Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger contest for utility market

Many new businesspeople, who have money to buy just one vehicle are likely to go for a pickup van, which is a utility ride.

The vehicle, with its accommodating rear seats and versatile tray-backs, has become the choice of traders because it serves dual purposes. One can use it as a workhorse during the week to move their goods and as a luxury family hauler at weekends.

Experts also note that the vehicle has a huge appeal as an alternative lifestyle vehicle to a SUV (sport utility vehicle).

It is indeed a boom time for the utility vehicle manufacturers and dealers all over the world.

In Nigeria, the contest has assumed a higher dimension as the police, the Federal Road Safety Corps and other security agencies are taking to pickup vehicles for their patrol operations.

Some state governments have also purchased this category of vehicles for their traffic agencies and donated a number of them to the police to beef up their patrol programmes.

Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger are two utility vehicles that are currently dominating this segment of the vehicle market.

An investigation by our correspondent on Tuesday showed that they were the two prominent brands in the police, FRSC, other security groups’ patrol vehicles.

The Hilux, like other Toyota models, appears to command more respect and enjoy higher patronage than its rival, the Ranger.

But the Ford model is making a strong impression and striving to capture a big chunk of the market too, experts say.

What really makes each of the two models tick and which of them is stronger in what department?

The Hilux is generally viewed as an unstoppable pick up with legendary 4×4 capabilities and outstanding reliability.

Many say the Hilux appears to be the oldest of the utility vehicles but has continued to the most popular, versatile and comfortable.

The Hilux started life in Japan in 1968 and 1972 saw the second generation Hilux hit the streets with an expanded model range that included the first four-wheel drive vehicles.

According to a report by an online auto reviewer, What a Car, the Hilux is decent to drive with a solid cabin and flexible load bay.

Handling: It says its firm suspension gives the vehicle a decent body control when tackling corners or undulating roads and the steering is reassuringly weighty.

Toyota says the Hilux is legendary for its rugged durability, but adds that the vehicle will also carry your team in comfort and style.

Design: The manufacturer notes that every aspect of the Hilux car design has been thought through, from the multiple body types to seating capacity options and ergonomic design and cup holders, and all the storage space you will need. “With a Hilux on your team, working hard doesn’t have to mean roughing it,” it says.

Interior: Hilux has a spacious cabin, with a stylish and functional dash and instrument panel. The instrument panel has a horizontal design, making it both stylish and easy to see, with its uniquely rounded speedo, tacho, water temperature gauge, fuel gauge, and digital clock.

Toyota says all Hilux doors have been styled with single piece moulded trims and all seats are slim profile and built for support with sport-styled front seats on the 4×4 SR and SR5 models.

Exterior: Many agree that the vehicle’s style and good looks extend to the exterior, with long aesthetic lines, bold wheel-arch flares, an open grille to emphasise its width, an aggressive bonnet scoop on Turbo diesel models, moulded front bumpers, large transparent headlights and a large deck.

“With its combination of style and powerful performance, anyone who sees your Hilux will know it means business,” Toyota says.

Safety: Every Hilux comes with two airbags. On the security front, etched windows and plenty of marked mechanical parts make the car easier to trace should it be stolen.

Reviews by auto experts, including, indicate that notwithstanding its indisputable credentials, there is a growing competition from its relentless rivals such as the Ford Ranger.

The Ranger is a practical pickup that is surprisingly safe and enjoyable to drive, says

Like the Hilux, the Ford Ranger is part of a small group of premium grade dual-cab workhorses that provide car-like comfort, safety and driveability.

According to, there is plenty of car-like comfort in the Ranger’s cabin with interior styling that is closely aligned to the Ford’s passenger vehicle line-up.

Interior: The fabric seats are low-set and especially comfortable; broad-based, but with decent levels of bolstering to hold all shapes and sizes firm through corners.

“There is a ton of room inside – front and rear, with generous head and legroom even for those in the second row wearing bulky work boots,” it states.

Safety: It is equipped with active and passive safety gear including six airbags, stability control, trailer sway control, load adaptive control, roll-over mitigation and anti-locking brakes with brake assist.

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