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Ford Ranger


Toyota Hiace

Summary

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak has been a runaway success for the brand. Plenty of people have bought them, modified them, taken them off-road and put them to task in the PX generation of Ranger.

Now, to see out the 2019 model range, Ford has added a new version above the standard Wildtrak. It’s the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X, and the ‘X’ stands for ‘extra’, because you get a bit more gear for a touch more money.

We’ll get to all the detail soon, and for this test we didn’t head off the beaten track - our aim here was to see how the Wildtrak X copes in daily driving, as well as how it handles hard work.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

Toyota Hiace

The Toyota HiAce has become a staple of Aussie culture. More than 335,000 of them have been sold here since 1979.

But no-one really wants to drive a HiAce, do they? It's a work van. A box on wheels, typically white, and often unwashed. And for the past 15 years the HiAce has barely changed - though that hasn't stopped it from being the go to option for tradies and couriers. It's been number one on the sales charts for pretty much that whole time.

But now there's stiff competition, and more of it - Renault, Peugeot, Ford, VW and Hyundai are all eager to get their slice of the van sales pie.

So how does this all-new HiAce stack up? And why does it now have a bonnet? Read on to find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.7L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.8L/100km
Seating2 seats

Verdict

Ford Ranger9/10

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak X is up to the task when it comes to hard work, but it’s more comfortable showing off at the worksite than actually getting the job done. We all know someone like that.

And that’s no bad thing - if you’re after a competent and impressively specified (if a little expensive) dual-cab ute, you could do a lot worse than the Wildtrak X. 

Thanks again to our mates at Crown Forklifts in Sydney for helping out with this load test.

 


Toyota Hiace8/10

There is no doubt that the new Toyota HiAce has been worth the wait. Owners and drivers of the previous-generation model won't know themselves when they sit inside the new version, the improvements are that big and that plentiful.

It has been the number one seller in the segment for a long for a reason - and now there are even more reasons for it to retain its top spot... provided a compact body isn't one of your priorities, because it's considerably bigger than before.

We can't wait to see how it compares to its rivals - we'll aim to get all of the main names together for a comparison test later this year.

Design

Ford Ranger

You might be considering the Wildtrak X purely on aesthetic appeal - and that’s understanding. It has a few new design highlights compared with the non-X model, and most of them add function as well.

It scores an array of blacked out components, such as new 18-inch wheels (still wrapped in the same Bridgestone Dueler H/T rubber), wheel-arch flares (allowing for a more aggressive wheel/tyre setup), plus there’s a black nudge bar with LED light bar, and there’s a genuine Ford snorkel, too.

Combined, it makes the Wildtrak X look like a lot of those non-X models you’ve seen, where owners have spent thousands on extras. The rest of the destine is unchanged for the 19.75 model year variant we had, but there are subtle updates coming for the 2020 model range.


Toyota Hiace8/10

Like all new models that have seen a pretty dramatic front design change, it might take a while for you to come to grips with the new look of the HiAce, which now has a 'semi-bonnet'.

The protuberance at the front not only improves cabin comfort and ease of maintenance, it also helps improve the safety standards in the new Toyota van. There's a better frontal impact zone which this time doesn't include the driver's knees.

Look, I think the previous HiAce looked a bit mean. It was unapologetic in its boxiness, and it aged really well. It isn't often a vehicle lasts a decade and a half without any major changes.

Make what you will of the front design, which has halogen headlights (no LED daytime running lights or LED headlights, which is a bummer) and the choice of either the hard-wearing black bumpers, or colour coded bumpers if you option them.

In a first for the segment, there's a digital camera monitor rearview mirror that is optionally available - it uses a camera on the back of the van with a live link to the switchable rear-vision mirror, which means that if you've got a full load of people or parcels obscuring your view, you can use the live feed from the camera instead. It's brilliant.

The good news for buyers is that there's still plenty of choice when it comes to size and spec. There's the existing 6.2-cubic-metre LWB (long wheelbase) version, or the SLWB (super long wheelbase) with 9.3 cubic metres of cargo space.

The dimensions are dramatically different, though. No longer is this the sort of van that'll slot into a tight city parking space.

In LWB guise it now measures 5265mm long, 1950mm wide and 1990mm tall (compared to 4695mm long, 1695mm wide and 1980mm tall). And the wheelbase has been stretched by a massive amount - up from 2570mm to 3210mm.

