty the Isuzu is the star and perhaps surprisingly, the Hilux leaves the used buyer with the shortest cover.

Looking at bakkie performance, the dirty old big bore trio are run close, or beaten by the downsized Nissan and VW, which also being economy advantages. Soon all bakkies will have little engines, perish the thought all of you who so slagged the Amarok off when it first pioneered top end 2-litre bakkies. 

And then we get to resale and value retention. If you’re a buyer, the Nissan will be your star – at a poor 76% value retention and the only one under R350K for a shiny two year old Navara, it’s the bargain pick of this lot.  The Hilux owner will be most pleased though, unsurprisingly the Toyota keeps its value best, while the Amarok and KB run it pretty close.

Close run
Overall, it’s a very close-run race between the our favourite in this shootout, the Ford and the Volkswagen, a short head clear of the Toyota and Isuzu. But this is just our view and how our Gumtree Pre Owned Juror peers score this lot overall, the official winner may very well be different…

So watch for the final result when Gumtree’s best Pre Owned Double Cab Bakkie is announced on in a week or so. In the meantime, come back every day or two to keep following our coverage on each category and use the links below to navigate between them. – Michele Lupini

Gumtree is offering South African motorists the opportunity to win a car by simply placing their vote for the People’s Choice Award. To vote simply go to click here and follow the prompts.

Gumtree Pre Owned Awards Program & Links
Budget City Cars 
Light Hatchbacks
Medium Hatchbacks
Medium Saloons
Medium Luxury Saloons
Performance Cars
Double Cab Bakkies
Crossover Vehicles
Entry SUVs
Medium SUVs
Large SUVs
Luxury SUVs
All The Winners

Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Road Test Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested ever achieve less than 75% in our previous scoring system and hardly any more than 95%. The new ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 basis, where 1 represents a traditional score of  75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.

Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results due to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.