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Raptor-inspired Ford Ranger FX4 Max

Tough new ute joins the Ranger lineup with a unique set of towing and off-road abilities from factory.

It’s official – Ford Australia has revealed the FX4 Max for Australia, a much-anticipated model that was expected to be a ‘mini-Raptor’, and it is. But it’s also more than that.

This also looks and sounds a lot like the Tremor released in the US earlier this week, and it is, though it has unique tuning for Australia (performed here) due to its different engine and requirements. And the Tremor name has been dropped in favour of FX4 Max, given the popularity of the FX4 here and the fact it’s more Australian than the F-Truck-based Tremor tag.

While priced cheaper than the Raptor at $65,940 plus on-roads on account of not harnessing the same independent watts-link coil-sprung rear, it has fully revised and lifted suspension, including Fox suspension with separate reservoirs, the same burly BF Goodrich tyres as the Raptor and more.

And a bonus from using that traditional leaf-sprung rear-end arrangement is that it has the normal Ranger 4×4’s 3500kg braked towing and ann almost one-tonne payload capacity of 981kg – exceeding the Ranger Raptor’s capacities, making it a more practical tow and tour car. It is also fitted with a plethora of additions and modifications, such as a six-switch auxiliary console inside the cabin for adding winches, lights and more, sports bars, side steps, underbody protection and other bits of gear.

And as usual, the FX4 Max was tested in Australia including at Ford’s You Yangs proving ground.

“The Ranger FX4 MAX channels the Ranger Raptor with its unique look and stance, while bringing customers both work and play capability with its locally engineered suspension, chassis tuning and unique FOX Shocks,” said Ford Australia president and CEO, Andrew Birkic.

“A factory-finished Ranger, FX4 MAX builds on the previous FX4 to deliver even greater off-road capability, yet adds its own distinctive style and genuine mechanical upgrades for a truly one-of-a-kind Ranger.”

Outside, we see Ranger Raptor inspired parts, such as the FORD lettered grille, matching in colour to the bash plate underneath, mirror caps, door handles and flared wheel arches. On the sides are body-mounted metal ‘hoop’ side steps, and on the tray, a unique sports bar, with lighting inside the tub which also includes a liner. At the rear is a tow bar tucked into the body.

Underneath the wheel arches, we see unique 17×8-inch alloys with 265/70 The BF Goodrich All-Terrain K02 tyres (the same as the Raptor). This provides a +42mm offset and 26mm wider track. The FX4 MAX also includes a matching full-size alloy spare complete with all-terrain tyre.

The suspension is 20mm higher, revised front and rear, with new 2.0-inch monotube Fox shock absorbers; the rear has a remote reservoir. These join tuned coil-springs at the front and a staggered shock arrangement at the rear to manage loads. The leaf springs have also been tuned to provide greater compliance off-road. Completing the suspension upgrades are new lock-stop profile steering knuckles, new front jounce bumpers and a 29mm front stabiliser bar.

 Overall, the ride height increase 31mm over the standard XLT for a total ground clearance at 256mm.

This gives the FX4 MAX greater approach and departure angles than Ranger XLT:

 

Approach angle               31 degrees

Breakover angle              25 degrees

Departure angle              23 degrees

Ground Clearance           256mm

“Our goal with the suspension was to extend Ranger’s off-road capabilities, and we started with the basics: suspension travel, vehicle track and shock damping capability,” said Tony Tsiandikos, Ford Chassis Engineering Manager.

“The changes mean greater control of the vehicle in more aggressive terrain. As well of course as testing at our Proving Ground in the You Yangs, we took the FX4 Max through its paces, from the Victorian High Country to South Australia, and we’re confident that these are the very places that FX4 Max customers will take their own vehicles – it had to cut the mustard, no question, in our playground.”

Powering the Ranger is Ford’s newest 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, producing 157kW and 500Nm through a 10-speed automatic transmission which includes a lock-out feature to hold specific gears when towing (max 3500kg braked).

Inside we see new carbon-accents with ‘Miko’ suede trim material and FX4 MAX embroidered on the seats. In the footwell are metal sports pedal, like the Raptor has, and there are unique door trims. Central to the dash is the usual 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the Sync3 system with standard sat-nav. On top of this, we see a six-switch auxiliary hub that can be used for wiring in additional powered accessories, likes winches, fridges and light bars. To support power devices in addition to usual loads, the FX4 MAX features a specific 250A alternator.

Other features include Ford Ranger’s AEB with Pedestrian Detection, the new FordPass Connect embedded modem for use with a mobile app (start your car form anywhere etc), as well as dual-zone climate control, Lane Keep Assist and a full-colour, high resolution reversing camera. Being an original Ford product, it is covered by the full factory five-year warranty and is covered by Ford’s service benefits program with a service loan car, club membership, and more.

The Ford Ranger 4×4 FX4 MAX will be available in Australia from ‘late 2020’.

2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max pricing:

FX4 Max 4×4 double-cab – $65,940

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae