RECENTLY, Sime Darby Auto Connexion Sdn Bhd launched its special-edition Ford Ranger, the FX4.
Based on the Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT Automatic 4x4 High Rider, the truck has undergone a number of changes to its exterior and interior to make it look bolder, tougher and more rugged.
There is often a misconception about the pick-up truck. Most Malaysians think that it is a lightweight cargo transporter or an off-road adventure vehicle.
But drivers in many countries invest in accessories such as a trailer and carryboy, or a hard tonneau cover to transform the truck into an awesome family vehicle.
We had the opportunity to take the vehicle out for a test drive.
The Ford Ranger 2.2L FX4 is powered by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, mated to a 6R80 six-speed automatic with sports-mode transmission. It produces 160hp at 3,200rpm and 385Nm of torque from 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm, with a 3.5-tonne towing capability.
Measuring in at 5,362mm in length, 1,860mm in width, 1,815mm in height and with a wheel base of 3,220mm, the FX4 weighs 2,010kg. It has 80 litres of fuel tank capacity and a 1,549mm long by 1,560mm wide cargo bed.
It shares many similarities with the 2.2 XLT Automatic 4x4 High Rider, the key difference being that the FX4 comes with a range of darkened exterior and interior colours.
Its front grille is finished in black with a mesh pattern and blacked out fog light, a blacked-out decal along the side, an 18-inch Start Grey wheels and a black sports bar.†
The truck comes with auto halogen headlamps, †daytime running lights, front and rear fog lamps, power folding side mirrors with turn indicator and puddle lamp, auto rain-sensing wipers, electric leather power steering, manual climate control, electrochromatic rear view mirror, cruise control, manual adjustment driver’s seat, a 4.2-inch colour display and a six-speaker audio system.
Core safety features include anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, two airbags, hill descent control, hill launch assist, reverse view camera, emergency brake assist, roll over mitigation, load adaptive control present and Isofix mounting points.
The FX4 is priced at RM121,888, which includes the six per cent Goods and Services Tax, but without insurance. It comes with a three-year or 100,000km, which ever comes first, manufacturer’s warranty.
The FX4 is well suited for small families. It has a powerful engine, high ride height, and good safety features .
It has a huge cargo bed that is more than enough to carry the necessary baggage for a family of five to go on a road trip for a week or two.
All it needs is a carryboy, and the cargo stored is safely protected by a hard tonneau cover.
The body kit upgrades in the FX4 make the pick-up truck look bolder and more rugged compared with the standard variant.
We clocked about 450km in the FX4. Its medium hard suspension setting absorbed rough or damaged road conditions very well. Even the huge bumps and potholes were barely felt.
The pick-up truck rides well even on wavy and uneven tarmac. The FX4 didn’t feel unsettled on such roads despite its heavy duty springs and shocks.
Even at high speed, it turns into corners keenly and grips well. Its electric power-assisted steering is excellent and the handling is predictable.
The 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi diesel engine is powerful enough for overtaking on the highway, and is efficient for city driving. It consumed about 5.5 to 6.7 litres per 100km when cruising on the highway at 110kph. During city and highway driving, it consumed 9.2 to 11.1 litres per 100km. After a bout of hard driving, it recorded 12.7 to 14.3 litres per 100km.
The six-speed automatic with sports mode transmission switches its gear smoothly and instantly. It matches the torque characteristic of the engine. The FX4’s cabin is so spacious that it has no problem ferrying four large and tall adults, providing sufficient head and leg rooms.
The FX4 has low wind and tyre noise. Engine noise is noticeable, especially when it revs above 3,500rpm.
The multimedia player system is straight forward and user-friendly to operate. The sound system of the FX4 is kind of flat, lacking the clarity of the treble and the ohm of the bass.
The reverse camera is very helpful in manoeuvring the large pick-up truck. The FX4 has a lot of good selling points, but it has room for improvements.
The FX4 should be equipped with a keyless entry and push to start button. Having a blind spot warning system would certainly enhance the safety features of the pick-up truck.