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Cut-price baby Ford Ranger Raptor breaks cover! Is this the mysterious FX4 Max you've been waiting for?

Meet the mysterious Ford Ranger FX4 Max!

Ford Australia has begun teasing a vehicle widely expected to be the new Ford Ranger FX4 Max, with the hardcore baby Raptor getting ready to launch.

In a fresh salvo in the war with the new Toyota HiLux (and vehicles like the Nissan Navara Warrior, the new Isuzu D-Max and the incoming Mazda BT-50), Ford will soon reveal a vehicle designed to sit one rung below the Raptor, and include much of that vehicle's off-road kit. The brand released a shadow-filled teaser clip on its official Facebook page today.

The FX4 Max is also expected to be a diesel-only proposition, with a shot of a tachometer that redlines at 4500rpm. The teaser clip shows the new model gets Fox Racing shocks, as well as new side-steps, unique black alloys, a blacked-out sport bar, and a manual shift function for its automatic gearbox.

That last point is particularly interesting, as the gearshift pictured (complete with "+" and "-" symbols) appears to be the shifter attached to Ford's six-speed automatic, not the 10-speed found in the Ranger Raptor. If that's the case, FX4 Max will be powered by the brand's 3.2-litre, five-cylinder diesel, good for 147kW and 470Nm, rather than the more powerful 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel that spits out 157kW and 500Nm.

The news comes months after Ford trademarked the name "FX4 Max" with the Australian Intellectual Property Office. The name was registered in December 2019, with final approval in June this year.

Ford is expected to confirm details shortly.