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We recently spent a working week in Mitsubishi's stylish premium-grade Triton to see how it measures up in the premium ute market.
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You might have thought there weren’t many gaps left to be filled in the Ford Ranger 2020 line-up, but that’s not the case. Meet the latest plug between models - the new 2020 Ford Ranger FX4.
It’s not the first time the brand has offered a Ranger FX4 model, but this time around there’s more choice for buyers than before - namely three different powertrain choices.
But the formula is familiar - it’s a sportier looking model with some specific design and trim details to help this model slot in between the XLT model (which is what we typically call out as the pick of the Ranger line-up) and the showy Ranger Wildtrak.
Read on to see how we found the new FX4 across a mix of duties - including putting it to work with some load in the back.
Ford is arguably in a tough spot when it comes to trying to make its Ranger models stand out, given the huge number of styling accessories and design extras you can buy for this ute. A drive through the suburbs of any major city in Australia will highlight just how much black plastic cladding, oversized wheels and tyres, stickers and stick-on elements are available.
So the FX4 needed to be acceptable to the mainstream buyer, but also offer something a bit more eye-catching than what you get in the standard Ranger XLT. And to my eye, the company has nailed it.
The additional exterior design bits you get on the FX4 over the XLT include ebony black mirrors, door handles an fender features, plus an ebony black grille, a matte black extended sports bar, 18-inch black alloys specific to the FX4 model, side decals and rear badging, plus a number of changes to the interior - check out our interior pics to see what I mean. A lot of those bits replace the chrome elements of the XLT.
While our test vehicle is finished in Arctic White, you can also choose Aluminium Silver, True Red, Meteor Grey and Shadow Black. Think you can pick the two colours that don’t cost you extra? It’s the red and white hues, as the others add $650 to the price. You can’t get it in blue, orange, green or yellow.
The body shape of the FX4 is limited to the dual cab model, and I really think the new LED headlights look a lot more modern than the HID headlights of the old model - much sharper than projectors or xenons, too. Chuck a set of driving lights or a light bar on, and it’d look even better.
There’s no hardcore underbody protection beyond the standard level of stuff you get underneath, and just like the other Ford utes, you get a rear step bumper for easy utility body access.
Have a look at the interior images of the Ford Ranger FX4 and see if you can pick the differences compared to the XLT that it’s based on.
There are a few changes, like the red stitching on the dashboard and seats, plus there are FX4 specific floor mats, FX4 embossed bits on the front seats, and a dark headliner. It looks and feels pretty nice.
The front seat space is comfortable and usable, with plenty of storage options (bottle holders front and rear, cup holders front and rear, a covered centre bin, a decent glovebox, and a dash-top caddy) and a nice layout.
The media screen - which appears to have a new 'skin' over the existing Sync 3 software - seemed a touch quicker than the previous generation display, and the menus are a bit neater and more modern. We had no issues using Apple CarPlay (and it has Android Auto, too), and the onboard sat nav was decent as well. Bluetooth worked a treat on phone calls, and the
How many seats in this Ford Ranger? The answer is five. And they’re all leather seats, too. If you’re short you’ll be able to get into the back seat using the side steps, and the rear seat room is good enough for three adults across the back. There is ample headroom and enough rear legroom and shoulder space. There is storage under the rear seats, too.
The FX4 is only sold as a dual cab - you can’t get it as an extra cab (spacecab or, in some markets, sleepr cab), or as a single cab, or as a cab chassis. It’s exclusively a double cab pickup.
You might be curious about the Ranger’s size and dimensions. It’s one of the longest utes of its type (5446mm long), while it sits 1867mm wide (excluding side mirrors - 2163mm with mirrors out) and 1821mm tall.
The dual cab tub dimensions are as follows: 1549mm long, 1560mm wide (1139mm between the wheel arches, which is too small for a standard Aussie pallet), and 511mm deep. Not the biggest in the class, but not the smallest, either.
How much is a Ford Ranger FX4 2020 model? That depends which version you choose, and this price list should help you figure out which might be the right model in the FX4 mix.
The cost of the entry-level FX4 - with the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel and a six-speed manual, which is the one tested here - is $59,140 plus on-road costs. That’s a neat $2500 more than the equivalent XLT, but bear in mind that’s the RRP or MSRP, not a drive away price. Check Autotrader.com.au to see what deals are being done, as we know times are tough and this could offer you more of a price guide.
Next up the price range is the 3.2-litre with the six-speed automatic, at $61,340 (MSRP). But promotional pricing at the time of writing for the 3.2L auto is advertised at $59,990 driveaway.
And at the top of the price range is the version of the FX4 fitted with the company’s impressive 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. It lists $1500 above the 3.2 auto, at $62,840 before on-roads. Or, according to the Ford Australia site at the time of writing, $61,490 drive-away.
