Ford Australia is set to launch a new off-road focused model called the Ranger FX4 MAX with FOX 2.0 shocks and 32-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain rubber.
The all-new Ford Ranger FX4 MAX – similar in concept to the US-market Ranger Tremor announced earlier this week – will get many features found on the top-spec Ranger Raptor when it launches in late-2020, but instead of Raptor’s bespoke coil-spring rear suspension, the FX4 MAX will retain a leaf-spring rear suspension set-up and a hefty 981kg payload capacity and 3500kg towing capacity.
Despite the inclusion of high-end FOX shocks and 265/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tyres, the 2.0L bi-turbo-diesel/10-speed auto Ranger FX4 MAX will list at just $65,940 plus on-road costs. To put that in perspective, a 2.0L Ranger Wildtrak Double Cab 2.0L auto costs $65,790 +ORC and a Wildtrak X Double Cab 2.0L auto costs $67,790 +ORC, while a top-spec Ranger Raptor costs $77,190 +ORC. Like the Ranger Raptor, the Ranger FX4 MAX will be powered exclusively by Ford’s 157kW/500Nm 2.0L four-cylinder bi-turbo-diesel engine mated to a 10-speed auto and part-time 4×4 system.
Ford has obviously styled the FX4 MAX to look similar to Ranger Raptor, and it’s even available in the once Ranger Raptor-only Conquer Grey paintwork, as well as in pearlescent Alabaster White, the latter recently introduced on XLT and Wildtrak.
“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,” Andrew Birkic, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand said. “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.”
As well as the specific colour range, the FX4 MAX has a wide stance thanks to unique dark grey 17×8 alloy wheels with a +42mm offset and 26mm wider track, ensuring it stands out from lower-grade Rangers. It also features ‘F.O.R.D.’ lettered across its front mesh grille, and features a dark grey skid plate, exterior mirror caps, door handles, unique wheel arch mouldings and rear tray surrounds. Additional features include in-tray lighting, a full-length matt black tubular sports bar and metal ‘hoop’ side steps. There’s also an optional graphics pack for the bonnet, flanks and rear of the vehicle.
Ford says that the FX4 MAX’s bespoke suspension and chassis tune was developed and tested in Australia, including at Ford’s You Yangs Proving Ground (YYPG) in Victoria.
“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,” Tony Tsiandikos, Ford Chassis Engineering Manager said. “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.”
The FOX 2.0-inch monotube shock absorbers are matched with tuned coil-springs at the front and leaf springs at the rear. The rear shocks have remote reservoirs for greater oil capacity and, according to Ford, rapid recovery from extensive, prolonged off-road use. The leaf springs are said to balance compliance off road with payload and towing capability. Other changes up front include fitment of new lock-stop profile steering knuckles, new front bump stops and a 29mm front stabiliser bar.
The suspension results in a 20mm lift and combined with the larger diameter tyres the FX4 MAX rides 31mm higher than a Ranger XLT resulting in improved ground clearance (256mm beneath the rear diff housing) and better approach (31°), departure (23°) and ramp-over (25°) angles.
Atop the Ranger FX4 MAX’s dash are six upfitter auxiliary switches in a new switchbank; these allow owners to easily connect and operate accessories such as driving lights, light-bars and a winch. A massive 250A alternator is fitted to support power supply to multiple accessories and reduce reliance on the vehicle’s battery.
Other interior features include off-road ready all-weather floor mats and FX4 MAX specific seating inside. The seats have carbon-accents with Miko suede inserts and FX4 MAX embroidery. Ranger Raptor sports pedals are fitted, as is a leather-wrap steering wheel with Black Alley inserts to match the door trims and dash applique.
Other standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch full colour, high-resolution touchscreen, reversing camera, built-in sat-nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, AEB with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist and FordPass Connect embedded modem.
Optional extras on the Ford Ranger FX4 MAX include a Tech Pack (Adaptive Cruise Control, Semi-Auto Active Park Assist) for $800, Prestige paint for $650 and the FX4 MAX Decal Set (applied to bonnet, doors, box sides and tailgate) for $750.
Like all Rangers, the FX4 MAX is covered by a 5-year/unlimited km warranty and it has 15,000km/12-month service intervals.