Best lifestyle bakkie: Ford Ranger

Over the last two decades, the double cab bakkie has slyly tiptoed towards the passenger market for all to see

Brave early adopters may have exposed themselves to industrial size discomfort and road pace, but they had latched onto something fantastic. For a long while the merging of everyday comfort with the tenacity of a donkey was a tricky hack for many manufacturers and it was Ford, and not Toyota to our surprise, that managed to find a more convincing cross-culturally acceptable even-keel between the two extremes.

The Ranger ride quality is deeply impressive – smooth, calm and sure – and the ease of operation of its mechanical wares can be mastered by a pimply youth. Its fairly wide range of refined ecoboost engines is suited to different applications.

The five-passenger cab exudes an air equal to mid-level passenger cars with the toys to match. It’s even more spacious inside than a Focus. And then there is the loading bay. Hatchbacks and sedans of any dispensation or price cannot compete with it in terms of sheer loading.

There was a hand raised in defence of the Toyota Hilux, but the majority of judges felt that the Ranger is currently second to none. It was a ground-breaking car when it first arrived on the scene and in its newer clothes it loses none of its decorum. It’s a daily family runner, a Dad’s weekend garbage disposal unit and, where adventurous families are concerned, they can also try out the Dakar Rally during the January holidays.

– Phuti Mpyane