Dressed to thrill

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					tOw test

                      Mazda BT-50
                      Ford Ranger
                                Dressed to thrill
words by Godfrey Castle. Photos by Mark samuel.

the Mazda Drifter Bt-50 and Ford               bigger 3.0-litre turbo-diesel power     badging, radiator grills, different
                                               plants which means they should          headlights, soft furnishings and
Ranger are almost identical towcars.
                                               rate well up there with the market      chromed or painted rollbars, they’re
what may sway your decision of                 leaders. But they do have an identity   effectively the same vehicle. Both
                                               crisis, which really strikes home       have simply been tailored to meet
which one to buy will probably hinge           when you’re given both models to        different tastes and, arguably,
on whether you’re an extreme sports            test simultaneously.                    different lifestyles. The Mazda
                                                 Confucius says when you want          BT-50 version is aimed at the
fundi or someone who’s more family             more market share and you have          younger extreme sports market,
                                               only one vehicle, you give it a         hence its racier seat upholstery;
orientated.                                    different badge!                        the Ford version is a more family
                                                 I guess that’s called hedging your    orientated bakkie, whose owner
Hedging your bets!                             bets – an ideal theory for when you     builds rugby fields for his unborn
  Make no mistake, these bakkies               don’t know which vehicle is better!     child (see Ford’s TV ad if you don’t
are solid workhorses and dressed to              No matter which bakkie you            know what I’m talking about).
thrill. They’re both now fitted with           choose, underneath the mantle of          So once you’ve run your race in

48   Caravan & Outdoor Life • Dec/Jan 2007/8
                                                                                                                        tOw test

your new Mazda Drifter BT-50, won        is 2 kg more – this really boils down
a life partner, swapped the mountain     to semantics, as both vehicles have            Towing performance
bike for a ride-on lawnmower and a       a maximum recommended towing                   Mazda BT-50 (3.0L CRDi)
caravan, maybe you’ll settle on the      weight of 1 800 kg (the petrol version         Ford Ranger (3.0L CRDi)
new Ford Ranger!                         is 1 600 kg). With this in mind                Jurgens Exclusive
                                         we opted to test it with a Jurgens
Come a long way                          Exclusive once again. We thought               Car specifications
  Bakkies have come a long way           that this combination of towcar                Engine
since they were first introduced         and caravan would bear interesting             Diesel 3-litre Common -rail
as hard-working farm or delivery         results seeing that we’d recently              Tare weight
vehicles. They’ve moved up the           partnered the Exclusive with the               1 798 kg
food chain, becoming a lot more          Hummer H3.                                     Power I.S.O (kW/revs)
expensive, and vacating their original      The drop on the towball with this           115 @ 3 200 rpm
market sector to cheap Chinese           big caravan was 35 mm. We found                Engine torque (N.m/revs)
imports that can get scratched,          that the towball height of 560 mm              380 N.m. @ 1 800 rpm
dented, driven into the ground and       was a bit too high for our liking
thrown away with a “who-cares?”          and therefore suggest fitting an               Caravan
attitude because they’re                 appropriate drop plate. But before             License weight: 1 380 kg
relatively cheap.                        you do this, a tip would be to load            Gross weight: 1 700kg
                                         the heavier camping gear – maybe
                                         the caravan tent – into the rear of the        Acceleration
  “they are comfortable                  vehicle, as it has a firm suspension           0-60 km/h 7.74 sec
     and simplistic”                     and a load would provide both a                0-80 km/h 13.75 sec
                                         softer ride and better towball ride            0-100 km/h 28.34 sec
  The face-lifted Mazda/Ford, apart      height. But as we always say, rather a
from the obvious identity crisis, is a   hard suspension than a soft one. The           Overtaking ability
solid package that now also offers a     rear uses old fashioned, durable leaf          60-80 km/h 6.4 sec
3.0-litre four cylinder diesel engine    springs, and the front is equipped             80-100 km/h 13.7 sec
that develops 115 kW at 3 200 rpm        with modern torsion bars. This set-
and 380 N.m. at 1 800 rpm. Being         up provides for a rigid vehicle – a            Top towing speed
a “big four” cylinder engine, we         combination of serious workhorse               123 km/h
found that these vehicles were not       coupled with the niceties of pleasant
as smooth or quiet as similar diesel     family transport.                              Braking
engines that have more pistons, but                                                     100 km/h – 0 km/h 3.34 sec
the torque generated suits these         Good all round
vehicles for towing purposes.               Though nice to drive, having                Hill climb 200 m height
  The Mazda’s GVM is 6 kg lighter        good all-round visibility, I did find          1 min 44.13 sec over 2 km
than the Ford’s, but its licence mass    it was easy to fluff the gear change
                                                                                        Fuel consumption towing
                                                                                        steady 100 km/h = 15.7 l/100 km

                                                                                        Towball height
                                                                                        Requires three hole drop plate to get
                                                                                        to 560mm
                                                                                        Drop on towball with 80 kg
                                                                                        35 mm
                                                                                        Could use a drop plate to get to
                                                                                        460 mm

                                                                                        Mazda BT-50:         R311 990
                                                                                        Ford Ranger:         R315 900

                                                                                     the Ford has silver double roll-bars, compared to
                                                                                     the Mazda's matt grey single roll-bar.

                                                                                   Dec/Jan 2007/8 • Caravan & Outdoor Life      49
tOw test

spot the difference! On the left is the Mazda, on the right is the Ford.

on the manual 5-speed gearbox.                         won’t fall out that easily if you are     Personally, I suggest you forget
This occurred most frequently when                     driving a Ford, or the quad bike        what the marketing people are saying,
changing from second to third gear                     won’t get damaged if you’re driving     take a look at both these vehicles
under quick gear changes. For some                     the Mazda!                              and decide on which interior you like
reason I always found the gate to third                                                        best. Expect to find an MP3/CD/radio
gear – or didn’t find the gate, for that                                                       sound system and an above-average
matter. Acceleration from zero to 100                                                          interior finish with carefully thought
km/h took 28.34 seconds with the big                                                           out locations for instrumentation
1 700 kg Exclusive, and while towing                                                           and other equipment, depending on
up Ou Kaapse Weg we clocked 1 min                                                              which model you choose. They are
44 sec - not at all shabby, and in fact                                                        also available in four-wheel-drive and
quicker than the bigger petrol engine                                                          different cab options. The 3.0-litre
Hummer H3!                                                                                     diesel models tested here are priced at
  I would rate this particular Mazda/                                                          R311 990 for the Mazda and
Ford model as the finest of the range                                                          R315 900 for the Ford. According
to date; both vehicles are comfortable                                                         to NAAMSA, which monitors new
and simplistic. The 3.0-litre diesel has                                                       vehicle sales in South Africa, the Ford
been too long in coming, and yes, you                                                          “Mazda” version outsells the Mazda
have a choice in style. There are                                                              “Mazda” version. Yes, we agree,
higher side walls on the loading                                                               Confucius says…
bay - again so that your lawnmower

50     Caravan & Outdoor Life • Dec/Jan 2007/8

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