Built like a rhino, blinged up like Francois Hougaard and drives like an SUV – Ford’s Ranger Fx4


Come chat with me on twitter or Instagram @DanielCalbacho

 

I’ve said it before: I’m not really a bakkie (pick-up) kind of guy. To me, their existence seemed reserved for those whose life and work required a vehicle that is a workhorse. Capable vehicles but rudimentary to drive by comparison to a sedan or hatchback. But I guess that isn’t the point.

The more I drive, the more I’m changing my option.

Bakkie buyers have the choice of either a Toyota Hilux, VW Amarok, Isuzu KB, Nissan Navara, Ford’s Ranger, the Italian option – Fiat’s Fullback and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

I’m told they sell thousands of them. Yes, thousands. In fact, the Hilux sales make up a major percentage of Toyota’s total units sold. That’s a good thing you see – because, like Toyota, Ford also manufactures the Ranger range in South Africa at their Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, while the Duratorq TDCi engines are manufactured at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, two of 66 Ford plants placed around the globe. It is nice knowing that if you buy a Ranger or Hilux, which both sell in high numbers, you’re supporting the local economy. Ford also exports the Ranger from South Africa to 148 markets in Africa and Europe.

When the new limited-edition Double Cab, the Fx4, arrived for me to review, I immediately noticed its mass – it’s big. Impressive in its stature, the Ranger double cab sits both wide and tall on its chunky off-road takkies. From the front, the 2018 facelifted Ranger has left its bad-boy Eurocentric facial features behind and replaced it with an all-American look. It looks strapping. It’s got a proper American truck look about it that we’ve seen in movies for years.

Customisable with a variety of models available, the Ranger can be toned down to a basic functional vehicle or blinged up to the eye-catching Wildtrak. The Fx4 is a new addition to the pack. Its unique value proposition incorporates several styling changes, including distinctive black finishes for the radiator grille, fog lamp bezels, exterior mirrors, roof rails, as well as the door and tailgate handles.

Its 17-inch alloy wheels are also finished in a Panther Black. The same colour is adopted for the side steps, rear bumper and special Fx4 tubular sports bar located in the load bay – the latter protected by a fitted bed liner. To round off the design, unique Fx4 decals are applied on the sides and rear tailgate.

The Ranger Fx4 is exclusively available in four colour choices: Frozen White, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Panther Black. The limited-edition Ranger Fx4 is only available on 4x4 derivatives. It can be ordered with the six-speed manual or automatic transmission options.

The Fx4 features the latest-generation SYNC®3 with a Navigation infotainment system. This incorporates all the benefits of the innovative SYNC®3 system introduced last year, with the addition of a comprehensive suite of integrated navigation functions accessible via the 8-inch touch screen and a wide range of voice commands.

It is quiet, too - engineers fitted the new Ranger with advanced sound-deadening materials and improved insulation for one of the quietest and most comfortable cabin interiors in its class.

As you would imagine, the Ranger is a great off-roader with an exceptional 800mm water wading depth and 230mm of ground clearance. It is designed and engineered to handle the most extreme terrains with ease. It is also capable of carrying up to 3 500kg - an impressive payload capacity!

There are about 30 derivatives of the Ranger. Driven either by Ford’s mighty 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine that tops the range with 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque or an economical mid-power 2.2 Duratorq TDCi engine. The revised 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi benefits from a raft of upgrades in the interests of performance, refinement and efficiency. The peak outputs of the high-power derivative climb from 110kW on the previous model to 118kW, while torque is boosted by 10Nm to an impressive 385Nm. A less powerful version of the same engine, available in certain models, produces 88kW and 285Nm.

Depending on the model derivative, the new Ranger is equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, or a five-speed manual on the mid-output diesel and petrol versions.

 

 Pro’s

§  Great looking.

§  A solid build.

§  Hi-tech interior.

§  Large model selection.

§  Quiet.

§  Capable workhorse.

 

Con’s

§  Firm day-to-day ride.

§  Thirsty fuel consumption (3.2). I recorded a figure of 11.8l/100km with a combined highway and urban driving cycle.

 

Pricing

Pricing ranges from R260 400 for the 2.2l Ranger Bakkie and tops out at R633 500 for the 3.2l Double Cab 4x4 Wildtrak Automatic.

 

Fx4 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 6MT 4x4   R593 900

Fx4 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 6AT 4x4    R608 900

 

Service and warranty

All models are sold with a 4-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, 5-year/100 000km service plan (excluding Base derivatives), 3-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.

Service intervals are every 20 000km on both petrol and diesel derivatives. All 4x4 vehicles sold include a free 4x4 training course.

 

My choice

2.2l Double Cab XLT Automatic.

www.ford.co.za

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