It’ll be a while before we know the price second hand of this version of the FX4, and while it’s hardly an exact art, Glass’s Guide’s depreciation calculator indicates 56.5 per cent retained resale value for the 3.2-litre models, and 57.5 per cent for the 2.0-litre.
Wondering about specs? Well there’s not much of a model comparison to be done, because the engine is the big differentiator. But there is a difference between FX4 models and the XLT, for instance.
If we compare this model against the XLT, it still has all the good standard equipment specifications: Bi-LED headlights and daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry central locking and push button start, tyre pressure monitoring, power windows, power mirrors, a tub liner with tailgate liner, towing kit (tow bar and wiring, but not electric brake controller), a cooled centre console box, privacy glass (rear window tint), semi-digital dashboard, heated and auto-folding rear vision mirrors.
Multimedia is controlled by an 8.0-inch touch screen, and there is GPS navigation system (sat nav), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a sound system with six speakers (no subwoofer), dab digital radio, radio CD player with MP3 playback (no CD changer or DVD player), Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. The screen also shows temperature for the climate control air conditioning.
And FX4 gets 18-inch wheels (17s on XLT) with a full size spare tyre under the tray floor and there’s tyre pressure monitoring on this spec, plus the FX4 has all the detailed highlights mentioned in the design section, though the flared guards and wheel arch extensions of the Wildtrak and Raptor models still have that “off road pack” advantage, especially with the two tone paint finishes.
This is more of a sport edition, I guess, even though it doesn’t have a body kit, side skirts, a hardtop or soft top tonneau, a front spoiler or even bonnet stripes. There’s still no sunroof, either.
There are plenty of accessories in the Ford catalogue - we’re not just talking rims and floor mats. You could spec up a bull bar, nudge bar, snorkel, ute canopy, ladder rack, roof rack, roof rails, a hard tonneau cover - or you could remove the tub and get a steel tray, aluminium tray, flat tray… there are plenty of other features available, too.
This model is initially limited to 1000 units, but there could be more - though waiting times may be encountered.
Engine specs are important to a lot of ute buyers, especially those who miss their days being a horsepower hero. But now it’s all about diesel specs, and there’s a bit to talk about in the Ranger line-up - the choice of a smaller engine size, or a bigger motor.
The engine fitted to our test vehicle is the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel with 147kW of power (at 3000rpm) and 470Nm of torque (from 1750-2500rpm). It’s the same whether you’re looking for the manual transmission specs or the automatic transmission specs - both six-speed transmissions offer the same performance.
If you want the leader for torque specs, you should get the 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel four-cylinder, which has 157kW of power (at 3750rpm) and 500Nm (from 1750-2500rpm). It only comes with a 10-speed auto, so there’s no consideration of manual vs automatic here.
All FX4 models sold in Australia are four wheel drive. Call it what you will - 4x4, 4WD, 4 wheel drive, whatever - just note that this is not all wheel drive. Instead, the standard 2H setting is rear wheel drive, then you can add front wheel drive to the mix in 4H, and there’s a low range (4L) transfer case, too. If things get really gnarly, there’s an electronic rear differential lock. You might have noticed there’s a Ranger FX2 in the US, but that’s a rear wheel drive (4x2) and the sales statistics show those don’t sell well here.
Towing capacity for the FX4 - remember, it comes with a tow bar fitted as standard but not an electronic brake controller - is 750kg for an unbraked trailer, and 3500kg for a braked trailer. So, if you’re hauling a hefty caravan or pulling a box trailer loaded up with work gear, it’ll be up to the task. We didn’t review that element of its load capacity this time around, but in any number of our previous tow test reviews it has performed admirably.
If you’re thinking, “I wonder if the engine has a timing belt or chain?”, the answer is that it depends. The 3.2L has a chain, the 2.0L has a belt because Ford reckons the engine has low friction levels. All models have a diesel particulate filter.
Maybe you’re interested in an EV version of the Ranger? Or one on LPG? Those aren’t available, but on the topic of electrification you can get a dual battery setup in the Ranger if you need one.
What about weight? The gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 3200kg, and the payload is that number minus the kerb weight of the vehicle - in this case, 2212kg - meaning a payload of 988kg.
Fuel consumption depends one the engine.
The fuel economy l/100km winner in the FX4 line-up is the downsized engine. The claim for that model is 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
The 3.2L engine is said to use 8.9L/100km for the auto, and 8.4L/100km for the manual.
On test in our manual model, including our load lugging part of the review, we averaged an impressive 8.8L/100km.
Fuel tank size is 80 litres, meaning a theoretical possible mileage of 1100km based on our real-world figures. There’s no long range fuel tank to increase capacity.
Oh, and we were clearly talking about fuel consumption diesel numbers - there are no figures for petrol consumption, as no petrol is offered.
The Ford Ranger is arguably the most liveable ute in the segment. It’s comfortable, easy to drive, refined and enjoyable.
