By Khanyisile Ngwenya
The South African consumer and the love for leisure bakkies is an argument that needs no further explanation. Looking at the sales number reveals constant dominance from big brand bakkie locally produced Ranger. Models like the Wildtrack and Thunder may be the staples of the brand, but sadly a reality of the current economic climate means these are often out of reach for the average consumer. Fords understanding of this problem has dawned the FX4.
2021 Ford Ranger FX4
The first introduction of the FX4 nameplate came in 2017 and served as a trim and visual upgrade package to the 3.2TDCI XLT model and looked like the batman spec of the Ranger. With the return of the nameplate, the critical difference is the model on which it is based. The single turbo variant XLT bakkie serves as the donor, making this a far more attainable vehicle from a cost perspective. The standard model’s key differences are the larger 18″ inch black multi-spoke alloy wheels, black mirrors, FX4 badging on the front doors and tailgate, tubular sports bar and drop-in bed-liner with a 12volt socket in the bed. Internally Leather seats with The FX4 badging and red stitching on the seats.
2021 Ford Ranger FX4 On the road
The small revisions to the T6 Ranger platform are easily felt when on the go. The cabin feels surprisingly plush and the surfaces most commonly interacted with feel soft to touch and durable where needed. The seating position is equally well-adapted, and the typical reality of bakkies, where one feels like on the car and not in it, has been adapted to where a good understanding of the bonnet line is clear. The steering dynamics are exceptionally well-matched with the vehicle’s size and the multi-faceted elements on the car. The suspension feels like the constant tuning has been well received, and the vehicle is stable and surprisingly capable in the twisties. The 132kW and 400Nm never felt like felt ample for the bulk of the bakkie, and the pairing of the 10-Speed transmission makes the vehicle feel in no way to be the lower power variant. Kick-down and in-gear acceleration is a smooth wave of torque that pulls hard from low down in the rev rand and is almost always on the boil. Comfort levels in both the front and the rear are remarkable for a leaf-spring based setup, rivalling even some of the newest and most expensive vehicles in the class-Top marks to Ford in this department.
Turning off the tar and into what many may argue still is the spiritual home of the bakkie proved just how capable the Ranger is. Almost ninety per cent of the trip through the Wild Coast comprises some advanced accents, traversing deep and muddied ruts and various ascents and descents on slippery surfaces. All swallowed very effortlessly with seamless switching between the various 4X4 aids making things a touch easy in truth. Most owners will never make use of this versatility, but the Rangers ability to spend the entirety of its time of being abused and shrug this off without a doubt of a flinch is always impressive.
In the world of connecting driving experiences to vehicle ownership, the Pass System allows for a relatively intuitive experience. Maintainance schedules, roadside assistance, vehicle tracking and the remote start and unlocking are some key standouts. The system’s full potential comes into play when you understand that this is a bakkie and no other vehicle in the segment has this as a feature. The ability to locate prime climate control remotely are featured a few years ago, exclusive to only the highest spec German offerings.
FX4 does an outstanding job slotting into the market at a price point that is key for the consumer and offers plenty of options in terms of the package. For a list price of just under 620k, it’s in all honesty a top-tier bakkie with all the features you are looking for. Baring the absence of active safety features found in higher models, this is a delicious offering.
The 2021 Ford Ranger FX4 is priced as follows:
- 2.0 Single Turbo Double Cab XLT FX4 10AT 4×2 R618,900
- 2.0 Single Turbo Double Cab XLT FX4 10AT 4×4 R687,900
Prices include Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120,000km comprehensive warranty, a three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance, a five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty, and a six-year/90,000km service plan.
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