The SLWB version is huge, at 5915mm long, 1950mm wide and 2280mm tall (compared to the existing model's 5380mm length, 1880mm width and 2285mm height). Likewise, the wheelbase has jumped from 3110mm to 3860mm.

There is no hiding the size changes, and there has been an impact inside the cabin, too. See the interior photos below to get an idea.

Practicality

Ford Ranger

Like every dual-cab Ranger, the Wildtrak X is a good size inside. There’s enough space to fit three adults across the back and therefore five adults in the cabin. No rear air vents, though, which can result in a stuffy back seat on hot days.

You get cup holders up front and in the rear, and bottle holders in all four doors. You can raise the seat base for extra storage space, if there’s not enough room in the tub. 

Up front there’s a good amount of space and storage, and the media system is simple to use. And while we haven’t raised this in the past, the number of warning gongs and danger dings might annoy you. Like, I know the door is open, I just opened it. Sheesh!

Now, the tub.

It’s 1549mm long, 1560mm wide and 1139mm between the wheel-arches, which means it’s too narrow for an Aussie pallet to fit (1165mm minimum). The depth of the tub is 511mm, but not in the the Wildtrak models, because the roller cover housing at the far end of the tub just about halves that, eating into usable space.

It’s great that you get the hard top roller cover, and that there’s a tub liner, too: however, the four tie-down hooks in the corners of the tub makes it difficult to strap down a load.


Toyota Hiace9/10

Any mid-sized van has to put practicality at the forefront, with enough storage and cabin smarts to make living with it day to day not just amenable, but enjoyable if possible.

Not only that, it should be easy to get in and out of. The ingress and egress of the existing HiAce was hampered by the fact you sat on top of the engine and had to climb over the wheel arch. That's not the case this time around, and the seat height has been lowered by 50mm, with a much, much better driving position as a result.

The seat itself is comfortable for the driver, with six-way adjustment and a level of support and comfort that the previous model was nowhere close to - trust me, I drove it back-to-back, and the difference is night and day. Plus that lower hip entry point makes for a much easier entry and exit if you happen to do that a lot in your day to day use of the van.

The materials used are all of a decent quality, and Toyota has thought of storage options, too, with a number of cup and bottle holders across the dash and in the doors as well. There's no centre storage area or arm rest unless you buy the Crew van or the Commuter bus.

There are two seats up front in all models sold here, but you can get a Crew Van model with a second row seat setup consisting of three positions (with two ISOFIX child-seat anchor points and even curtain airbag protection).

As for infotainment, there's Toyota's 7.0-inch touch screen media system with FM/AM/DAB digital radio, a CD player, a single USB input, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and voice control. This screen is able to be retrofitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which will be offered from the fourth quarter of 2019. Purchasing before then? It'll be free to add those smartphone mirroring apps.

That's the front of the cabin - in the rear there's a bit to talk about, too.

All HiAce van models come with dual sliding doors, including glazing on the passenger side. Lots of rivals ask you to pay extra for a sliding door on the driver's side.

The rear door situation isn't as impressive - at launch, and for the foreseeable future, there won't be barn doors available. That could rule this vehicle out for you, especially if you typically fork loads in - the side door apertures are 990mm wide on the LWB model, but there's a 1250mm door gap on the SLWB, meaning you can side-fork a pallet in.

Here are the cargo dimensions for each of the different versions of the HiAce van - remember, the SLWB model also gets a high roof as standard:

 Cargo lengthCargo widthWidth between wheel archesCargo heightCargo volume
HiAce LWB2530mm1760mm1268mm1340mm6.2m3
HiAce LWB CrewN/A1760mm1268mm1340mmN/A
HiAce SLWB3180mm1760mm1268mm1615mm9.3m3

Payload capacity varies depending on the model. Here's a weight table - I promise it's easier than trying to read the figures.

 Kerb weightGross vehicle weightPayload
LWB petrol manual1720kg3200kg1080kg
LWB petrol auto1735kg3200kg1065kg
LWB diesel manual1835kg3300kg965kg
LWB diesel auto1845kg3300kg955kg
LWB Crew diesel auto1925kg3300kg875kg
SLWB petrol auto1905kg3200kg1295kg
SLWB diesel auto2025kg3200kg1175kg
Commuter diesel auto2215kg3250kg1035kg

All van models come with six tie-down points, while the Crew model has four tie-downs.

