2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max Review
When you think of pickup trucks, it’s almost impossible to imagine without Ford passing through your thoughts at least once. With the Ranger lineup continuously coming out with different models and variants, it doesn’t look like there are plans to slow down any time soon. In this review, let’s focus on their latest addition yet, the Ford Ranger FX4 Max. Keep reading to know more.
The Ranger FX4 Max looks a lot like some of its siblings at first glance when it comes to the overall styling. You have the blacked-out grilles at the front, the aggressive facelift, and of course, we can’t miss out on the classic FORD logo embedded right in the center.
But the more you look at it, the more you can tell some key differences that might be your deciding factor in purchasing this sporty mid-size hauler. Some of which are its sleek-looking side steps on each of the doors that come with a non-slip finish; And apart from being sturdy, they’re also mounted higher to keep it as far away from the ground as possible.
At the back, you’ll get a striking tubular sports bar with a high-level rear brake lamp. While taking a peek at the bottom, you’ll be greeted by some lovely FOX shocks coupled with some modified leaf springs to give you a better off-road experience.
With this type of suspension, it achieves a ground clearance of 253mm, which will be great for getting through steep spots. At the same time, a wading depth of 800mm should be more than enough in the event you have to cross deep waters (or heavy floods)—since that seems to be a more common use case in the city, especially during the rainy season.
You can also find some awesome 17-inch alloy wheels that use BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires for all that needed grip. Not bad.
The Ford Ranger FX4 Max is equipped with some projector headlamps at the front and two halogen fog lamps at the bottom.
The side mirrors come with their own side turn indicators, while over the rear is your standard LED tail lamp. There’s no dedicated rear-view camera but we do have a few sensors sitting by the rear bumper which was enough to get by. A rear camera would have been much better to see, though.
The FX4 Max’s flatbed with its fairly generous size adds to the utilitarian capability of the truck quite a lot. Whether you’re hauling cargo or the people you love, the bed is spacious and secure. A full-on two-door fridge will fit here quite nicely, but for the more adventurous, you can easily have up to six buddies comfortably sit back and have the time of their lives. Unfortunately, there’s no tail-gate lift assist on this one, so expect some heaviness when preparing to load or unload anything off the bed.
What’s it like inside?
Most of the things in its interior are pretty much Ford standard. The cabin is dressed in an all-black configuration and is mostly made out of plastic, with some gunmetal finish accents on the door handles and air conditioner vents. It’s nice to see how everything is mostly matte and non-reflective, giving it a more overall rugged appeal that compliments the car’s exterior quite well.
We’ve got very comfortable seats at the front that’s stitched alongside some premium-feeling leather. There are even some carbon fiber accents to give it that premium look, with the FX4 Max logo embroidered at the top. What’s not so premium though is the fact that we’re missing power-adjustable seats, so you’re gonna have to go old school on this one.
Nevertheless, the concave backrests here do a great job at keeping you nice and snug which is going to be great for those rough bumps and trails. You’ve got your leather-wrapped steering wheel on the driver’s side, with multiple functions to keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
Right behind that is your instrument cluster panel. Single analog speedometer right smack in the middle, your gear indicators below that, and sandwiching those together are two 4.2-inch color screens on each side to display the rest of the vehicle’s information.
The right side is responsible for your media and phone if you’re connected via Bluetooth or USB, while on the left rests the digital fuel gauge. Here’s where you can shift through the screen using the navigation pad to display the RPM gauge, access the trip and fuel economy meter, and configure your vehicle settings.
One of the few highlights I like about Ford vehicles is when it comes to media and entertainment; particularly this 7-inch touch screen infotainment panel. Now this one is powered by Ford’s SYNC 3.4. With that, you’re getting an array of different features, such as hands-free voice control to adjust the AC or music without having to reach towards the screen, climate control functions, and of course, who doesn’t love built-in Apple Carplay and Android Auto support as well?
We like the fact that we still get physical knobs and buttons for media and climate controls, which is always a nice touch for those who prefer their screen free of smudges and fingerprints. And apart from an optical disc drive (yep, we still got ’em), the 6 speakers on this vehicle are also quite loud as it’s almost impossible to bump it up to its maximum volume without breaking your eardrums.
