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    Ford Ranger 2022 review: FX4 Max dual cab 4x4 load test


    Daily driver score

    4/5

    Tradies score

    4.3/5
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    You might have seen our other coverage of the Ford Ranger FX4 Max - the gap-filler between the regular Ranger line-up and the desirable Raptor X flagship.

    It takes some of the stuff we love about the existing Raptor - namely the powertrain, Fox Shocks and wheel-tyre package - but comes in considerably more affordable than a Raptor X (which itself replaced the Raptor earlier in 2021), and the FX4 Max has better payload and towing ability.

    We've seen how it goes off-road, we've tested it while towing a 2.3-tonne tradie trailer, and in this test, we're playing landscaper and loading in 800kg of sand bags to see how it goes as a proper work ute.

    Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

    The 2022 Ford Ranger FX4 Max (MY21.75) has a list price of $66,190 (MSRP - plus on-road costs), which essentially represents a healthy $13,200 discount compared to a current Raptor X.

    That's a lot of money left in your pocket considering you're getting the same powertrain plus a heap of shared components, like the Raptor-spec Fox Shocks dampers front and rear, not to mention revised steering components, those sweet looking 17-inch alloy wheels with chunky 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain rubber (265/70/17), a set of off road side steps, that oh-so-aftermarket F-O-R-D grille, an uprated alternator with six auxiliary switches, model-specific FX4 Max seats, and an optional decal pack.

    Standard gear above and beyond those specific items include LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. (image: Matt Campbell) Standard gear above and beyond those specific items include LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. (image: Matt Campbell)

    The FX4 Max trim level is based upon the Ranger XLT variant, so it comes handsomely equipped for the money.

    Standard gear above and beyond those specific items include LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, halogen fog lights, a black sports bar, mud flaps front and rear, a standard-fit tow bar with wiring (not electronic brake controller, though), an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and push-button start, auto high beam lights, now-standard adaptive cruise control and plenty of other safety features - see below.

    It includes the standard-fit 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Ford’s Sync3 interface, and it also has the smartphone mirroring tech you’d expect. (image: Matt Campbell) It includes the standard-fit 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Ford’s Sync3 interface, and it also has the smartphone mirroring tech you’d expect. (image: Matt Campbell)

    Our test vehicle was fitted with optional decal pack ($750). I wouldn't option that, myself.

    Considering which Ford Ranger colours look best? Arctic White is the only no-cost paint option for FX4 Max. The optional finishes include Conquer Grey (as seen here), Aluminium silver, Alabaster White, Lightning Blue, Meteor Grey and Shadow Black, and those all cost you $650.

    Is there anything interesting about its design?

    People won't be able to miss the optional bold stickers on the bonnet, doors, tub and tailgate if you choose to spend extra for them. It really is the sort of thing you're either going to love or hate.

    And so are those ridiculous side-steps, which you will bash your shin on at some point. I guarantee it.

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    But there are other design elements of the FX4 Max that are more agreeable, like that F-O-R-D grille treatment is similar to what you see on most every Ranger in western Sydney. Those Raptor-sourced alloys and BFG tyres are going to get some comments, too, though some people will wish for the boxier body of the Raptor, which has the broad-shouldered, higher-riding stance plenty of ute buyers want.

    Because it doesn't have that lane-hogging widebody fitment, the Ranger FX4 Max's body dimensions are on par with XLT. It's 5446mm long on a 3220mm wheelbase, 1977mm wide (with the side mirrors folded), and measures 1852mm tall. The Fox Shocks and taller 33-inch tyres mean the body sits 4mm taller than the XLT - but it's still carpark-friendly.

    For this test, we had to factor in the additional 31mm of load-in height - for FX4 Max unladen, you've gotta lift items up 871mm to slide them into the tub, and that's 31mm taller than a Wildtrak or XLT.

    Thankfully, though, there is a standard fit tub liner and our vehicle had a tub mat as well. The cargo zone incorporates four tie-down points (the front ones require some arm-twisting to access, around the sports bar legs), plus there's also a 12-volt outlet in the tub which is covered to prevent debris entering.

    The design is the sort of thing you’re either going to love or hate. And so are those ridiculous side-steps, which you will bash your shin on at some point. (image: Matt Campbell) The design is the sort of thing you’re either going to love or hate. And so are those ridiculous side-steps, which you will bash your shin on at some point. (image: Matt Campbell)

    The tub dimensions are as follows: 1485mm long at the top of the box, 1549mm long at the floor of the box; 1560mm wide and 1139mm between the wheel arches (too small for an Aussie pallet); 1330mm wide at the tray opening; 542mm deep; and, as mentioned, 871mm load-in height.

    Did it sag when we loaded up the tray with 800kg of sandbags? You bet, but not as much as you might think.