Price and features

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak X starts at $65,290 plus on-road costs for the 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder model we drove, while the more powerful and more refined 2.0-litre Bi-turbo four-cylinder engine is $1500 more ($66,790).

That makes it a $2000 jump over the standard Wildtrak, but according to Ford, you’re getting $6000 worth of extra value. 

The Wildtrak X’s additional styling gear builds upon the already impressive list of included equipment on the regular Wildtrak. 

Included on this grade are 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, HID headlights, an LED light bar as well as all the Wildtrak X body additions (see the Design section for more detail), an integrated tow bar and wiring harness, a tub liner, 12-volt outlet in the tub, roller hard top and the model-specific interior with part-leather trim and a dark headlining.

There’s also an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, DAB digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player. There are two USB ports, a 12-volt charger in the back seat and a 230-volt powerpoint, too. 

The front seats are heated and the driver’s seat has electric adjustment, there are digital displays in front of the driver showing navigation and driving data (including a digital speedometer, which many utes still miss out on). 


Toyota Hiace6/10

Prices are up on all models in the HiAce range, but as we've covered up above, you're getting more metal for your money.

Here's a price list to make it easier to figure out the model range, and an indication how much the model range has increased in cost this time around.

VariantPetrol manualPetrol autoDiesel manualDiesel auto
LWB$38,640 (up $4170)$40,640 (up $3110)$42,140 (up $4610)$44,140 (up $4060)
LWB Crew---$47,140 (up $5020)
SLWB-$48,640 (up $2950)-$52,140 (up $2880)
Commuter---$67,140 (up $4110)
Commuter GL---$70,140 (new)

All LWB and SLWB van models come with dual rear sliding doors (passenger side glazed), 16-inch steel wheels with a full-size spare, auto headlights (with auto high beam), as well as halogen headlights, tail-lights and daytime running lights.

The interior gear consists of a 4.2-inch multi-info display with digital speedometer and trip meter, a leather-accented steering wheel with reach and rake adjustment, fabric seat trim, sunglass holder, two 12-volt DC sockets, USB and auxiliary ports, a two-speaker stereo system and the aforementioned 7.0-inch media screen with sat nav.

The LWB Crew model adds halogen front fog lamps, body coloured front and rear bumpers with colour-coded door handles, chrome garnishes front and rear, and dual sliding rear doors with opening windows. Of course, this version also gets a second-row three-seat bench with 60:40 folding and two ISOFIX points, along with a rear step light and a centre console tray for extra front cabin storage that also includes rear seat air vents. The Crew model also gets the digital rear view mirror with auto-dimming function as standard.

The Commuter model is a 12-seat bus, a passenger-side sliding door, full-length windows, a roof escape hatch, interior lighting, a four-speaker stereo, air conditioning vents for all positions. It misses out on front side and full-length curtain airbags, though.

There's a GL version of the Commuter which gets LED daytime running lights, halogen fog lights, body coloured bumpers and door handles, chrome finishes, a power side door, increased insulation and acoustic glass, 16-inch alloy wheels, fake leather seat trim, six rear USB ports, eight reading lights, a rear air-con panel, a six-speaker stereo and the digital rear view mirror.

Customers who wish to have colour-coded bumpers can option them for $600, and the digital rear view mirror and front fog lamps can be had for $1000, or the lot can be bundled for a cost of $1600.

Of course there are dozens of accessories for the new HiAce, most of which have been designed and developed in Australia. Items like the internal ladder rack, exterior ladder rack, floor mats, aluminium interior panels, aluminium window protectors, and there's a conduit caddy for the roof rack system, too.

Colours for the new HiAce range are limited by class standards. There are three options for the work van models - French Vanilla (white), Quicksilver Mica (not for the Commuter model) and Goldrush Metallic (champagne - only for SLWB). The Commuter GL versions have Light Blue Armour and Goldrush (champagne) metallic options. For context, you can choose from more than 100 colours if you're buying a Ford Transit Custom.

So for this section the HiAce scores a 6/10, but it makes up for it when you consider the standard safety equipment - see the section below.

Engine & trans

Ford Ranger

Under the bonnet of the Wildtrak X we drove is a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 147kW of power (at 3000rpm) and 470Nm of torque (from 1750-2000rpm). It has a six-speed automatic transmission in this spec, and there is no manual option for the Wildtrak X. It has selectable four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case (2H, 4H and 4L gearing), and an electronic locking rear diff.

