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Which is better, Navara or Ranger? – Ford Ranger vs. Nissan Navara

Ford Ranger vs Nissan Navara Top Cars

Nissan Navara is the vehicle offered in D22 and D40 generation was offered in a two-door truck as well as a four-door truck first presented in 1997. The main market of Nisan Navara is Europe and Asia. In South America and North Central is sold under the name of Nissan Frontier. The Ford Ranger is a vehicle that is manufactured and marketed by Ford. It is much like Nissan Navara with a range of features.

Following its facelift halfway through 2018, the Toyota Hilux has again pulled ahead in the local sales race, but that doesn’t mean that the Ford Ranger is exactly struggling to move off the showroom floors, either. But what if you want something equally beefy and modern, but have no interest in sticking to the popular choices? 

We had a look at the two market leaders, and pitched them against the new Nissan Navara, to see if you can get similar (or even better) value for money from this alternative contender. Seeing as value for money is the main focal point in this comparison, we steered clear of the highest-specification models. 

Instead, we set a budget cap of R500 000 as the starting point and selected three bakkies with similar pricing. In each case, this means a double-cab configuration, with a diesel engine, manual gearbox, and 2WD. 

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s pickup season once again. Nissan and Toyota have refreshed versions of the Navara and Hilux, respectively. Then we have Chevrolet, which has just introduced a new variant of Colorado.

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Recently though, all eyes have been on Ford with the introduction of the much-awaited Ranger Raptor. A performance-oriented pickup truck is all well and good, but arguably the biggest news from the American carmaker is that it has equipped the top-spec Wildtrak with a bi-turbo engine similar to the Raptor.

That’s a pretty big deal., but along with the added performance comes a price. With all this in mind, we thought it’d be neat to pit the Ranger Wildtrak against some of the other new offerings this year. First up is the Navara, which has gained some nifty safety tech to go along with its steady performance and macho looks.

The Japanese offering’s biggest advantage–and possibly only one upfront–is its price. The VL 4×4 AT, at P1,423,000, is more than P200,000 cheaper than the bi-turbo Wildtrak and its P1,695,000 price tag. Of course, the American is upon power, torque, and comes with more airbags, so you have to consider those as well.

The pickup truck market segment is very competitive; as such, we see more and more trucks become increasingly advanced in terms of onboard tech while gaining more power.

Recently, we’ve compared Japanese pickup trucks against each other. This time, let’s shake it up a bit and pit one from an American brand that we know and love against one of the Japanese-branded ones.

Ridgeback Truck &  Service Bodies in Australia is a premier ute & truck service body manufacturer for trades vehicles. Based in Melbourne, Ridgeback provides Australia’s largest range of tough, quality ute & truck service bodies.

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.

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.

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 destination is unchanged for the 19.75 model year variant we had, but subtle updates are coming for the 2020 model range.

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 upfront 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. 

Upfront, 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 Wildtrak models, because of 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 hardtop roller cover and that there’s a tub liner, too: however, the four tie-down hooks in the corners of the tub make it difficult to strap down a load.

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, a 12-volt outlet in the tub, hard roller 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 an 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). 

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 difference. 

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 a 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. 

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.

The pickup trucks from Ford have always been known for their butch and muscular road presence, and the Ranger follows the tradition pretty well. The Ranger comes with the typical old school American muscle, with the blocky design for the pickup truck appealing to all those who want their vehicle to look intimidating and rough and tough.

Pickup trucks usually skip out on a number of modern-day gadgetries and feature usually seen on expensive and highly-priced SUVs. However, that’s not the case with the Ford Ranger. This pickup truck from Ford has been equipped with a number of features that are already present in its SUV counterpart, the Ford Everest. Things like projector headlamps with daytime running LEDs, a modern touch screen infotainment system, cruise control, automatic climate control, and a semi-digital instrument console are some features which give the Ford Ranger a feel-good and premium factor.

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Navara or Ranger which car?

Nissan Navara

With its price tag of R484 900 placing it between the Hilux and the Ranger, you’d expect the Navara to fall midway between them on specifications as well. That is, however, not the case, because the Nissan actually beats them both on most fronts. The only places where it loses notable ground to the Ranger XLT (and merely matches the Hilux) is with its cloth-covered seats, manual climate control and lack of parking sensors, but in many other aspects, it has the better of them both.

Not only are the headlights automatically controlled (as in the Ranger), but they’re also brilliant LED units – and with a much, much better beam quality than the Ford. You also get a touch screen infotainment system with standard navigation, an auto-dim interior mirror, and a multi-function steering wheel, and even the sliding rear windshield is electrically operated – a unique selling point. Safety specification is also at the Ranger’s level, with seven airbags and stability control as standard even in this, the base-specification Navara. 

But the one place where the Navara soundly trounces both the Ford and the Toyota is in the engine bay, where a twin-turbo diesel delivers prodigious power and torque for this price class. With 140 kW and 450 Nm at its disposal, the Navara is the undoubted power king in this comparison. Its service plan runs for three years or 90 000 km (lagging behind both the Hilux and the Ford), but its warranty for six years or 150 000 km is class-leading. 

In terms of space, both trucks can comfortably seat five people. Electronically adjustable driver seats are standard, and both have very ergonomic and good-looking front cabins in general. The Ranger offers its passengers more toys, though, with a larger touchscreen and dual-zone automatic climate controls over the manual aircon switches found on the Nissan Navara.

