Get set for a fresh V6 battle between Hilux, Ranger and Amarok on top of the bakkie pile

The top end of the bakkie world is about to go to V6 war. With the exception of that ill-fated Mercedes effort, the standalone Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI’s only present V6 bakkie threat comes in the form of the thirsty old school normally aspirated Toyota Hilux 4.0 V6 Legend 4×4. But that’s all going to change soon – and dramatically so, too.


The smart money has it that Ford’s new Ranger T6.2 will arrive with not one, but two new V6 offerings — a 185 kW 600 Nm single-turbo 3-litre diesel and a 230 kW 540 Nm 2.7-litre biturbo petrol turning Ford’s now expected 10-speed torque-converter automatics. The diesel, at least, is basically a no brainer for Ranger’s future Amarok twin and considering that biturbo may well already be part of their shared production plan, why not…?

Ford’s port and direct fuel injected 3.5-litre EcoBoost petrol has already been used in a broad variety of applications from the base 280 kW 637 Nm version in the US market Expedition. That one was also used in the F-150 until 2017, but that truck currently uses a 298 kW 651 Nm unit. Versions of the Ford V6 go all the way up to the full cream 482 kW 746 Nm version you will find midships in the latest Ford GT supercar.

And Ford’s latest-spec 186 kW 596 Nm 3-litre PowerStroke 3-litre V6 turbodiesel, also known as the Lion, was originally co-developed by Ford, Peugeot and Citroën some years ago and is still used in some Land Rovers. Recently upgraded when applied to the F-150 with the 10-speed gearbox in 2019, it now has a compacted graphite-iron casting, forged crankshaft and a variable-geometry turbocharger with a common-rail fuel injection.


Of course there is also the option Ford just opting for the existing Amarok V6, which was recently upgraded to 190 to 200 kW with overboost, and 580 Nm. To compete with the ultimately futile threat of the Mercedes X Class V6.

Ford has also just released the 2021 F-150 Hybrid. It’s powered by an all-new 3.5-litre PowerBoost petrol V6 backed up by a 35-kW electric motor that lives inside a special version of Ford’s 10-speed automatic gearbox. That e-motor is fed by a liquid-cooled 1.5-kWh battery that sits underneath the truck, so it does not sacrifice any interior or cargo bed space either. And it contributes to a a 320 kW 775 Nm total output. It would make perfect sense in a Ranger too, no?

But that’s just part of the new V6 bakkie prospect. The other news, while still a little more speculative, seems to make too much sense for us for Toyota not to do. First and foremost, Volkswagen has had the big turbo V6 bakkie market all to itself since Mercedes’ ill fated X sojourn. Of the Mercs, the V6 gained instant favour, but its death warrant was already signed by the time it got here. And the few units that did arrive, were all snapped up.


The Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI remains a steady and impressive seller and there is no doubt that Ford has figured this out and it now wants a piece of the action too. So that’s all going to now happen once Silverton soon starts to churn out next level Rangers, Raptors and Amaroks. But what about Hilux? Do you really think the market leader is simply going to sit back and watch, while its rivals plunder the creamiest part of that market? Nor do we.

But what engines would Toyota use? Well, it’s no secret that the latest Lexus LS 500 recently dropped its good old 285 kW 495 Nm petrol V8 for a significantly friskier all-new 310 kW 600 Nm biturbo V6 that’s 11% more fuel efficient too. In that application, the new blown bent six rushes to 100 km/h in five seconds and returns 8.1 litres per hundred on the open road per 100 km.

Were it to be used in Hilux, the new turbo petrol V6 may well be subtly detuned. But somehow we don’t see Toyota forgetting it’s there, ready and waiting. Especially considering its a good third better on fuel than the slow-selling token atmo 4-litre engine still lingering in the range.


And then there’s the all-new single turbo 3.3-litre Toyota turbodiesel V6 now expected to transplant the old school turbo V8 in the forthcoming Land Cruiser 300. Little is known about this unit as it is not yet in production, but it is said to be good for 200 kW and 650 Nm in that ‘Cruiser get-up. So what better than that to be sitting under the bonnet of a top end next level Hilux Legend? We’d call that the perfect fit.

Don’t forget that Lexus already has that proven and handy 193 kW 330 Nm Multi Stage Hybrid 3.5-litre V6 with two electric motor-generators and a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery as we know it in the Lexus RX450h. So Toyota also has the likely top-end hybrid Hilux need covered too.

All of which may still leave it up to the imagination, but the way we see it, the premium V6 bakkie has to be the next big thing in the car industry. They will cost north of a million bucks, but they will still be cheap compared to rival six-pot SUVs, station wagons and station wagons. And so much more versatile and connected to the South African lifestyle. All of which all seems a no brainer to us!

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