The other engine option for the Wildtrak X is the 2.0-litre Bi-turbo four-cylinder engine producing 157kW of power (at 3750rpm) and 500Nm of torque (1750-2000rpm). That’s class-leading levels of grunt from a four-cylinder engine. It runs a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

The Ranger Wildtrak X has a towing capacity of 750kg for an un-braked trailer, and 3500kg for a braked trailer.

The kerb weight of the Ranger Wildtrak X 3.2L is 2287kg. It has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3200kg, and a gross combination mass (GCM) of 6000kg. 


Toyota Hiace8/10

Things have changed under the bonnet for the new-generation HiAce - there's a choice of two new engines.

The most popular will be the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which is familiar from the HiLux, Fortuner and Prado. In this application it has a diesel particulate filter with a manual burn-off switch, and - for the first time for this diesel engine - there's start-stop technology that shuts the engine down in traffic to save fuel.

With the six-speed automatic transmission in the van range the diesel motor produces 130kW of power (3400rpm) and 450Nm of torque (1600-2400rpm). With the six-speed manual the power is still 130kW, but torque is lower, at 420Nm (1400-2600rpm).

The Commuter version of the HiAce has a detuned diesel-auto drivetrain, with 120kW (at 3600rpm) and 420Nm (1600-2200rpm).

The other powertrain is the horsepower hero - a 3.5-litre petrol direct-injection V6 with the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. It offers up 207kW of power at 6000rpm and 351Nm of torque at 4600rpm.

For context, that puts the petrol engine at an advantage of 75 per cent for power and 44 per cent for torque compared to the existing 2.7-litre four-cylinder... but there is a price to pay in terms of fuel economy. See below for more on that.

Braked towing capacity is rated at 1900kg for the manual diesel van, 1500kg for the diesel-auto and petrol-auto models, and 1400kg for the petrol manual. The unbraked capacity is 750kg on all models.

Fuel consumption

Ford Ranger

Fuel consumption for the Ranger Wildtrak X 3.2L model is claimed at 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres, and it has an 80-litre fuel tank capacity. There is no long range fuel tank.

Our test drive saw a real-world return of 11.1L/100km across a mix of driving including urban, highway and back-road, as well as laden and unladen.


Toyota Hiace7/10

Diesel vs petrol - you may not even consider weighing up the options, because there's something to be said of diesel fuel economy compared to petrol fuel use.

The diesel manual LWB model uses a claimed 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres (previously 8.1L/100km), and the most popular version - the diesel auto LWB - has claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.2L/100km (previous model: 8.7L).

Choose a LWB Crew or SLWB van - both of which are diesel-auto only - and claimed fuel use is 8.4L/100km (previously 9.2L).

As for petrol consumption, the figure is 12.4L/100km for the manual, and 12.0L/100km for the auto. The existing four-cylinder petrol had consumption of 9.8L (auto) and 10.1L/100km (manual).

Fuel tank capacity is 70 litres, no matter which model you choose. There's no long range fuel tank available.

Driving

Ford Ranger

We like the Ford Ranger as a daily driver. It’s easy to see why so many people buy Ford Ranger dual-cab four-wheel drives, even if they don’t need the payload, or the towing capacity. It’s the utility that appeals with this utility.

Without weight in the back it rides smoothly enough, and around town you won’t complain about back pain or sore kidneys when you crunch over speed humps. It’s composed and refined, so much so that it’s a better ute to drive without a load than with weight in the back, and there aren’t many that can claim that accolade.

The steering makes it easy to park, and it’s nice to steer in all sorts of situations. If you happen to be on the tools all day, you’ll be happy not to have to wrestle the wheel on your way home.

Acceleration is good, if not blindingly quite, and the transmission does what it should. 


Toyota Hiace8/10

It's so, so different to the previous model. And so it ought to be.

You sit in a much more comfortable position, and the ease of getting in and out is going to make for fewer sore backs.

And when you turn the key, there's less rumble, vibration and clatter from the engine... partly because you're not sitting on top of it, but partly because of the inherent refinement that the new diesel (and petrol) engine offers.

I got to drive the petrol manual, the diesel auto and the previous-generation version over the same test track at Toyota's Centre of Excellence in Melbourne, and it gave a great indication of how the new model performs.

If you're the kind of driver who is always in a hurry, the petrol could be perfect for you. It gathers pace with ease, easily out-accelerating the diesel. The auto will be even better than the manual, which has a rev-matching system and offers truly compelling range-opening model.

