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Toyota HiLux vs Ford Ranger in 2024

Ford and Toyota have been duking it out with two strong utes. But which is best?

In the past when you looked car sales figures, you'd see that the Toyota HiLux was always the best-selling ute. In recent times though, that has changed with the Ford Ranger being Australia's best-selling car for the last four months consecutively in 2024.

Is there a reason that the Toyota HiLux has lost its crown to the Ford Ranger? Let's compare the two popular utes.

Summary: Which is better? The updated 2024 Ford Ranger outdoes the Toyota HiLux.

The background

The Toyota HiLux was launched in 1968 and came to Australia shortly afterwards. It's the only ute to have ever travelled to both world poles. HiLux utes have also taken part in the Dakar Rally. Staggeringly, after 50 years in production, more than 17.7 million HiLux models have been sold across the globe, and Oceania lays claim to 5.7% of those sales.

It has a reputation as an ultra-tough, rugged and stout pick-up. Toyota plays this up with outlandish adverts like this one shown in New Zealand.

Top Gear famously tried to destroy a 305,000km HiLux by leaving it in the sea, dropping things on it, hitting it with an industrial-sized wrecking ball and setting fire to it. Finally, they sat the pick-up atop a building marked for demolition. Even after the huge ensuing explosion and a 70m drop, it still worked. It's fair to say the HiLux has a hard-fought reputation for being tough as nails.

Nowadays, Toyota's ute is consistently the most popular vehicle overall for new car sales in Australia. It has held the crown as the highest in-demand commercial vehicle for 20 consecutive years.

The Ranger isn't as old as the HiLux, having lived a life as a badge-engineered Mazda for many years. Until 2006, the ute was known as the Courier when Ford dropped the postal service sounding name in favour of the Ranger moniker.

While the Ranger hasn't shifted as many units as the HiLux, it is an award-winning vehicle. It's taken a handful of international one-tonner trophies and even knocked its Japanese sparring partner from its perch as the top-selling 4x4 in 2017 and more recently has become the best-selling car in Australia for four months running.

Ford's Everest and Ranger Raptor also share the same mechanical underpinnings, as does the twin-under-the-skin 2023 Volkswagen Amarok.

Ford Ranger vs Toyota HiLux

Using our 4x4 comparison reviews, let's see how the Ranger and HiLux differ and which is best. You can also click pricing below to compare financing repayments for different models.

Ford Ranger

  • Entry model Rangers are more expensive. Prices start from $36,880 for a Ford Ranger XL Hi-Rider 2.0L Diesel Single Cab Cab Chassis RWD.
  • The Ranger engine line-up is more efficient and powerful. The Ford Ranger is available with a choice of a frugal 2-litre four-pot single or bi-turbo diesel or a larger, throaty 3-litre V6 with either a single turbo or twin-turbo setup. RWD models with the smaller bi-turbo engine use just 6.9 litres of fuel per 100km. The larger 3 in 2WD guise burns 8.4 litres per 100km and up to 11.5L for the big bopper V6 twin-turbo.
  • One of the best handling utes on the market. Handling wise, motoring journalists said the Ranger was one of the best available. Testers said it feels solid and planted, even when lugging loads around.
  • A Ranger will hold its own off the pavement. Off-road, it's a bit of a machine too. The HiLux will falter when water levels reach 700mm, while a Ranger can keep going in 800mm deep rivers (850mm for the Raptor).
  • The Ranger is well-appointed. The interior of the Ranger varies depending on the spec you opt for. Base models are intended for use as workhorses and have harder wearing interiors. Even so, entry grade pick-up utes get reverse cameras (and parking sensors), Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control and active safety assists. Higher-end trimmings bring brighter headlamps, upgraded infotainment systems and speakers and built-in sat-nav among other features. Courtesy lighting in the load-bed is a thoughtful, yet useful, inclusion but interestingly they have made the decision to remove the 230v inverter that let you charge tools using a standard plug - a handy feature.
  • The Ranger's styling is more appealing. We are partial to the blocky styling of the Ranger. Its square and chunky design portrays a robust and faithful work truck that looks very similar to the American Ford "Pick-up trucks". The HiLux still looks great, but the design is a little more fussy.
  • The Ranger is well-built. Toyota vehicles have a reputation for being unbreakable, but motoring writers discovered the Ranger is also exceptionally well put together.
  • Ranger is pricey. Reviewers were in consensus that the Ranger is quite pricey, both for servicing costs and the initial purchasing price. Ford promises to limit maintenance costs to $379 on 2024 Ranger models for 4 years (or until 60,000kms). On older 2022 - 2023 models though, servicing prices is slightly cheaper costing $329. Each HiLux service is capped at $290 for the first six services over 3 years or until reaching 60,000km.
  • Intuitive infotainment system. Unlike the Hilux, with its unwieldy infotainment system, journos said the Ford SYNC 4 system in the Ranger is intuitive and a doddle to use.
  • Performance version available. Ford builds a performance version of their ute, the Ranger Raptor. This super ute boasts flared arches, heavy-duty shocks, aggressive tyres and it's the product of a gruelling off-road testing program. Toyota has followed suit, with their Rogue and more recently GR HiLux, but it hasn't been as highly received as the blue oval's premium ute.
  • V6 Option. The lastest Ranger ute offers up two more option for customers in the form of a 184kW, 600Nm which might interest those who are towing caravans frequently. The second option is the more performance focussed 3-litre V6 turbo diesel which outputs 292Kw and 583Nm.