The only thing that mars on the otherwise great interior on the Wildtrak is its Ford SYNC 3 interface, especially when it comes to pairing using Apple CarPlay. Android Auto works decently enough.

On the other hand, the Navara offers no-fuss connectivity, whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android. The touchscreen unit, however, isn’t navigation-ready, and the front passenger seat doesn’t feature a four-way electronically adjustable seat the way the Wildtrak does.

The Nissan Navara 2019 makes 23 less HP and 50 Nm less torque compared to the Ford car. While it’s still more powerful than many other pickup trucks in the Philippines today, the Navara is simply outgunned by the Ranger in terms of raw power. That’s not to say, however, that the Navara can’t leave most vehicles behind in the dust.

While the Navara VL N-Warrior has less active safety tech on board, it does have the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite. The package is comprised of a 360-degree camera that offers a simulated view around the vehicle, hill start assists and hill descent control. Not only is it useful when parking, but some resourceful individuals have taken to using the surround camera off-road, in order to avoid obstacles such as boulders.

The main and most visible difference is that Nissan Navara is a rare wheel drive where Ford is actually a front-wheel drive. Ranger has two diesel engines installed, whereas Navara has petrol and one for diesel. Nissan Navar has a 2.5-litre engine with 164 horsepower that runs on fuel and diesel both. Ford Ranger has a 2.3-litre engine that provides around 143 horsepower with a five-speed transmission manual and six-speed transmission automatic.

The claimed fuel consumption (diesel) for the single turbo engine is between 6.4L/100km and 7.1L/100km, depending on which model you plonk it in, while the claimed fuel economy (diesel) for the twin-turbo option is between 6.5L to 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle.

The Navara’s 80-litre fuel tank capacity promises a long-range no matter the engine, with the mileage near enough identical.

The single- and king-cab Navara’s dimensions both stretch 5120mm, while the dual-cab version betters that slightly at 5255mm, which means ‘boot size,’ or load-lugging ability, varies slightly, too. 

Obviously, the cab chassis version with its steel tray prioritizes heavy lifting, and your payload is a listed 1356kg in 2WD versions and 1193kg in 4WD versions in single-cab guise. In the king-cab, those numbers fall slightly to 1256kg and 1178kg in 4WD versions. In the dual-cab cars, expect 1144kg (manual) or 1127kg (automatic). Buyers can opt for a soft or hard tonneau cover or a ute canopy, too.  

The roof rails (standard from the dual-cab ST-X) unlock a world of roof rack options for extra storage space, too. But possibly the biggest practicality perk is the addition of two ISOFIX attachment points (one in each window seat in the second row) to the dual-cab versions of the Navara, finally meaning it can be used as a genuine family vehicle with proper child restraints.

All but the entry-level RX single-cab nab three power sources (the dual-cab pickups get a fourth in the tray), and dual-cabs also make use of four cupholders and bottle storage in the doors. 

Do you like the look of the current Navara? Then we’ve got good news for you; nothing has changed this time around.

The exterior design still looks tough and muscular, and is probably at its best (which is also probably why it’s the most popular version) in dual-cab ST-X guise, what with its silver roof rails and side steps (the latter of which form a kind of 3D body kit). A chrome rear step bumper is standard across the dual-cab range, too. 

Inside, it’s probably not the most modern-feeling interior, but the dimensions are good, and it’s clean and functional, and the ambience is raised considerably with the optional leather seats. The cheaper models clearly focus on function over form, but the more expensive models – with their clear and easy-to-use touchscreen (5.0 or 7.0-inch size) in the centre of the dash – are a better bet if you don’t plan on visiting too many worksites.

There’s a huge number of soft and hardtop tray covers in the options list, but no extra underbody protection listed.

I don’t need to tell you this, I’m sure, but Australia knows a thing or two about utes. They’re our best-selling vehicles for a reason, and there’s really nowhere else on the planet where load-luggers are as revered as they are Down Under. 

Well, except perhaps America. But that’s a weird and largely deep-fried land dripping with Trump’s, semi-automatic weapons and aluminum foil hats, so let’s ignore them for the moment.

And so, when the Nissan Navara dual-cab came under fire for underwhelming coil spring rear suspension and steering slower than a forming stalactite, Nissan knew it had to do something. And when the updated ‘Series II’ car, which arrived in March last year, failed to completely fix the issue, it knew it had to something else entirely. 

Consider this, then, Nissan’s big and brutish Goldilocks – the one they hope is finally just right. 

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Top Tradie Utes Ford vs Nissan

Nissan Navara vs Ford Ranger: Verdict

While the Nissan Navara is indeed an excellent vehicle in terms of looks, mechanical innards and safety features, the onboard tech on the Ranger lineup puts it in a league of its own. The only downside to the Ford is its SYNC 3 interface; we’re still baffled as to why Ford refuses to give their vehicles Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which could be more cost-efficient for them and less stressful to the end-user.

If you prefer a truck that can rough it while looking out for you on the road with its driver-assist features, the Ranger is right up your alley. On the other hand, if you want a more straightforward, comfortable drive, and you happen to prefer a Japanese truck, then choose the Nissan Navara.

Giving all these factors due consideration, it’s clear that the Nissan Navara offers the best blend of convenience features, safety kit, peace of mind, and all-round capability of these three bakkies. In this company, it’s clearly the best value for money, narrowly eclipsing the runner-up Ford, thanks to that potent engine and excellent headlights.

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