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Bakkies brawl: Ford Ranger vs P Series

Andrew Muzamhindo Analyst
LAST week I got an email from one senior manager working for a parastatal. He was seeking my opinion on whether to buy a Ford Ranger XLS or the GWMs P Series double cab bakkie.

His budget was US$55 000.

As of December 2021, the Ford Ranger XLS was priced at US$54 305 whilst top of the range P Series was priced at US$49 800, according to Zimbabwe Total Industry Volume, a compilation of new vehicles that are imported into Zimbabwe by brand, volume and prices.

The P Series is about three quarters the price of the top of the range Toyota Hilux.

I have driven both the Ford Ranger XLS and the P Series.

Ford Ranger XLS

The P Series is a Chinese brand.

Ford is an America brand but Ford Ranger is now manufactured or assembled in a number of countries like Argentina, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and the US.

Ford ranger is an established brand.

The P Series is not.

The first question we need to tackle is why is the P series cheaper than competition?

Where did GWM save the money because this certainly is one of the best bakkies I have ever seen.

As you climb into the P Series you cannot help but notice that it is so outstandingly appointed and more luxurious than all bakkies on the market including some SUVs.

GWM threw everything into the P Series that you would like in an SUV, not a bakkie.

It gives you a comfortable daily bakkie experience.

When you put your indicator on the 360% cameras starts working.

It gives you an incredible view of the bakkies.

It has one of the best camera systems I have ever used.

On the performance and mechanical side, it has a 2 litre diesel engine buoyed by turbo, 120 kW and 400Nm of power and torque.

This is slightly more than the Ranger’s at 118KW and 385 Nm.

The numbers seem very close but the GWM engine exudes more power and it is more responsive than the Ranger.

The P series becomes only the second bakkie on the market to offer the 8 speed ZF transmission which shifts inconspicuously than the Rangers.

You will not feel the gears changing at all. This speaks to the fact that the gears have been mapped out very well to make the most of the engines torque delivery and distinguishing character

The P Series has been sold in Zimbabwe for a year now.

I cannot tell you as to whether it will stand the test of time like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux.

However, it is safe to say the Chinese have improved their products.

I use a Chinese phone called Xiaomi Red Mi. It is better than a Samsung and almost in the same league with the iPhone.

To get me to move from Samsung to Xiaomi was a struggle.

But having used the Redmi Note 10 and their latest Note 11, it has become my brand of choice.

It is half the price of the latest iPhone.

When Toyota was launched consumers looked at Toyota cars suspiciously.

They preferred European and American made cars.

In America early drivers of the brand were stopped by fellow Americans so they could marvel at the new little Toyota cars that they thought was a fade.

Japanese automaker Toyota is now the new No.1 brand.

It dethroned General Motors (GM) to become the top-selling automaker in 2021, ending General Motors’ 90-year domination of the market.

Right now, Toyota is second to VW in terms of revenue from worldwide sales.

My point is you can ignore these Chinese cars at your own peril.

When it comes out of warranty service you will get support.

Zimoco has been around for close to five decades surely, they will not disappear tomorrow.

Issues surrounding after warranty service affect even established brands.

The P Series ticks a lot of boxes. It has LED taillights and headlights.

It is humongous and imposing overshadowing established bakkies on the market.

The Ford Ranger has a sporty vibe that no other bakkie has.

It comes with pleasing big 17-inch wheels painted in black.

The grille and roll bars come in black as well. All this combines to make the Ford Ranger XL sport look handsome.

The GWM 4×4 is on demand whilst Ranger’s in old school, you engage it.

The world is moving to on demand but it takes time to get used to.

The suspension of the P Series if floaty and it takes time to get used to.

The Ranger one is smooth.

The Ranger is also quieter inside it has a better Noise Vibration and Harshness mechanism.

The biggest difference is the interior. In a Ranger you drown in a sea of plastic.

Plastic dashboard, plastic arm rests, plastic storage compartments, there is just too much plastic.

The infotainment systems are miles apart.

The P Series one is bigger, responsive, attractive and well laid out.

I know the XL S is the bottom spec and not the XLT or Wildtrak but therein lies the challenge.

It is more expensive than the top spec P Series.

In an XLS you have aircon but it is not automatic, you have to adjust it manually.

The cloth seats and interiors look archaic compared to the P Series.

P Series has quilted leather on the doors, stitched leather on dashboard and steering wheel.

It looks comfortable, solid and affluent.

It comes standard with voice recognition, CarPlay and wireless charging for your convenience.

For safety, the following come standard, Lane Support System, which includes Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Lane Centre Keeping.

They all work together to prevent you from unintentionally drifting out of your lane.

You will not get this in a Ford Ranger XL S. P Series has Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) for pedestrians & cyclists.

This active safety system avoids collisions by detecting pedestrians or bicyclists and automatically activates the brakes.

It comes with Rear Crossing Traffic Alert. With the use of radar sensors on the bakkie, the rear cross traffic alert prevents you from reversing into cars by alerting you when vehicles are detected from behind.

Its Traffic Sign Recognition helps you identify road signs such as stop and yield, increasing awareness and safety.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) automatically adjusts the vehicle speed to maintain a safe following distance.

These are not standard features in a more expensive Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger. Ranger XLS has two airbags whilst P Series has seven.

It has two USB ports. Ranger has one. You will love its heated seats in winter whilst the cold will traumatize you in a Ranger XLS during bad winters.

One of my main gripes with bakkies is lack of storage space in its cabin.

This is all sorted out in the P series.

The rear seats are floating (like in a Honda Fit) and this allows you to hide laptops, handbags etc. under the seats.

You obviously want me to advice you on whether you should spend your hard-earned US dollars on a luxurious new comer Chinese bakkie with all the gizmos or a much lower spec established Ford Ranger bakkie.

I really like the Ranger but you cannot ignore the modernism of the P Series.

It is the most luxurious and technically advanced bakkie on the market and it is cheaper than competition and ushers bakkies into a new tech era.

It is an SUV with a load bin.

This Ranger is at the end of its life cycle, whilst we wait for the new Ranger, I would buy the P Series because it offers more car, more tech, more comfort, more safety, more power, more torque and more luxury for less.

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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