By Sala Masindane
The bakkie space is becoming competitive. Every owner takes pride in how their bakkie looks and actually wants their car to stand out. We saw this with the boom of the after-market raptor kits. Those things make an already good looking Ford Ranger look mean and aggressive (in a good way). Ford SA decided to join in on the fun, switch things up and do something special.
Why you may ask? After all, the current generation Ford Ranger is doing well, the numbers are a testament to that. To go even further, in recent months the bakkie segment has been the highest seller in terms of vehicles in South Africa. This is astonishing if you consider the fact that most of these bakkies are not bought for their toughness and off-roading prowess but more space and high riding position which is perceived to be safe. With that many bakkies on the road, it was only a matter of time till okes started pimping/customizing them with all sorts of accessories. There’s nothing wrong with adding your own signature look and feel to the bakkie but imagine if all these bullish accessories came standard with the car. Well, Ford has answered those calls and added the Ranger FX4 to their already impressive range (no pun intended).
Based on the same platform as the Ranger XLT, the FX4 is powered by a 3.2-litre or 2.2 turbo-diesel engine, in either six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The FX4 is easily distinguishable from the rest of the pack, thanks to the “Panther black” finishes for the radiator grille, foglamp bezels, side-mirrors, roof-rails, exterior door handles and tailgate handle, side-steps,17-inch alloys, rear bumper and FX4 tubular sports bar. A bedliner has also been added on the load bay to shield the inner-side from damage and can also create a skid-resistant surface. Only four exclusive colours are available on the Ranger FX4, white, silver, black and grey.
The FX4 is spacious and can comfortably seat 5 adults. This comes in handy for those long family trips to the Drakensburg or just a day out with fellow Buccaneers to watch Orlando Pirates. Ford has also decked out the FX4 with the latest generation of the SYNC3 technology. This infotainment system offers voice recognition and an 8-inch LCD touchscreen which supports navigation, climate controls, audio, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto. So, no more excuses for texting and driving.
The roads, malls and parking bays in the cities are more congested than ever before, luckily a reverse camera is also standard. That helps with manoeuvring into those tight spots easily. We drove the FX4 across the Gauteng province and whether we were on the rugged roads or the motorway it was at home. Magalies provided a good test for the FX4, with some twisties and up hills routes but the bakkie passed that test with flying colours. There’s a bit of a lag with auto-transmission and gear change feels slightly delayed. The Ranger does feel heavy at times like when departing lanes for an overtaking manoeuvre but that is understandable, the Ranger is a larger vehicle than normal.
All models are sold with Ford Protect, including a 4-year/120000km comprehensive, 5-year/100000km service plan, 3-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.
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