One of the last deliveries for Ford’s most important model. With the launch of the current Ranger in 2012 and a new one on the way, the blue oval needed something to keep it fresh and attractive in its old age.
Enter FX4 Max, which takes elements from the wildly popular Ranger Raptor and puts them in a different package. It has been designed to be a more off-road capable vehicle straight from the factory, with mechanical and cosmetic changes that many owners add themselves through aftermarket sources.
The FX4 Range makes it an in-house job that will be of great interest to a lot of people who don’t know the best place to start modifying their new ute.
On the outside there’s a new ‘FOR-D’ grille, which is similar but slightly different to the one on the Raptor, plus body-mounted metal ‘circle’ side ladders, matte-black sports bars and in-tray lighting.
Underneath there are shocks, new wheels and tires, but that will be discussed later.
Does it have a racing pedigree?
The FX4 Max gets a few key upgrades from the Raptor, which is taken from the backdrop of Ford’s Baja 1000 off-road racing. Most notable of these are the Fox shocks, which provide superior off-road performance thanks to lessons learned from racing through the desert.
What’s under the hood?
Power comes from the same engine as the Raptor as well, with Ford’s twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That delivers the same 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque in the FX4 Max so it feels just as fast on the road as its big brother.
While it may be small in size, it’s a fine machine, with enough grunt to tow the Ranger with ease and confidence. It’s strong enough to tow up to 3500kg, which will be important to many buyers.
However, while the 2.0-liter bi-turbo is being carried over to the new Ranger models, the fact Ford is offering the new 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel is a sign that many buyers will want a bigger engine with more grunt.
How does the Ford Ranger handle?
The FX4 Max isn’t just a special edition sticker pack, Ford is focused on delivering a true off-road performance boost. That’s why it got a complete suspension rework including the addition of 2.0-inch Fox monotube shock absorbers and 20mm lift. Ford Australian engineers tested the FX4 Max in a variety of new off-road conditions to ensure better handling.
It also uses 32-inch BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires wrapped in 17-inch alloy wheels that look brand new.
These changes also help with on-road handling, with noticeable improvements to the way it handles the bumps and imperfections you’ll find when driving around town. However, the FX4 Max doesn’t get all the same upgrades as the Raptor so it doesn’t ride as well as the flagship. One specific example is the steering, which is heavier and less direct than what you’ll find on the Raptor.
Where would you most like to drive it?
Unfortunately the recent bad weather on Australia’s east coast didn’t allow us to safely test the FX4 Max’s enhanced off-road prowess, so that’s where we were eager to explore its potential.
While the Raptor is designed for high-speed off-roading, the FX4 Max (at least on paper) appears to be built to tackle slower but equally challenging terrain, such as rocky trails or muddy trails.
What’s the interior like?
For starters, you climb into the cabin on the FX4 Max’s special side steps, which are not only practical but also good looking. Once inside, you are greeted with new all-weather floor mats and unique chairs trimmed with Miko suede inserts and branded ‘FX4 Max’.
The rest of the interior is similar to what you’ll find in the rest of the Ranger lineup, which is just as good as any double-cab cabin on sale today (even if the upcoming new Ranger does make a big leap forward).
There’s one additional change specifically for the FX4 Max, a small panel of six additional switches at the top of the dashboard. This makes it easy for any aftermarket accessories and equipment you might want to add to make your FX4 Max more off-road capable, such as light bars, spotlights, winches, etc. It is powered by a 250A alternator to help reduce strain on the battery.
How much does the Ford Ranger FX4 Max cost?
Starting at $66,190 (plus on-road costs), positioned effectively alongside the 2.0-liter bi-turbo Ranger Wildtrak (from $66,090). It also makes it significantly cheaper than the Raptor X, which starts at $79,390.
Will I buy one?
I would have considered it a year ago, but with the new-generation Ranger just months away – and offering a new 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel option – I’d rather wait.
That’s not to say the Ranger FX4 Max isn’t worth considering, because if you want a vehicle with serious off-road credentials, a powerful engine, and a well-organized cab, then it’s well worth adding to your shopping list.
Ford Ranger FX4 Max 2022 price and specifications
|Price:||From $66,190 plus on-road fees|
|Machine:||2.0 liter four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel|
|Power:||157kW at 3750rpm|
|torque:||500Nm at 1750rpm|
|Transmission:||10-speed automatic four-wheel drive|
|Wheel:||alloy 17 inch|