The Ford Ranger’s variant lineup is slowly but surely starting to resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe—an ever-growing selection of protagonists to choose from with seemingly no end in sight. With the recent release of the all-new Ranger, however, this generation of the T6 platform-based pickup will be phased out sooner rather than later.
The FX4 Max, then, is perhaps one of the final new variants we’ll see from this model’s lifespan. While the FX4 has been sold in our market for some time as an urban-friendly pickup, this particular variant boasts the Raptor’s 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine and its own Fox suspension setup. So, how does it compare to the others in the range? Let’s find out.
From the outside, the FX4 Max certainly looks the part of a rugged off-roader. Up front, you get a blacked-out grille with gigantic Raptor-style ‘FORD’ lettering emblazoned on top. Bulges in the molding underneath add some more muscle to the look. These are complemented by a set of burly 17-inch all-terrain rubber attached to dark gray alloy wheels. Other blacked-out components include the stepboard and roll bars in the bed. Out back, you get a surprisingly tame ‘RANGER’ decal and a classic Blue Oval badge.
Ford has stuck to the FX4’s urban leanings with the black design cues, but the overall package would look equally at home in more rugged settings as well.
Inside, you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel which mysteriously lacks the red center strip from the Raptor lineup. Behind that are 4.2-inch dual-cluster screens on the instrument panel. Front and center is an eight-inch infotainment display paired to six speakers with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, powered by Ford’s SYNC3 system. The seats, meanwhile, are made from leather and fabric.
Head and legroom within the cabin are considerable by pickup standards. The seats up front feauture side bolsters which keep the driver and passenger comfortably in place. The available dual-zone A/C is on the frigid side, which I’ve observed has long been a signature of the FX4 line.
As mentioned, the FX4 Max runs on the same 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine as the Ranger Raptor. This mill puts out 210hp and and 500Nm, and is expectedly more potent than the standard FX4’s tamer 2.2-liter powertrain. This is most noticeable in short bursts, where the 10-speed automatic gearbox delivers power to the wheels in quick order. While we weren’t able to take the unit off-roading during this test, we imagine its performance on the trails is comparable to the Ranger’s significant prowess.
Ride and handling
While the 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine is likewise available on the top-spec Wildtrak, what’s notable here is that the FX4 Max comes with a Fox suspension setup similar to the Raptor. It’s not the exact same spec, however. The FX4 Max gets a 2.0-inch monotubes with coil springs up front and monotubes with remote reservoir and leaf springs in the rear, while the Wildtrak comes with double wishbones in the front and coilovers in the back. The FX4 Max’s stopping power, meanwhile, is provided by discs up front and drums in the rear versus the Raptor’s full-disc setup.
Technical differences aside, the FX4 Max proves as capable on the road as its more expensive brethren. Comfort is mostly on an even keel in the cabin, even when going through rough, pockmarked roads. Steering, meanwhile, is light and precise, though the pickup’s girth can sometimes prove a challenge. One noticeable omission, however, is telescopic adjustment for the tiller. This feature has long been lacking in Ford’s lineup, and is something we hope to see once the all-new Ranger arrives.
The safety features onboard feature hill-descent control and launch assist, cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers. Other conveniences not mentioned previously include two USB ports, two 12V ports, push-button start, an electrochromic rear-view mirror, and all-weather floor mats. The latter is useful for preventing your floors from getting muddy while off-roading, but the material is quite slippery. If you tend to wear flat-soled shoes, the mats can cause your foot to slip when switching between the brake and gas pedals.
At P1,758,000, the FX4 Max is officially the priciest option in the Ranger lineup. If it’s Raptor-style performance you’re after but you wish to save about P200,000, it offers comparable performance and enough features to make the price worth it. In fact, its SRP actually puts it right in the mix with the top-spec Navara and Hilux options—with the added bonus of the much-hyped 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine.
SPECS: 2022 Ford Ranger 2.0L Bi-Turbo FX4 Max 4x4 AT
Engine: 2.0-liter turbodiesel I4
Power: 210hp @3,750rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1,750-2,000rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
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