New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Reader test: Ford Ranger

2009-04-16 07:00

Martin Stols

I’ve always liked big bakkies, but never bought one because I could never justify it financially.

I don’t really need a bakkie and for the equivalent price you can buy a fairly decent car that is also much cheaper to run.

Then I got a job where I spend most of my time in the office and it's only six kilometres from my home.

So, after carefully considering if I should buy a scooter or a mountain bike I decided to go for a used 4.0L Ford Ranger. My reasons were that it has a German engine, I still can’t afford a decent new bakkie, I don’t trust the second hand turbo diesels and am too embarrassed to walk into a Chinese dealership.

The Black Beast

The local Ford agents had a 2005 black 4.0L supercab with around 76 000km on the clock for R126 000. The colour isn’t my favourite, but the bakkie was in such great condition that after a week of sleepless nights and negotiating with the wife I decided to take it.

I always knew the 154 kW from the 4.0-litre engine would be adequate and the interior is comfortable enough. The space behind the seats are great for luggage, shopping and I use the lockable toolboxes for my laptop and valuables. There are also two power sockets for a GPS and a cellphone charger.

My biggest concern was the running costs, but I totally overestimated that. I was budgeting for between 15 and 16 l/100 km based on certain popular car magazines, but my actual average for the past year over 17 831km, was 13.28L/100km.

On my December trip to Namibia, I covered 4 117km at 12.5 l/100 km; not bad according to my Ford turbodiesel driving friends who would have had a hard time keeping up with the Black Beast.


The 10 000km service intervals would have been a bit annoying if I did a lot of driving, but so far I’ve only needed to take it for the 80 000 and 90 000 services. The Ford dealers quoted a ridiculous R 3 100 for the 80 000 so I took it to my friendly neighbourhood service station where they gladly serviced it for R 1 500 and R 480 for the 90 000 km oil change.

Driving wise it doesn’t handle like an F1 car and it’s tricky to park in tight spaces, but the ride height is great, bad roads are now fun and taxis have respect for the lack of ABS. People not respecting following distances? I simply don’t slack off for speed humps and watch the
impatient idiot trying to avoid an excess payment on his insurance.

It was one of the toughest ever decisions for me to buy this bakkie, but the longer I’ve had it the less I’m trying to justify my choice technically, because I simply love it. Come to think of it, that’s probably why some blokes still drive Alfas! I just hope the new Ford Ranger
depreciates as fast as an Alfa so I can afford one of those soon!


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