FORD RANGER FX4 SPECIAL EDITION
FORD RANGER FX4 3.2 TDCI D/C 4×4 SPECIAL EDITION
A Raptor kit with a warranty
IN THE LOCAL BAKKIE WARS, FORD’S RANGER AND THE TOYOTA HILUX REGULARLY EXCHANGE SALES BLOWS TO CAPTURE THE HEARTS, AND WALLETS, OF SA’S DIE-HARD TRUCK FANS. TRYING TO KEEP ‘EM ROLLING OFF THE SHOWROOM FLOORS, FORD RECENTLY INTRODUCED THE SPECIAL EDITION RANGER FX4 WITH SOME OF THE ACCESSORIES THAT CUSTOMERS WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE GONE TO THE AFTERMARKET TO FIND. BERNIE HELLBERG TESTED IT IN THE URBAN JUNGLE.
Like most local automakers, Ford is feeling the pinch of a stagnating economy and needs to continually innovate to stay ahead of the sales game. For the hugely popular Ranger double cab bakkie, the innovation has come in the form of an XLT 4x4-based special edition called the FX4. Fans of Ford’s US pick-ups will be familiar with this moniker, as it first appeared on Ford’s best-selling F-150 as a special off-road option package.
Basically a cosmetically enhanced 3.2-litre XLT 4x4 double cab, the Fx4 is available in either six-speed manual or automatic guise, with no added mechanical improvements.
The Fx4 kit is a R15,000 option added on top of the manual’s retail price of R586,900, or the auto’s R601,900.
For that money, the Fx4 gets a number of black exterior finishes, including for the front grille, fog lamp bezels, sidemirror caps, roof rails, door handles and the tailgate handle.
Under that fancy dress is the same highly competent bakkie that South Africans have grown to love. Its sturdy ladderframe chassis rides high on a relatively long 3,220 mm wheelbase. And with an overall length of 5,426 mm and a width of 1,860 mm, the Ranger has an imposing size and stance tailor-made for hard work or adventure.
The load bed is 1,549 mm long with 1,139 mm between the wheel arches and is finished with a fitted black liner and exterior Fx4 decals.
The Fx4 obviously retains the XLT’s impressive off-road credentials that include 237 mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 29 degrees, departure angle of 21 degrees, a 25-degree rampover angle and a class-benchmark wading depth of 800 mm.
Shod with a set of ‘Panther Black’ 17” rims, the Fx4 carries the darkened theme through to the side steps, sports bar, and rear bumper. There are also satin black bonnet and tailgate decal wraps.
The black highlights extend into the interior as well, along with carpets and leather-accented seats with embossed FX4 logos. Being XLT based, the FX4 also gets Ford’s latest SYNC3 communication and entertainment interface controlled by a big 8” touchscreen that includes satellite navigation, and access to Apple Siri and Google Now, Spotify, Pandora and Google Maps through compatible devices and apps.
Generally speaking, the cabin is as quiet and comfortable as you’re likely going to get on a truck of this size. Although road noise and wind noise aren’t intrusive, you’re always aware of the outside environment, and the engine regularly reminds you of its presence too.
Storage options available within the FX4’s smart and functional cabin include bottle holders and storage pockets in the base of both front doors, an inset storage tray in the centre dash-pad, a centre console with front storage cubby, two cup holders, and a lidded storage box.
POWER & DRIVE
The venerable 3.2-litre in-line fivecylinder turbodiesel is one of the great bakkie engines of its time. It’s an effortless heavy-duty engine that delivers 147 kW at 3,000 r/min and a generous 470 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 r/min.
The six-speed automatic transmission is also well suited to this role, with ratios and shift calibrations tailored to get the best performance from this engine. It also has a sequential manual-shift function with the ability to hold a chosen gear, which can be most handy in some situations like towing a sizeable load through hilly country.
Overall it is hard to fault the Ranger, while it is easy to see why 2,337 buyers decided to take one home during September this year. Numerous safety systems are a natural part of the Ranger XLT 4x4 experience, as is an excellent four-year/120,000 km warranty and the peace of mind that Ford maintains a massive dealer network across the country.
If the extra cash is no problem, and you would have added an after-market ‘Raptor kit’ to your Ranger anyway, then upgrading to the fancy Fx4 is a no-brainer.