The diesel auto - which is the one about 90 per cent of customers will buy - is markedly better than its predecessor. It revs more smoothly, the transmission is smarter (six gears vs four will help!), and it's so, so much quieter in the cabin, too.

From the driver's seat you feel the extra width of the new model - not just because of how planted it feels on the road, but just the general airiness of its roomier cabin makes you feel like you've got room to move.

There's less thinking required when it comes to driving it, too. There's still hydraulic power steering, but its a bit lighter and more direct than before, meaning less arm work - a welcome change, as the existing version was a tiring thing to drive.

The turning circle has been increased - it was 10.0m for LWB models and is now 11.0m, while the SLWB versions were 12.4m and are now 12.8m - that's just physics, though, because the wheelbase has been stretch by roughly half a metre!

But it is very easy to manoeuvre, and no longer is there that odd “sitting in front of the turning wheels” feeling that the existing cab-forward version had. The visibility from the driver's seat is great, and on test, the safety systems worked a treat.

In terms of ride comfort, we might have to reserve judgment to a degree. Almost every model on test had a ballast over the rear axle of between 200 and 300 kilograms. The real test might come when its running around town with nothing in the cargo zone - but all indications suggested that the level of comfort and compliance is a great improvement over the previous model, and even up there with the best riders in the segment.

Safety

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak - as with the rest of the Ranger line-up - is in the mix for the best in the business for ute safety specs.

Standard gear on all Ranger models is auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection as well as lane keeping assist, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition and automated high-beam lights. The AEB system works at city and highway speeds, and adaptive cruise control is included, too. There is no blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert, however.

The Ranger retains its five-star ANCAP crash test rating from 2015, when the standards were considerably more lax. It does, however, have six airbags (dual front, front side and full-length curtain), a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and a semi-autonomous parking system. 

It comes with dual ISOFIX child seat anchor points and two top-tether restraints for baby seats.


Toyota Hiace10/10

That's right - it gets 10 out of 10 for safety, because this model clearly sets the benchmark in the van segment.

The new-generation HiAce range has been awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP crash test rating - and it's the only van to have been tested under the safety watchdog's strictest criteria ever.

Standard on all models is forward collision alert with full-speed auto emergency braking (AEB) including day and night pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection. Plus there's lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, road sign detection and alert, auto high beam headlights, and a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors.

This thing is absolutely loaded - about the only thing it's missing is adaptive cruise control, which is arguably a convenience feature more than a safety nanny.

The airbag count is seven - dual front, front side, curtain and driver's knee protection included. The Commuter and Crew models also get curtain airbag protection.

Ownership

Ford Ranger

Ford backs all of its models with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is on par with the rest of the mainstream ute market but behind the likes of the Triton (promotional seven-year warranty), SsangYong Musso (permanent seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty), and Isuzu D-Max (six-year/150,000km).

Capped price servicing intervals are set every 12 months/15,000km. The duration of the service plan is for the life of the vehicle, too, which is good for peace of mind if you plan to hang on to your car for a long time.

Ford is currently running a promotion whereby the first four years/60,000km of maintenance is capped at $299 per visit. That’s competitive, but costs rise as you get beyond the promo period.

Concerned about Ford Ranger problems? Check out our Ford Ranger problems page for issues, complaints, recalls or anything else regarding reliability. We had an issue of our own, with the car convinced it was towing a trailer the whole time we had it, which disabled the self-parking system and the rear parking sensors, too.


Toyota Hiace8/10

Toyota is now offering a five-year/160,000km warranty plan on all HiAce models used for commercial purposes, while private buyers enjoy five years/unlimited kilometres. That's good, but not great for the segment.

What gives it a bit of an advantage is that the drivetrain is covered for up to seven years if you have evidence of logbook servicing.

On that topic, the HiAce retains its shorter-than-expected six-month/10,000km maintenance intervals, which could mean a few days out of action if you cover a lot of kays in a year.

But the service costs are competitive: the petrol versions cost $180 per service, and diesel models are $240 per visit. That is for the duration of the three-year/60,000km capped price service plan, and Toyota has a widget on its website that allows you to calculate what the costs will be once that period is over.

If you have resale concerns, you really ought to forget them - the previous version had the best resale in its segment, according to Glass's Guide, with 68 per cent of retained value after four years.

Got questions over general faults, problems, concerns, reliability, durability, engine problems, transmission problems, clutch issues? Check out our Toyota HiAce problems page.