DThe Hilux is no longer seen, but the Ranger now has a full-time 4×4. Although – luckily for you – only on V6 models, so you’re out of it for now. But the clock is ticking.
If you want the best, a part-time 4×4 doesn’t cut the mustard. Check out our stablemate Land Cruiser, Toyota’s premium 4×4 showroom only.
To be perfectly fair, there’s nothing particularly wrong with a part-time 4×4. It works and has been working since day one. And, it has fewer moving parts than a full-time 4×4, and fewer parts move more time. But it still falls short of a full-time 4×4 in key measures of safety, drivability and user-friendliness.
Until the 2022 Ranger, of the mainstream utes, only the Amarok and Triton offered full-time 4×4. With the Amarok, it’s only with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a single-speed transfer case (not that it needs a low range thanks to its cleverly tweaked torque converter), while only the latest Triton Models offer full-time 4×4. Through their unusual ‘Super Select’ transfer case (a copy of Jeep’s Slack Track system) that offers rear-wheel drive only.
Essential mechanical differences between a part-time 4×4 and a full-time 4×4 A full-time 4×4 requires a third and center differential, while a part-time 4×4 only has two axle differentials.
A full-time center differential allows all four wheels to drive at all times, even on high-traction surfaces. Do it long enough with a part-time 4×4 system and you’ll break it.
If there is a sudden and unexpected change in available traction, four-wheel drive is far better.
All-wheel drive at all times means no “should I engage 4WD now or is 2WD okay” thoughts as the driving environment changes and traction conditions deteriorate.
It is not as simple as being ‘on-road’ or ‘off-road’ as there is a full and continuous spectrum of driving environments where infinite variations in weather meet infinite variations in road surface.
In all this mix, the advantage of a full-time 4×4 over a part-time 4×4 is usually taken on wet bitumen or concrete roads, but this advantage obviously extends to any unsealed road, and if it It is wet. For towing in the wet, a full-time 4×4 is a no-brainer.
In part-time 4×4, when the road is wet enough to be really slippery, you can engage 4×4 without fear of damaging the transfer case but it’s an important decision when you’re best concentrating on the road!
Experienced and confident drivers may not see this as a problem, but not everyone is so blessed. And even if you’re an experienced driver, four-wheel drive is much better if there’s a sudden and unexpected change in available traction, such as water flowing over the corner of a blind mountain sealed road or, especially, Slippery Patch in an otherwise good traction unsealed road.
Part-time 4x4s also have an inherent design compromise in having to make the rear drivetrain components (driveshaft, diff and axle) strong enough to take 100 percent of the engine’s torque output, while full-time With the system these components can be built with 50 percent less power, and therefore lighter, and still be just as comfortable handling the engine’s output.
Given the components in question all contribute to unsprung mass, the weight reduction here yields significant gains in handling and ride quality – especially on rougher and steeper roads – that Charles Spencer King pioneered in the original Range Rover. (in 1970) was not lost when designing. ) complete with its game-changing full-time 4×4. Optimizing the steering geometry of a 4×4 that can either drive only the rear wheels or all four wheels is a compromise.
Interestingly, in its PR on the new Ranger, Ford doesn’t promote the V6’s full-time 4×4 as hard as you might think it might be … perhaps four-cylinder Rangers are still part-time 4×4?
As for Toyota and its Hilux, the good news is that the full-time 4×4 is about as close as the Prado, with which it already shares many key components. And in key ways, the Prado’s full-time 4×4 system is better than the new Ranger’s.
It’s simpler (a mechanical center differential rather than an electronic clutch center differential) and doesn’t bother with a 2WD option, which seems more marketing than engineering good sense on Ford’s part.