Toyota HiLux

How does the Toyota HiLux shape-up next to the Ranger?

  • Cheaper entry point. Prices start from $26,475 driveaway for a base model Toyota HiLux WorkMate. That's a good $10,000 cheaper than the lowest-priced Ranger.
  • Option of a petrol engine. Unlike the Ranger, you can still buy a petrol-powered HiLux. By modern standards, journalists felt this engine was underpowered and lacked performance.
  • HiLux diesels generally have less power and torque. Toyota also manufactures a 2.4-litre diesel that outputs waves of torque and power, but reviewers preferred the 2.8-litre diesel. One thing critics picked up on was that the engine doesn't output as much power compared to rivals like the Ranger. Per litre, the 2.8-litre HiLux diesel produces 150Kw to make a total of 500Nm. Peak torque is delivered across a very useable 1,600-2,400RPM. By comparison, the new Ford 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel produces more power at 154kW and more torque as well as 500Nm (250Nm per litre of displacement), albeit over a slightly narrower and higher band of 1,750-2,000rpm.
  • Poor fuel economy. The best of Toyota's HiLux models only manages 7.9L/100km on paper, while the equivalent body style Ranger with a 2.0-litre diesel uses over half a litre per kilometre less at only 6.9L/100km combined.
  • Mixed bag comfort. Testers found the HiLux less comfortable on longer journeys, with a firm ride that translates juddering into the cabin.
  • Both seem well matched off-road. Off-road, the HiLux is good, with superior ground clearance (minimum of 277mm against 229mm) and an improved 30° (31° on some models) approach angle versus Ford's best of 29°. However, the Ranger can wade 100mm (800mm total) deeper into water and has a slightly steeper departure angle of 28°, meaning the HiLux is more likely to ground out leaving slopes. Both utes with a 4x4 transmission have similar electronic systems and conventional RWD high, 4WD high and 4WD low. Both the HiLux and 4x4 Rangers come with a locking rear diff as standard, although lower-end WorkMate HiLux models don't get this feature. Hill descent control is standard on the Ranger, where you have to purchase a slightly more expensive HiLux to get that included by default.
  • HiLux is cheaper to service and run. The HiLux also edges out the Ranger on servicing costs. A HiLux service is fixed at $240 for the first 36 months or 60,000km of ownership. A basic Ranger service will set you back $299 for each dealer service, and on older versions, it's even more!
  • HiLux doesn't look as good. While we're used to the look of the HiLux now, it isn't as well styled as the American-looking, tough-looking Ranger.
  • Well built. You cannot deny the HiLux is well constructed. In fact, some reviewers likened the interior plastics to having the quality of a fine oak.
  • Top spec luxury HiLux is cheaper. The Toyota HiLux Rogue's drive-away cost is $76,530 for postcode 2000, while the previous range-topper, the Wildtrak is ever so slightly cheaper ($47) at $76,577. But the latest generation Ranger has introduced a new ranger topper which is well and truley more expensive, priced at $87,907 or $11,377 more expensive. Keep in mind that both brands also have performance utes in the GR HiLux and Ranger Raptor.