We also get a center console that has two layers of storage; with the bottom sizable enough to put maybe some bottled water, or in our case, a really good spot to keep our lenses. And since this is a 4×4 vehicle, getting your off-road fix is as easy as turning these knobs next to the gear selector. Another 12V socket sits behind the console for the rear passengers.
Now at the back, we get the same leather accents minus the FX4 Max embroidery and is slightly angled to give as much comfort as possible. Apart from the armrest in the middle with space for two cup holders. There’s also a tab here at the back of the seat which is where you’ll find your tools, and like most pickups, we even get some under-seat storage. It’s not much, but it’s still something.
Finally, with an upgraded alternator, another key highlight of the Ford Ranger FX4 Max are these auxiliary switches, allowing you to control just about any aftermarket accessory you can think of all from the comfort of the driver’s seat.
All the safety features give you a sense of comfort, given that we have Airbags for the driver and passenger, ABS, ISOFIX tethers, and even little creature comforts like Cruise Control, Hill Start & Descent Assist, and Rear Parking Sensors. But with a truck of this caliber, I’d really have wanted to see things like Pre-Collision Assist, Lane Keep and Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and maybe even those extra side and curtain airbags too.
Overall, I’m still glad to say the atmosphere in this pick-up truck is pretty nice, not to mention it has some good headspace and legroom to it as well; which is much more important in our opinion since this is where you’ll be spending most of your time anyway.
Popping up the hood will show you that 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine that’s capable of chucking out 210 HP and up to 500 Nm of torque. It’s also mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which gives it a maximum payload of 981kg and a towing capability of almost 4 tonnes for hauling whatever it is you plan to haul, like maybe a trailer for your motorbikes, or maybe even a boat—if you had one (which I don’t).
Unlike the standard FX4, it’s no longer so much in between the XLT and the Wildtrak, as it seems to be in a different category altogether. In fact, since this does boast some off-road capabilities, some people even acknowledge it as the ‘Ranger Raptor Lite’; and to think about it, it seems to be quite a suitable name for this 4×4 if I do say so myself.
Fuel Consumption and Daily Driving
Most performance cars that come with dual turbo are configured in such a way where one is responsible for low ends, while the other kicks in when reaching high speeds. And for the FX4 Max, not only is the acceleration enough to put a smile on your face, but the top end isn’t bad either. Obviously, we don’t have the road to actually put this to the proper test, but pushing it as far as we legally could, the low humming sound coming from the engine was only a clear sign that it had much more to give.
The power steering on this one is also one of the easiest to maneuver; especially when it comes to low speeds. And what’s nice about it is that it kind of stiffens the faster you go, which makes for better handling and just generally elevates driving comfort.
And speaking of comfort, the suspension along with those all-terrain tires does feel quite smooth. With the tire pressure left untouched, it’s not too stiff when driving on the road, but it is bouncy enough especially when you have some extra load at the back. As for the brakes, there’s a slight delay that does take a bit of getting used to. Since these All-Terrain tires are more for multipurpose use, it’s not going to be the grippiest one out there, but they do provide enough traction for you to drive confidently. At least it gives you the best of both worlds, which is going to be great nonetheless.
With a maximum fuel capacity of 80L, Ford touts the FX4 Max to be able to attain an average consumption of about 12 km/L. With a short course around the urban streets of the city, we were able to attain an average of around 11-13 km/L, while driving at a steady pace on the highway got us a more efficient score of 14-16 km/L. And if you’re a little heavy on the pedals or just straight up stuck in a stop-and-go traffic situation, it floats around the 9-10km/L range.
To wrap things up, the Ford Ranger FX4 Max is a pretty good vehicle on its own. Apart from being multipurpose, it also exemplifies a good balance between performance and efficiency. But after having spent some good time with it, it doesn’t seem to uphold features that strike us the same way the Wildtrak or Raptor has. And considering the lack of anything new apart from a few cosmetic changes, it feels as if these are less meant for the seasoned trucker, and more meant for first-timers who are looking to begin their 4×4 journey. Which again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we do hope to see a major update soon.
As for the price, the Ford Ranger FX4 Max is priced at PHP 1,698,000 and is available in 6 colors: True Red and Blue Lightning being the bold colors, and there are also neutral ones like Arctic White, Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, and Meteor Grey.
For more information, you can check out the official Ford Philippines website. But what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments section down below.
With inputs from Justine Basco