• The Ford Ranger Stormtrak is comfortable and capable. • It's one of SA's best-selling double cab bakkies and ticks nearly all the boxes. • The Stormtrak, like most bakkies, commands respect on the road, even from taxi drivers.
It is no secret that the Ford Ranger has become one of SA's best-selling bakkies over the last decade. In recent years it has often been at the top spot in the sales chart alongside the Toyota Hilux.
There are several reasons for that, from good financing deals to how Ford has developed the bakkie into a leisure vehicle for daily use.
This is not the first time I've been exposed to a more extended test period of this bakkie. As a features writer at CAR magazine, I've driven the Thunder version for six months, covering no less than 10 600km. Let's be honest, these special or limited edition models Ford SA has released throughout this generation can sometimes be laughable. Still, on the other hand, it has kept the public interested in the range and must have helped sales in some way.
The Stromtrak offers a black mesh front grille with red accents, specific decals, 18-inch black alloy wheels, and at the back, there is a powered roller shutter, and on the roof, there are black rails. Apart from the hard plastic lining the loading bay (and the tailgate), there is also the loading bay divider. The cabin has leather with red stitching and illuminated scuff plates. To sum it up, apart from the Raptor, this is the highest-specification Ranger you can get.
During these past few weeks, I've driven it nearly daily while also commuting in and out of Cape Town. It is here that this bakkie makes perfect sense to me. On the horrendous N2 that leaves Cape Town to Somerset West, you have at night the evil that are the taxis making this "road" their playground. Sadly, a small city car is the last vehicle I would like to find myself in. At least in this bakkie, one is safer and can stand your ground. Sad that it has to be this way just to get to work or take a drive on the N2 during peak traffic. During this week of commuting with the other blend of town driving, the current average stands at an indicated 8.8-litres/100km, which is quite impressive. For reference, on the Thunder, after I'd covered more than 10 000km, the average was a true 9.73/1-litres/100km.
The infotainment system worked well every time it paired with my Android smartphone. During these long trips, the driving position and comfortable seats proved their worth, while the relatively soft suspension setup resulted in a comfortable and absorbent ride. Fitted with Continental Cross Contact tyres (265/60 R18), it is evident that these are road-biased tyres. After all, these bakkies spend most of their time on tarred roads. However, I've been to the Tankwa Karoo National Park before, and they performed very well, even at higher speeds on the roads leading to the park. Under the bonnet is the 2.0-litre, twin-turbodiesel engine delivering 157kW and 500Nm. Although some buyers might disregard such a small-capacity engine, it has proven itself by now that the performance delivery is ideally in line with its competitors.
However, you need to realise that you are unlikely to squeeze into small parking spaces, and now and then, you need to do more three-point turns than you would have had you been driving a hatchback. However, the upside is that you constantly feel safe and secure on the road, and even taxis treat you differently when driving a smaller car.
Passengers in the rear also have ample space, and with the floor lowered to the feet area, you don't have to sit with your knees past your ears like in the olden days. In the rear, there are also two sockets, a 12V socket and a 230 V/150 W power converter, the latter ideal for devices such as a small fridge or laptop computer.
The level of space, practicality and safety features on offer all play a role. Needless to say, it is a vehicle you can take anywhere and do anything with, be it a weekend away, a run to the nursery or loading anything into or on top of it, whatever your hobby.
Long-term summary: Mileage covered for this report: 800km Average consumption: 8.8 litres/100km
Specifications Price: R874 100 Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbodiesel Power: 157kW @ 3 750rpm Torque: 500Nm @ 1 500 – 2 000rpm Gears/Drive: 10-speed automatic, rear- and all-wheel drive 0-100 km/h: 9.68 seconds (tested) Top speed: N/A Fuel consumption: 8.8-litres/100km (claimed) Service Plan: 6-years or 90 000km (optional)
TEST RESULTS Braking: Emergency brake test 1 (120-0km/h): 4.32 seconds (72.67metres) Emergency brake test 2 (120-0km/h): 3.80 seconds (62.42metres)
Acceleration (km/h): 0-60: 4.11 seconds 0-80: 6.48 seconds 0-100: 9.68 seconds 0-120: 13.99 seconds 0-140: 20.03 seconds In-gear acceleration (km/h): 80-100: 3.29 seconds 100-140: 10.35 seconds 60-120: 9.88 seconds
Fuel consumption during test: 8.8-litres/100km (indicated)
Sign up for your bi-weekly newsletter and get all the latest and exciting motoring news.