    There are 2.0-inch monotube Fox Shocks shock absorbers fitted front and rear. The rear suspension maintains a leaf spring layout, but the rear shocks have a remote reservoir to apparently allow for optimal comfort and control. The front end has been tweaked for with the coil spring front suspension setup including new lock-stop profile steering knuckles, new jounce bumpers and a 29mm stabiliser bar.

    That F-O-R-D grille treatment is similar to what you see on most every Ranger in western Sydney. (image: Matt Campbell) That F-O-R-D grille treatment is similar to what you see on most every Ranger in western Sydney. (image: Matt Campbell)

    We put our vehicle to its payload capacity - 981kg, and accounted for myself, our videographer Sam, and the 800kg of sandbags - and noted that the front suspension rose about 10mm, while the rear drooped by 90mm. So it was noticeably more ‘laid out’ with so much mass over the rear axle.

    In case you're wondering, the gross vehicle mass (GVM) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) is 3200kg (110kg more than Raptor X), and the kerb weight is 2219kg (157kg less than Raptor X), which helps explain the FX4 Max's 267kg payload advantage over the range-topping Ranger Raptor X.

    How practical is the space inside?

    The Ford Ranger has developed a strong reputation for offering a stylish interior with plenty of smarts included.

    There are part digital dashboard elements, for instance, as well as the standard-fit 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Ford's Sync3 interface, and it also has the smartphone mirroring tech you'd expect, plus DAB digital radio as well.

    It comes with model-specific FX4 Max seats. (image: Matt Campbell) It comes with model-specific FX4 Max seats. (image: Matt Campbell)

    I found the media screen to be pretty good during my test, with no issues connecting to my Apple iPhone. I did, however, take exception to the interface for the fan / HVAC controls - there are some controls on the centre console buttons, while other elements have to be done through the screen. It's silly.

    Otherwise, however, the Ranger is holding up well considering PX Ranger is a decade old now, though it has been tweaked and worked over during the years.

    The Ford Ranger has developed a strong reputation for offering a stylish interior with plenty of smarts included. (image: Matt Campbell) The Ford Ranger has developed a strong reputation for offering a stylish interior with plenty of smarts included. (image: Matt Campbell)

    The space remains good by class standards - you can fit five adults on board, or, if you've got kids, there are dual ISOFIX and two top-tether restraint points in the back row. That back seat base folds up if you need additional dry storage, too.

    Cabin storage comprises bottle holders in all four doors, there are cup holders in the middle up front and in the rear (fold down armrest), plus there are additional storage areas in the front cabin as well.

    What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

    This grade comes standard with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Bi-turbo diesel engine, which means it also comes standard with the brand's 10-speed automatic transmission. It doesn't have paddleshifters, but there is a control knob for selectable four-wheel drive (2H, 4H and 4L low range).

    The engine has 157kW of power (at 3750rpm) and 500Nm of torque (from 1750-2000rpm) - class-equalling four-cylinder engine outputs, and you can't get any better for this engine capacity in the market.

    The FX4 Max is only sold as a 4WD / 4x4 and it has an electronic locking rear diff standard.

    How much fuel does it consume?

    The official combined cycle fuel consumption figure is 8.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

    In our testing we saw a real-world at the pump return of 11.2L/100km. Not bad considering we covered more than 100km of loaded driving.

    Fuel tank capacity is 80 litres and there is no long range fuel tank available. Fuel saving start-stop technology is standard, however.

    Emissions meet Euro 5 standards - 210g/km CO2 - and there's a diesel particulate filter (DPF) fitted.

    What's it like as a daily driver?

    For a long time the Ford Ranger has been the best ute to drive in the segment, and ultimately that's still the case - be in the regular versions, the Raptor / Raptor X, or this new tweaked model which brings some of the best bits of both worlds and bashes them together.

    The FX4 Max is the best kind of fusion, though. Not like that weird sushi joint you know that has Greek-style lamb as part of its menu. No, this is fusion between standard and special Rangers done right.

    The Fox Shocks transform this ute into an even more comfortable experience, though it was already brilliant. They help to iron out the lumps and bumps in the road, and particularly at the rear the FX4 Max just feels more stable and secure.

    For a long time the Ford Ranger has been the best ute to drive in the segment, and ultimately that’s still the case - be in the regular versions. (image: Matt Campbell) For a long time the Ford Ranger has been the best ute to drive in the segment, and ultimately that’s still the case - be in the regular versions. (image: Matt Campbell)

    That is also partly to do with those BFG tyres, which add a level of tenacity to the grip on offer, while also no doubt assisting that ride quality by adding a little extra sidewall cushion.

