REVIEW | Ford Ranger Supercab mixes business with pleasure

Here’s a novel proposition for the buyer

22 November 2023 - 09:15
By Brenwin Naidu
Wildtrak trim adds tougher, more adventurous appearance.
Image: Supplied Wildtrak trim adds tougher, more adventurous appearance.

Browsing the new car market by price rather than segment makes for an interesting exercise. You might discover compelling alternatives that you had perhaps never previously contemplated.

Of course, people buy vehicles according to their requirements. An up-and-coming young corporate professional is probably not going to buy a Suzuki Super Carry, for instance. But maybe they should, opening the door for a cash-generating side hustle?

According to recent data, the average finance amount on a vehicle in South Africa is R390,000. On the new side, that puts buyers in the realm of compact hatchbacks and sedans, junior sport-utility vehicles and crossovers, as well as a selection of commercial vehicles, which we showed you in a feature last week.

Obviously, upping your price bracket opens the door to wider possibilities. If you are shopping in a range of R500,000 to R750,000, for instance, the choices are overwhelming. How about an Audi A1 30 TFSI S-lIne for R502,800? More space and a grocery list of standard features could lead you to the Haval H6 2.0 GDIT 4WD Luxury (R560,950).

Ranger interior has upmarket impression
Image: Supplied Ranger interior has upmarket impression

You might need a sturdy ladder-frame chassis and three-row seating, in which case a base Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 could be had for R673,100. Those who are on board with the prospect of electric motoring could take delight in a GWM Ora 03 Super Luxury at R686,950. Shelling out R742,286 would allow you to drop the top in a Mini Cooper S Convertible.

There are many other products to be had for the amount. This includes large multipurpose vehicles and, the national staple, bakkies — in all guises, single-cab, extra-cab and double-cab to hardy workhorses, leisure pickups and variants that aim to strike a balance between the two.

Cue the Ford Ranger Supercab we tested last week: like the Ranger single-cab you know and love, but with a little more cabin space. The Supercab line-up starts at R504,900 for the 2.0 SiT XL 4x2 manual. For reference, the single-cab equivalent is R494,400.

You can have the Supercab in 4x4 with automatic transmission options, in middle-grade XLT flavour or in high-tier Wildtrak guise.

Coach doors, just like a Rolls-Royce
Image: Supplied Coach doors, just like a Rolls-Royce

The Wildtrak is sold exclusively with the 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged-diesel unit, linked to a 10-speed automatic and four-wheel drive. It costs R788,300, which is R41,500 cheaper than the 4x2 version of the double-cab Wildtrak.

The Supercab in Wildtrak specification is something of a wild card and one doubts many will be seen on the road.

That is because most customers opting for single- and extra-cab body styles do so for commercial applications. If you are business-minded and purchasing for those reasons, the Supercab in XL 2.0 SiT 4x4 automatic trim (R570,100) would make good sense.

On the other hand, the embellishments and added price of the Wildtrak trim will appeal to a very particular buyer. Someone who needs the loading bay, but someone who also wants the flamboyance and charm of a pumped-up, lifestyle-orientated pickup. The Supercab Wildtrak struck me as a bakkie with a sporting twist.

Luggage area behind front seats proves useful.
Image: Supplied Luggage area behind front seats proves useful.

It benefits from the same accoutrements as the Wildtrak double-cab, such as a more assertive exterior styling kit, replete with attractive 18-inch alloys and model-specific badging. Buyers can have 20-inch wheels as an option.

Opening the front door reveals the familiar Ranger cabin layout and appointments, with a high-quality impression overall. But one noticed the armrests of the front doors are not softly padded, as they are in the double-cab.

The rear coach doors are easily operated, with a light squeeze on the inside handle, clicking and unlatching effortlessly. A sizeable storage area is on offer behind the two front seats. A weekend getaway offered a handy test, where luggage that might have usually gone in the back was easily accommodated in the cabin.

Regular readers will know this publication is quite familiar with the Ranger, having run an XLT double-cab in our long-term fleet, as well as currently having a Ranger X in the garage.

The more workhorse-focussed XLT doing its thing.
Image: Supplied The more workhorse-focussed XLT doing its thing.

This scribe has spent countless hours behind the wheel of the XLT, which impressed with its above-average comfort and refinement, bolstered by relatively easy manoeuvrability around town. The Wildtrak Supercab made the same impression, but was noticeably livelier, thanks to its 2.0 BiT motor. It is lighter than the equivalent double-cab too at 2,285kg versus 2,334kg.

The lower mass imbued the Supercab with a tangibly more agile feel. With no load on the back, the light tail caught us by surprise one wet morning, prompting a switch into 4x4 for the duration of the journey.

Output from the motor is a stout 154kW and 500Nm. The 10-speed automatic works quietly in the background, shifting smoothly and imperceptibly. Average consumption after a week of driving was 10.7l/100km.

In summary, the Wildtrak Supercab is a novel proposition for the buyer who wants a commercial vehicle with a splash of recreational swagger.