What is the towing capacity of the Ford Ranger vs Toyota HiLux?

Here are the key things you need to know if you plan to be towing frequently.

Specification2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak (2.0L Bi-Turbo)2023 Ford Ranger Wildtrak (3.0L V6 Turbo-Diesel)
Power (kW)150 kW154 kW184 kW
Torque (Nm)500 Nm500 Nm600 Nm
Towing Capacity (kg)3,500 kg3,500 kg3,500 kg
Payload (kg)854 kg951 kg966kg kg
Tare Mass (kg)2,100-2,200 kg2,200-2,300 kg2,200-2,300 kg

Verdict: Which is best, the Ford Ranger or the Toyota HiLux?

Comparing the specs and reviews for both the Ford Ranger ute and the Toyota HiLux pick-up, the new Ranger edges it out. Which isn't as surprising as it once would have been with Australian buyers voting with their wallets and the Ranger becoming the benchmark in sales.

The HiLux has a tough-as-old-boots image associated with it, plus generally favourable reports on reliability. It is still very sure-footed off-road, but less of an all-rounder. It isn't as fuel efficient, it isn't as powerful and Rangers come with somewhat better interior features and gadgets.

When it comes to summing it up I would say that the The HiLux reminds me abit of Lionel Messi, whose footballing journey is marked by extraordinary consistency, vision, and an almost supernatural ability to navigate the pitch. Like Messi, the HiLux is celebrated for its reliability and the way it makes difficult tasks look effortless, building a legacy built on unmatched skill and dedication. The Ranger, on the other hand, reminds me a bit of Kylian Mbappé, a prodigy whose speed, agility, and flair signify a new era in football. Mbappé, much like the Ranger, is about embracing the new, and pushing the limits of what's possible with fresh ideas and groundbreaking performance.

While Messi's genius is in his timeless artistry, Mbappé represents the bold future of football.

Compare financing options

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Name Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate (p.a.) Application Fee Monthly Fee Monthly Repayment
OurMoneyMarket New Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $2,001 - $75,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.57%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.19%
to 21.78%
Application Fee
$250
min.
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$622.82
Go to siteMore Info
Verified Lending Used Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $10,000 - $200,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.1%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8.06%
to 22.99%
Application Fee
$395
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$630.67
Go to siteMore Info
NRMA New Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $5,000 - $130,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.29%
to 16.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8%
to 17.77%
Application Fee
$499
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$635.67
Go to siteMore Info
Note: Take out a loan for an eligible electric vehicle and receive a 1.5% discount on your personalised interest rate (interest rates start from 5.79% p.a. and comparison rates from 6.49% p.a.)
RACV New Car Loans
Fixed1 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.29%
to 16.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8%
to 17.77%
Application Fee
$499
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$635.67
Go to siteMore Info
You'll receive a fixed rate from 7.29% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
loans.com.au - New - Variable Rate Special
Variable3 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.24%
to 7.74%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.36%
to 8.85%
Application Fee
$400
Monthly Fee
$8
Monthly Repayment
$630.83
Go to siteMore Info
OurMoneyMarket Used Car Loan - No Vehicle Age Limit
Fixed1 - 7 Years $2,001 - $75,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
6.57%
to 18.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
7.19%
to 21.78%
Application Fee
$250
min.
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$622.82
Go to siteMore Info
NRMA Used Car Loan
Fixed1 - 7 Years $5,000 - $130,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
8.49%
to 16.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
9.21%
to 17.77%
Application Fee
$499
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$647.01
Go to siteMore Info
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.49% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
loans.com.au - Variable Rate Used Car < 5 years
Variable3 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
7.74%
to 7.74%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
8.85%
to 8.99%
Application Fee
$400
Monthly Fee
$8
Monthly Repayment
$644.82
Go to siteMore Info
RACV Used Car Loans
Fixed1 - 7 Years $5,000 - $150,000
Interest Rate (p.a.)
8.49%
to 16.99%
Comp. Rate (p.a.)
9.21%
to 17.77%
Application Fee
$499
Monthly Fee
$0
Monthly Repayment
$647.01
Go to siteMore Info
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.49% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, 5-hour approval and a 21-day satisfaction guarantee. Interest rate discounts for members.
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