By: Reon Pillay
Johannesburg: Over the past few years, we have seen many derivatives of the Ford Ranger bakkie. For those of you who have lost track, the Ford Ranger FX4 is an upgrade of the XLT model.
Even though there are minor tweaks here and there, the overall aesthetic makes the FX4 much more appealing for those who prefer a more distinctive look. Some of the evident upgrades on the exterior are the bigger black 18-inch alloys, black Ford grille, decals on the sides and black roll bar which all tie in perfectly.
On the inside, the new leather trimmed dashboard with red stitching, carried through to the steering wheel and red embossed logos on the front seats, adds the extra touch the XLT is lacking.
The FX4 also comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless Passive Entry and Passive Start and a rear-view parking camera. SYNC3 is standard on the FX4, incorporating voice activation, an eight-inch touch screen colour display, two USB ports and Bluetooth.
SYNC3 provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of its multimedia and connectivity features, facilitating access to numerous smartphone functions along with popular navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze.
For the past two weeks of our long-term test, I wanted to check if the Ford Ranger FX4 is a versatile and everyday vehicle. The simple answer is “yes”.
One would think that due to its size, the FX4 is meant for only open roads and off-road use, where it does very well, but I was surprised to find that the FX4 is also a “gentle giant”. The fuel consumption you get in daily use is the same as if you were in any smaller hatchback or sedan-type vehicle.
Engine & Transmission
As with the Ranger XLT derivatives, the FX4 is powered by Ford's 2.0-litre Single Turbo diesel engine, which produces 132kW and 420Nm of torque. It is matched to Ford's 10-speed automatic transmission which is what sets Ford apart from the rest. The quick, smooth changes between gears is splendid.
One of the interesting tests was parking between two vehicles at a busy shopping centre. The FX4 passes this easily. It might take an extra back and forth but, with the rear and front park sensors, you get in without other drivers honking for you to hurry on up. In cases where there are no vehicles on either side of you, parking is a breeze.
Even though the FX4 ticks all the boxes as a daily vehicle, the best part of having one of these is that when you are approaching the weekend, you tend to become a bit anxious and start thinking about getting out there, which I did.
I recently started angling and thought this would be a good opportunity to take the FX4 off the tar for a bit. Also being a newbie to outdoor life, all the equipment for a good outing is stored in my 2m trailer just waiting to go. On Heritage Day, we got up early, hooked the trailer on and headed to Roodeplaat Dam in Pretoria for the day.
I often pulled the trailer in my Toyota Fortuner and immediately started looking to compare the two. FX4’s towing capability is just as good.
After testing a few of the Ranger bakkies over the past year, I have become a Ford convert. The Ranger FX4 is probably at the top of my list, mainly because of the price. I would rather spend a little more for the FX4 than going for the XLT and have the extras that you would usually want to add on at a later stage. The FX4 comes in way under the Wildtrack price.
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 10AT 4x2 R618 900
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 10AT 4x4 R687 900
All Ranger models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty and a six year/90 000km service plan.