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The Ford Ranger is has become an iconic bakkie on South African roads. It’s manufactured locally and shipped to international markets – 100, in fact.
To keep the range fresh, limited-edition models have been introduced during its current lifecycle. The customers like their unique appeal and offering.
I review the Ranger FX with a sporty black mesh grille, black mirrors and door handles, black 18-inch alloy wheels, extended-leg tubular sports bar and a practical drop-in bedliner with a 12-volt power socket. Its premium cabin features a soft-touch leather-trimmed dashboard, along with leather for the steering wheel, gear lever and seats – all finished with striking red stitching. FX4 logos embossed on front seats add further flair.
Perhaps most notable, for which the FX4 spearheads, is the launch of FordPass Connect on all Ranger XL, XLS, XLT, Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor models. This innovative remote command and control functionality through the FordPass app (and run through your smartphone) gives you command of your Ranger in the palm of your hand.
Black mirrors and door handles add to the upmarket image, which is further reinforced by the eye-catching 18-inch multi-spoke black alloy wheels that replace the 17-inch versions fitted on the XLT. Bold red ‘FX4’ decals located at the base of the front doors, along with a 3D ‘FX4’ badge on the tailgate, elevate this model’s special status in the Ranger portfolio.
The rear load compartment boasts several FX4-specific enhancements too. Most notably is the tubular sports bar with extended legs that gives this Ranger an even sportier demeanour, while adding further practicality to the load box – particularly for carrying bicycles, canoes or other gear for sporting or working applications.
A drop-in bedliner protects the bin from damage during everyday use, with six cargo tie-down points provided for securely fastening loads being hauled. A practical 12-volt power socket is provided in the bedliner, which is ideal for powering a portable fridge or other accessories. Two further 12-volt sockets are in the front of the cabin and an additional socket is provided for rear-seat occupants.
In keeping with the Ranger FX4’s dynamic styling, it is available in five distinctive colour choices: Sea Grey, Frozen White, Race Red, Agate Black and Moondust Silver.
The FX4 has a high level of standard specification, including dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless Passive Entry and Passive Start, a rear-view parking camera, and front and rear sensors to aid manoeuvrability in tight parking spaces.
SYNC®3 is standard on the FX4, incorporating voice activation, an eight-inch touchscreen colour display, two USB ports and Bluetooth. SYNC®3 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.
FordPass is an app that customers can download on their smartphones, allowing command and control of various vehicle functions remotely once the app has been paired with their Ranger. The app communicates with the FordPass Connect modem that is embedded within the vehicle, regardless of where they are – if both the smartphone and the vehicle have internet connectivity.
This makes it possible to lock and unlock the doors, start the engine to activate the climate control system, find the vehicle’s location, and even access information such as fuel level and oil life. The FordPass app also allows the driver to search for available parking within South Africa, find Ford dealers across the country, schedule maintenance and servicing bookings, keep track of past and future services, and view the vehicle’s warranty information.
Furthermore, the FordPass app enables direct access to Ford’s Roadside Assistance service, which is included as standard on all new Ford models, including the Ranger, for three years with no mileage limit. It also provides online access to the owner’s manual and tutorial videos on key features, while FordPass Connect enables seamless over-the-air updates for the vehicle’s software.
The FordPass app has also been developed for use on Ranger models produced from 2017 onwards, providing selected vehicle, warranty and maintenance details, as well as the available search functions for dealers, fuel stations and parking. However, without the embedded FordPass Connect modem, the command-and-control functions are not available.
As with the existing Ranger XLT derivatives, the FX4 is powered by Ford’s impressive 2.0-litre Single Turbo diesel engine, which produces 132kW of power and a substantial 420Nm of torque. It is matched to Ford’s advanced 10-speed automatic transmission, which offers conventional automatic, sport and manual shift modes.
Additionally, the Progressive Range Select (PRS) function gives the driver the ability to lock out gears from the automatic shifting range by simply by pressing the ‘+’ or ‘-’ buttons on the gear lever. This offers greater control to suit specific driving conditions – such as when towing or climbing steep gradients, for example.
The Ranger FX4 can be specified in 4x2 or 4x4 models, both of which are equipped with an electronic differential lock as standard. The 4x4 derivative gains shift-on-the-fly engagement of the four-wheel drive system, along with Hill Descent Control.
Additional active safety features include Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Roll-over Mitigation, Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control and ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.
The Ranger FX4 is equipped with a full complement of airbags to protect the occupants in the event of a collision, including dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, plus a driver’s knee airbag. Secure anchorage points are fitted to mount ISOFIX-equipped child seats.
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 10AT 4x2 R618 900
2.0 Single Turbo FX4 10AT 4x4 R687 900
Service and warranty
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. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.
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