The Star Late Edition

Putting the Ford Ranger FX4 to the test


ONE thing’s for certain, we won’t have to look very hard for our long-term Ford Ranger FX4 in any parking lot.

Ford calls it Racing Red and if you think Ferrari you’re spot on which is why when I registered it on the FordPass Connect App and it asked me for the car’s nickname it duly became the “Kalahari Ferrari”.

The app allows you to lock and unlock doors remotely, start the engine remotely to run 15 minutes before climb in, which had a friend’s young twins fascinated because I could stand upstairs and with a few magic words get it to run, find its location, find a dealer, check fluid levels, find parking and gives you direct access to Ford’s roadside assistance. And if you have a decent connection you can update vehicle software wirelessly.

It’s based on the XLT 2.0-litre single turbo with a couple of strategic addons that sets it apart from its sibling.

It seems black is all the rage when it comes to car “adaptation­s” so it comes with a black grille with integrated LED headlights and daytime running lights, black side mirrors, door handles and black 18-inch alloys. In the case of our long-termer the “Kalahari Ferrari” has black FX4 decals strategica­lly placed on the bodywork.

The load bay sports a tubular sports bar, drop-in bedliner and a 12-volt socket to power a fridge, compressor or any other leisure equipment if you use the FX4 for what it’s intended for. I see Ford have also added two extra tie-down points which makes securing things in the back a lot easier and more practical than just four, placed front and back.

Behind the steering wheel the interior says anything but bakkie and for me the star of the show is the softtouch leather-trimmed dashboard with red stitching. The FX4 is fitted with the 2.0-litre single turbo variant and I believe it’s Ford’s sweet spot in the range. It delivers 132kW and 420Nm via Ford’s by now familiar 10-speed automatic transmissi­on that also offers a sport setting and manual shifts.

I did the school run for a week and was pleasantly surprised by the FX4’s fuel consumptio­n at 8.7l/100km. I haven’t yet taken it on a proper off-road trail but will be doing so soon although I would have preferred a more off-road bias all-terrain tyre with less risk to punctures and sidewall damage.

Let’s see how it goes. We’ll keep you updated in Drive 360 and IOL Motoring. |

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