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2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max: Raptor-lite aims at Navara Warrior

John Law

If a Ranger Raptor is a bit out-there for your tastes, Ford Australia now offers a less extreme version; the FX4 MAX. With a locally honed suspension tune, the FX4 Max will compete directly with the Navara N-Trek Warrior and Hilux Rogue.

Ford says the FX4 Max will be arriving before the end of this year and has priced the new variant above the current XLT. That is, from $65,490 before on-road costs, a smidge less than a fully loaded Ranger Wildtrak.

CEO of Ford Australia and New Zealand Andrew Birkic said of the FX4 Max: “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.”

2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max Rear 3/4
The FX4 Max gets locally tuned Fox suspension

As with any off-road-tuned vehicle, the FX4 Max starts with suspension. Ford has opted for FOX dampers, just like in the Raptor, for an Australia-friendly mix of plushness on-road and enough control to head off the beaten track. 

At the rear axle, the leaf springs remain, but dampers get a remote reservoir to deal with high-speed off-road runs better. New bump-stops will offer or more controlled suspension action at the extremes of the stroke.

The Ranger FX4 Max sits 20mm higher than a Raptor XLT, improving ground clearance 19mm to 256mm total. Coupled with the new front and rear bumpers, this improves approach and departure angles to 31 and 23 degrees respectively.

2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max Grille
Like a baby raptor – the grille lets you know what’s coming.

Those bumpers look tough, too, channelling the Raptor with the brand name emblazoned in huge font on the front. Side steps aid the tough appearance, and the unique 17-inch alloys finish it off, widening the stance of the FX4 Max by 26mm total.

You’ll be able to have the FX4 Max finished in your choice of Conquer Grey – previously reserved for the Raptor only – or Alabaster white, though that decal package isn’t standard. Ford will charge you an extra $750 for sticker privileges.

Ford has wrapped the alloys in 32-inch BF Goodrich K02 all-terrain rubber because suspension and good looks mean nothing without proper tyres.

2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max Rims
32-inch BF Goodrich K02s are mounted on bespoke alloys.

Powering the FX4 Max is a familiar two-litre four-cylinder diesel with outputs of 157kW and 500Nm. A ten-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission choice. The 3.5-tonne towing capacity remains, and max payload increases to 981kg compared to the XLT’s 954kg maximum.

Naturally, a switchable four-wheel-drive system is present, just as in the Ranger XLT, the FX4 Max gets low-range and a locking rear differential standard. 

Inside the FX4 Max gets a couple of swish new features including suede cloth-accented seats embroidered with FX4 Max branding. There are also switch blanks – Ford calls them up fitter switches – above the eight-inch touchscreen for seamless fitment of aftermarket accessories like lightbars and winches.

These switches allow seamless integration of aftermarket accessories.

Of course, the FX4 Max gets niceties inside, including dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Fordpass smartphone connectivity.

Safety equipment mirrors the XLT on which the FX4 Max is based, that means AEB with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist and reverse camera as standard. Adaptive cruise and park assist come in the tech pack at the cost of $800.

Ford’s latest Australian-honed dual-cab will be on sale before the end of 2020.