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Ford Ranger vs F-150 – What South Africans are missing out on

The Ford Ranger is one of the company’s best-selling vehicles around the world, having been a smash hit in markets in Europe, Australia, and of course, South Africa.

However, there is one notable market where the Ranger doesn’t have a lot of traction, namely the Blue Oval’s home turf of the United States, which is all down to the existence of another vehicle – the Ford F-150.

While the Ranger sold 56,000 units in America last year, the F-150 sold a staggering 640,000 units, making it not just the country’s best-selling pick-up truck, but also the most popular vehicle in the USA in general – a title it has held for the past 41 years.

Despite this incredible success, the F-150 is not sold in many countries where Ford’s other light-commercial offerings are available, including the tip of Africa.

Given that the F-150 is not commercially available in South Africa, and is unlikely to make a local debut so long as the Ranger continues to perform as well as it does, it’s interesting to take a look at exactly what the difference is between the two, and whether South Africa is indeed missing out on a highly-regarded 4×4.

What’s the difference

What makes the Ranger vs F-150 comparison interesting is the fact that they have very similar line-ups, including nameplates like the XLT, Platinum, and Tremor, though the Wildtrak is exclusive to the Ranger series.

What’s more intriguing is the fact that both vehicles have a halo-model Raptor variant, which boast specially-modified suspension with Fox racing shock absorbers.

Of course, the real differentiator across all the trim levels is the engine selection, as the base model South African Ranger XL has access to a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, while the American pickup starts out with nothing less than a 3.3-litre V6 petrol (or “gasoline”) plant.

You can see a list of the two 4×4’s powertrain selection, and how they compare, in the table below:

Ford Ranger Engines Power Ford F-150 engines Power
2.0-litre turbo-diesel 125kW/405Nm 3.3-litre V6 petrol 216kW/360Nm
2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel 154kW/500Nm 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol 242kW/542Nm
3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel 184kW/600Nm 5.0-litre V8 petrol 298kW/555Nm
3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol 292kW/583Nm 3.0-litre Power Stroke V6 turbo-diesel 186kW/596Nm
3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol 298kW/677Nm
3.5-litre PowerBoost V6 petrol hybrid 320kW/772Nm

Two things jump out here: first, the US market is much more interested in petrol propulsion in its pickups than diesel, and its drivetrains are substantially more powerful than the Ranger’s on average, both of which indicate that the average American is far less concerned with the cost of fuel.

While the Ranger Raptor is the only model to use a petrol powerplant, the opposite is true of the F-150 where only a single diesel block is available.

Notably, though, several F-150s feature Ford’s EcoBoost technology, and there is even a hybrid unit with a 35kW liquid-cooled electric motor, which is by far the most powerful engine in the combined line-up.

The engines are only half the story, as the bakkies’ dimensions play a big role in how they perform off-road and as utility vehicles.

The table below shows how the equivalent versions of the Ranger and F-150 compare:

Specification Ford Ranger 2.0l bi-turbo XLT Ford F-150 3.3l V6 XLT
Length 5,350mm 5,885mm
Width 2,208mm 2,430mm
Height 1,886mm 1,960mm
Wheelbase 3,270mm 3,683mm
Ground clearance 237mm 238mm
Wading depth 800mm 600mm
Approach angle 30.0 degrees 27.6 degrees
Break-over angle 22.0 degrees 21.2 degrees
Departure angle 25.6 degrees 24.3 degrees
Load capacity 946 kg 1,500kg
Towing capacity 3,500kg 4,500kg

Unsurprisingly, the American F-150 is much larger than the Ranger – which is remarkable considering the latter is by no means a small vehicle for South African roads.

While the F-150 does have a better wheelbase, its wading depth is actually worse than the Ranger’s, as are its off-roading angles.

On the other hand, its much more powerful engine and larger dimensions means it can carry more in the back and can tow an impressive 4,500kg.


In summary, the F-150 is essentially a bigger and more powerful version of the Ranger, but one that comes with the drawback of being slightly less effective off-road, and substantially more expensive to run.

While this has clearly not deterred the average American buyer, it’s likely the reason why the F-150 has not taken off outside of its home turf, and as the sales numbers are quick to confirm, the Ranger is more than enough for many South Africans.

Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

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