Black styling elements ramp up the style in the new Ranger FX4 double cab. Picture: SUPPLIED
Black styling elements ramp up the style in the new Ranger FX4 double cab. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ford Ranger customers are spoiled for choice. The Pretoria-based automaker’s pursuit to plug every possible bakkie gap has resulted in staggering 44 Ranger options.

The new FX4 model launched this week increases the congestion, after the recent introduction of the option to bulletproof some of the models, and a late 2020 introduction of the Ranger XL Sport with enhanced off-road ability.

The FX4 is available in 4x2 and 4x4 guises. The two-wheel-drive version is based on the XLT spec and is pitched between the R588,900 XLT 4x2 and the R723,900 Wildtrak 4x2.

“But think of it as a Wildtrak-light,” says product communications specialist Felix Sebata, in a move to simplify the now perplexing mix.

The FX4 gets soft-touch materials to craft the dashboard and its cushy black leather-lined seats have contrasting red stitches with FX4 stamped onto the front seats’ upholstery.

The luxury vibe continues with its digital suite of conveniences which include FordPass, a new standard fitment connectivity portal that remotely links upper-spec Rangers (XL, XLS, XLT, Wildtrak and Raptor) with owners through a smartphone app. When activated you can lock, unlock and even start the Ranger (automatics only) from afar while also able to get a glimpse of the fuel supply left in the tank.

But it doesn’t alert you to breaches in security or call in an emergency should you be involved in an accident. Ford SA says this capability is likely to be introduced in the coming years.

Ford's FX4 is based on the XLT spec but has near Wildtrak levels of comfort and amenities. Picture: SUPPLIED
Ford's FX4 is based on the XLT spec but has near Wildtrak levels of comfort and amenities. Picture: SUPPLIED

The FX4 also scores the 132kW and 420Nm single turbo-diesel motor that is exclusively mated to a 10-speed automatic. It eschews some of the really clever stuff available on the Wildtrak model, such as radar-cruise control that enables the vehicle to self-throttle or brake in line with a car ahead.

It’s not a bad score in the FX4. The bakkie rides sumptuously enough over varied surfaces, while performance is gutsy to make easy meals out of distances and small mountains.

It’s also easy to understand the practical and emotional appeal offered by the FX4 given physical panache through black 18-inch alloys, grille, body stickers and a pair of black sports bars that run along the flanks of its load bin. The all-terrain tyres and a 4x4 option make it unashamedly rugged when introduced to inhospitable earth.

Modern rock-climbing tech such as Hill-Decent Control combines well with faithful old rear diff-lock to tame challenges. Additional features include stability control, roll-over mitigation, trailer sway control, and ABS brakes with emergency brake assist.

Dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags plus a driver’s knee airbag offer multiple cushions in the event of a crash, while Isofix-equipped child seats ready it for family duty.

The Ranger FX4 comes standard with a four-year/120,000km warranty and a six-year/90,000km service plan.         

PRICING
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 auto 4x2 — R618,900
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 auto 4x4 — R687,900

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