The case remains the same with the FX4, which is more enjoyable than many of its rival utes when it comes to day-to-day duties. Admittedly, it still has a ladder frame chassis - with double wishbone front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension - that doesn’t feel like you’re riding on air suspension, but is still a very sophisticated setup in the way it behaves across a mix of surfaces.
It is rather softly sprung, making it feel cushier than, say, a HiLux. And it has the terrific Ford electronic power steering, which means you don’t need to work hard at the tiller after a hard day at work, because the steering is light, accurate and very easy to turn - even if the turning circle itself is rather large.
The 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine with the six-speed manual in our FX4 was a treat to use. There’s a lot of torque from around 2000rpm, and it pulls decently without any weight in the tray. There’s a bit of five-cylinder noise to contend with, but with the manual ‘box it’s easy to exploit the engine / exhaust brake capabilities of the engine.
There’s no sport mode here, however, and I found that - while I wasn’t doing a performance test - the 0-100 acceleration speed results came down to the driver’s command of the six-speed manual gearbox. It can take some learning, as first gear is very short, and second gear is shorter than you might think, too.
You might want to check out our ute comparison tests for detailed off road review testing on the Ford Ranger’s capability, because while it’s always fun to go off road, we didn’t in this test.
Even so, here are the off-road performance figures you’ll no doubt want to know: ground clearance mm - 237; wading depth mm - 800; turning circle - 12.7m; approach angle - 29 degrees; departure angle - 21 degrees (to tow bar); break-over/ramp-over angle: 25 degrees.
It’s a heavy duty 4x4, but you might think it needs smaller rims (16 inch alloy or steelies?) and a set of off road all terrain tyres.
The soft suspension means that, with 750kg of weight loaded in (thanks to our mates at Crown Lift Trucks), the back end can bounce around over speed humps, but despite rebounding three or four times after the impact, it never feels like it’s out of control.
Nor does the weight after the balance and handling of the Ranger too much - the suspension sagged by about 10 per cent at the rear and lifted the nose by about 2 per cent, and in a mix of driving scenarios the FX4 was composed and compliant, and the ride was very well considered.
The engine was up to the task with this much weight on board, though it again took some forward thinking when it came to the gear selection timing. I know from experience that the auto adapts itself very well when there’s weight on board or in tow, and it’s hard to be smarter than a good auto - especially in traffic.
The tie-down points in the tub are decently positioned, though - like many utes in the class - it can be difficult for you to secure a low load as easily as a taller object.
The Ford Ranger still has a five-star ANCAP safety rating, even though it was tested way back in 2015.
But the safety features list is lengthy across the range. All models have auto emergency braking (AEB), lane assist, auto high-beam lights, a reverse camera, load adaptive control, hill descent control and hill start assist. Of course there’s electronic stability program (ESP) and anti lock brakes (ABS).
The FX4 has front and rear parking sensors, and has the option of the $800 Tech Pack with technical gadgets like park assist (semi-autonomous self parking) and adaptive cruise control… provided you buy the automatic model.
The airbag count is six (dual front, front side and full-length curtain airbags). There are dual outboard ISOFIX child seat anchor points, but only two top-tether points.
Where is the Ford Ranger built? Like almost every other mainstream ute out there, it’s made in Thailand.
The Ford Ranger line-up is backed by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is on par with the majority of its rivals, though the Mitsubishi Triton and Holden Colorado often have promotional seven-year plans offered. Ask the dealer about an extended warranty.
Service cost levels are pretty good. The company is offering promotional capped price servicing for $299 per year - so, at 12 months/15,000km, 24 months/30,000km, 36 months/45,000km and 48 months/60,000km, the cost is $299 per visit )but in year three you will need to add $115 for brake fluid replacement). But if you want to see the long-term service costs, the Ford site allows you to see how much it’ll cost out to 12 years/180,000km.
Included in the ownership program is annual roadside assist, out to seven years of age, so long as you service it with Ford. Keep that owners manual logbook stamped then, eh? Oh, and that should mean you won’t need to worry about things like oil capacity or oil type, too.
Some of the most searched terms about Ford Ranger models relate to problems - be it common faults, issues, defects, complaints, reliability issues, durability and ratings, people want to know if the Ford Ranger is reliable or not.
Maybe you’re worried in particular about diesel engine problems, auto gearbox problems, intercooler, injector, turbo, driveshaft vibration, clutch, oil pump, cruise control, oil change issues, blowing black smoke, transmission issues or even transmission failure… well, you can check out our Ford Ranger problems page to see what we’ve found.
Based on new car retail price
The Ford Ranger FX4 is yet another worthy addition to the line-up for the Blue Oval brand. It’s an impressively kitted out model, even if there are no changes to the mechanicals underneath.
Based on new car retail priceVIEW PRICING & SPECS
Based on new car retail price