INSPIRED by the success of its 4X4OTY-winning Ranger Raptor, Ford Australia has unveiled its Raptor-lite FX4 MAX.
Building on the limited-run FX4 revealed earlier this year, Ford has channelled the Raptor to create a bush-ready 4x4 with off-road-tuned suspension, rock-ready tyres and the imposing presence of its full-sized big brother.
The factory offering will not be available with Ford's proven 3.2-litre engine. Instead it will be powered exclusively by the 157kW/500Nm Bi-Turbo engine, which runs through a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Key to the FX4 MAX is its bespoke suspension set-up, tested comprehensively on Australian soil. Ford Australia says the individual suspension components have been "meticulously matched for a unique combination of off-road capability and strong carrying capacity".
To this end, new 2.0-inch monotube Fox shock absorbers are utilised front and rear, with the rear aided by a remote reservoir to ease the impact of off-road bumps. A coiled front end is mated to leaf springs at the rear, with Ford aiming to balance off-roading with towing capabilities. Other suspension componentry includes new lock-stop profile steering knuckles, new front jounce bumpers and a 29mm front stabiliser bar.
“Our goal with the suspension was to extend Ranger’s off-road capabilities, and we started with the basics: suspension travel, vehicle track and shock damping capability,” said Tony Tsiandikos, Ford Chassis Engineering Manager. “The changes mean greater control of the vehicle in more aggressive terrain."
265/70R17 Goodrich All-Terrain K02 tyres, the same set found beneath the Ranger Raptor, are wrapped around 17 x 8.0-inch alloy wheels, giving the vehicle a +42mm offset and 26mm wider track. And combined with a 20mm suspension lift, improves the FX4 MAX's off-road and towing capabilities.
This set-up enables a payload of 981kg and maintains the Ranger's 3500kg towing capacity. The FX4 MAX also boasts improved off-road credentials when compared to its XLT stablemate: approach angle of 31 degrees (XLT: 29); departure angle of 23 degrees (XLT: 21); 256mm of ground clearance (XLT: 237mm).
Mimicking the Raptor, the FX4 MAX features that distinct FORD lettering across the front mesh grille. Its widened stance, emphasised by bold, grey wheel-lip mouldings, matches other exterior components including the skid plate, exterior mirror caps, door handles, rear tray surrounds and alloy wheels - all coated in that bold, grey colour.
“The Ranger FX4 MAX channels the Ranger Raptor with its unique look and stance, while bringing customers both work and play capability with its locally engineered suspension, chassis tuning and unique FOX Shocks,” said Andrew Birkic, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand.
“A factory-finished Ranger, FX4 MAX builds on the previous FX4 to deliver even greater off-road capability, yet adds its own distinctive style and genuine mechanical upgrades for a truly one-of-a-kind Ranger.”
The Ranger FX4 MAX will be available in Australia later this year, with an exact date yet to be revealed.
Ford Ranger FX4 MAX: $65,940
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