    The changes to the front end are noticeable, too - it steers even better than a standard Ranger, which remains the benchmark in the segment. The steering is superbly light and accurate, even if it doesn't have much feel to it.

    And the powertrain is mostly really good, too - though I said in the video, I can't recall noticing quite as much turbo lag in any other bi-turbo version of the Ranger I've driven.

    This is fusion between standard and special Rangers done right. (image: Matt Campbell) This is fusion between standard and special Rangers done right. (image: Matt Campbell)

    That could be just this ute in particular, or the combination of grippier/heavier tyres needing a little more shove to get things moving. It wasn't annoying or anything, just noticeable. Like the transmission, which can be busy. Again, not annoying, just noticeable.

    But truly annoying are those side steps, which stick out way too far to not be annoying. Be sure you don't turn up to work or an appointment in your best suit if you've been off-roading and haven't had a chance to wash the car, as you're sure to end up with dirty lower legs - or worse, bruised shins if you're not careful when you're leaning into the cabin.

    Those were the drive impressions for the FX4 Max without a load - how'd it go with weight?

    The Fox Shocks transform this ute into an even more comfortable experience. (image: Matt Campbell) The Fox Shocks transform this ute into an even more comfortable experience. (image: Matt Campbell)

    What's it like for tradie use?

    Our mates at Lower Mountains Landscape Supplies let us raid their sandbag section to load up the tray of this Ranger, and we did exactly that. It was almost to the brim, with an estimated 800kg of sand bags loaded into the tub.

    As you might expect, my arms hurt after loading all that in - but the beauty of the Ranger (no matter the model) is that you don't need to then battle the steering wheel once you're driving.

    It has superb steering, definitely better than the majority of its rivals, and when you load up with this much weight you could feasibly expect a knock-on effect given the changes to the suspension loading, but the FX4 Max steered true and predictably, and maintained near-identical weighting to the tiller as well.

    • The cargo zone incorporates four tie-down points (the front ones require some arm-twisting to access, around the sports bar legs). (image: Matt Campbell) The cargo zone incorporates four tie-down points (the front ones require some arm-twisting to access, around the sports bar legs). (image: Matt Campbell)
    • There is a standard fit tub liner and our vehicle had a tub mat as well. (image: Matt Campbell) There is a standard fit tub liner and our vehicle had a tub mat as well. (image: Matt Campbell)
    • Did it sag when we loaded up the tray with 800kg of sandbags? You bet, but not as much as you might think. (image: Matt Campbell) Did it sag when we loaded up the tray with 800kg of sandbags? You bet, but not as much as you might think. (image: Matt Campbell)

    The engine and transmission felt arguably even better with a load on board - more decisive with their shifts and response, and not as much turbo lag from a standstill. I noted the vehicle was aiming for second-gear launches, which no doubt helped it feel a little less fussy as it gathered pace.

    The ride, though, was the standout. The suspension remained balanced, comfortable and controlled.

    I've tested a number of other Ranger variants with similar weight on board, and the dampers have always felt a little too soft for the task at hand, bouncing three, four or even five times before settling down.

    It comes with a full size spare. (image: Matt Campbell) It comes with a full size spare. (image: Matt Campbell)

    Not so with the Fox Shocks absorbers, which required two bounces over the exact same speed humps. It is considerably better to react to impacts, and that's what these shocks are about - they are designed for high-speed rough road driving, after all.

    Braking performance was okay - drums at the rear axle, discs up front - but there was a little bit of softness to the pedal to factor into fast stopping manoeuvres.

    What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

    The five-star ANCAP crash test safety rating applicable to the current Ranger dates back to 2015.

    Features comprise front auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assistance, auto high-beam lights, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, roll-over mitigation, load adaptive stability and traction control with trailer sway control, tyre pressure monitoring, traffic sign recognition, driver fatigue monitoring and six airbags (dual front, front side and full-length curtain). Finally, adaptive cruise control is standard at this level as part of the 21.75MY update.

    What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

    Standard is a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, and there's the same cover for roadside assistance.

    Lifetime capped price servicing applies to all Ford Ranger models, and the first four services are just $299 per visit. Maintenance intervals sit every 12 months/15,000km.

    Read our Ford Ranger problems page for more info on concerns, issues, recalls, problems or common complaints.

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    The Ford Ranger FX4 Max could be the perfect companion for you if you're looking for a tougher truck with some Raptor-spec extras at a lower price than the actual Raptor.

    Does it have as much street cred? Maybe not. But is it street smart - and worksite ready? You bet.

    Thanks again to our good mates at Lower Mountains Landscape Supplies for helping out with this test.

    $65,940

    Based on new car retail price

    Daily driver score

    4/5

    Tradies score

    4.3/5
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    $65,940

    Based on new car retail price

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