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Ford Australia will add some extra spice to the Ranger ute line-up when it releases the off-road-focused FX4 Max special edition late this year, with it to fill the space between the XLT and Raptor grades for MY20.75.
Priced from $65,940 plus on-road costs, the FX4 Max is only available as a 4x4 dual-cab pick-up with a 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine and a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.
As such, the FX4 Max undercuts its direct rival, the $66,290 Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior, although unlike the latter, the former comes direct from its Thailand factory and isn’t upgraded in Australia.
Compared to the equivalent XLT variant that costs $5000 less, the FX4 Max gets locally developed suspension upgrades, including 2.0-inch monotube Fox shock absorbers front and rear, with the latter getting a remote reservoir for rapid recovery from hardcore use.
These upgrades are complemented by tuned coil springs up front and a staggered damper layout and retuned leaf springs at the rear. The suspension is rounded out by new lock-stop profile steering knucks and front jounce bumpers as well as a 29mm front stabiliser bar.
Shared with the $77,190 Raptor, 265/70 BF Goodrich All-Terrain K02 tyres are also fitted to the FX4 Max alongside dark-grey 17-inch alloy wheels. Combined with the upgraded suspension, this combination increases ground clearance by 19mm over the XLT, to 256mm.
As a result, the FX4 Max’s approach and departure angles are up two degrees over the XLT, to 31 and 23 degrees respectively, while its breakover angle is unchanged, at 25 degrees.
According to new Ford Australia president and CEO Andrew Birkic, the FX4 Max is designed to allow Ranger buyers “to push into off-road but also maintain its payload and towing”, with the Raptor pursuing the former even more – but at the cost of the latter.
For reference, the FX4 Max’s braked towing capacity is 3500kg and its maximum payload is 981kg, up 1000kg and 223kg over the Raptor respectively.
Visually, the FX4 Max stands out from the Ranger crowd with its mesh grille with ‘FORD’ lettering, bumper inserts, front skid plate, wheelarch mouldings, side-mirror caps and doorhandles, all of which have a dark-grey finish.
The FX4 Max also gets a full-length tubular sports bar and body-mounted metal ‘hoop’ side steps, both of which are finished in matte black. It also picks up in-tub lighting and a tow bar.
Inside, the FX4 Max’s seats are upholstered in leather but have Miko suede inserts and carbon-fibre accents as well as ‘FX4 Max’ embroidery. It also features six upfitter auxiliary switches with a specific 250A alternator, all-weather floor mats, sports pedals and Black Alley trim.
Equipment in the FX4 Max otherwise includes a full-size spare wheel, an 8.0-inch touchscreen Sync3 multimedia system, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and dual-zone climate control, among other features.
Standard advanced driver-assist systems extend to autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist and reversing camera, while adaptive cruise control and park assist can be added as part of an $800 Tech Pack.
Paintwork options include Conquer Grey (previously exclusive to the Raptor) and Alabaster White, with ‘prestige’ colours commanding a $650 premium. A decal set (bonnet, doors, tub sides and tailgate) can be added for $750.
As with all other Ranger variants, the FX4 Max comes with Ford Australia’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, while its service intervals are every 12 months/15,000km, whichever comes first. Capped-price servicing is available for the first four visits, costing $299 each.