Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa gave us a very chilled and scenic drive around the Wild Coast in their new Ranger FX4.
While nothing much has changed apart from the badging, it was the perfect time to experience Ford’s new class-leading tech in the form of FordPass Connect. We should get straight into what FordPass Connect means before we touch on what FX4 means to Ranger. For the moment it gives the Blue Oval the inside lane on its main rival, the Toyota Hilux, in their ongoing bakkie warfare.
In basic terms, FordPass is a free app that you download on your smartphone. When you pair this app with your Ranger, you can communicate, control, and see a fair amount of information from your bakkie via an embedded modem in the vehicle. I say a fair amount, because this technology is just the start of way more functionality to be offered in the future from Ford.
Ford Ranger FX4
Full disclosure, we were given a brief rundown of how the technology works, and as result of us not being familiar with how everything works, we got off to a bit of a hit-and-miss start. But once we had a bit more time to understand the rules of engagement and what must be in what state for everything to work, then everything worked as promised.
“Everything” as this early stage means that you can lock and unlock the doors, start the engine to activate the climate control system and switch it off again. It also allows you to find the vehicle’s location and access information such as fuel level and oil life via the FordPass app.
The app also helps you search for available parking, find Ford dealers, schedule maintenance and servicing bookings, keep track of past and future services, and view your Ranger’s warranty information. You can also get direct access to Ford’s Roadside Assistance service, online access to the owner’s manual and tutorial videos on key features, while also enabling over-the-air updates for the vehicle’s software.
Ford Ranger FX4 badge
Don’t stress too much if it all seems a bit much to digest right now. It is quite simple to figure out once you know what to do. FordPass Connect is not only available on the new Ranger FX4, but also standard on all new Ranger XL, XLS, XLT, Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor models.
As for the FX4, it is based on the popular XLT double cab and is available in 4×2 and 4×4 derivatives, that come in at R618 900 and R687 900, respectively. On the outside you get a black mesh grille, black mirrors, and door handles, black 18-inch alloy wheels, extended-leg tubular sports bar and practical drop-in bedliner with 12-volt power socket.
Inside you get a soft-touch leather-trimmed dashboard, along with leather for the steering wheel, gear lever and seats – all finished with red stitching, and FX4 logos embossed on front seats. And as to be expected, standard luxury comes in the form of dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless passive entry and start, a rear-view parking camera, and front and rear sensors.
SYNC3 is also standard on the FX4, incorporating voice activation, an eight-inch touchscreen, two USB ports and Bluetooth. SYNC3 provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of its multimedia and connectivity feature.
Moving this tech fest along is the Ford’s perky 2.0-litre single turbodiesel engine, which produces 132 kW of power and a decent 420 Nm of torque. It is matched to Ford’s class leading ten-speed automatic transmission, which offers conventional automatic, sport and manual shift modes. An electronic differential lock is fitted as standard, and the 4×4 keeps the shift-on-the-fly engagement of the four-wheel drive system, along with Hill Descent Control.
You also get active safety features such an Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Roll-over Mitigation, Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control and ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.
Ford Ranger FX4 interior
All Ranger models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four year/120 000 km warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six year/90 000 km service plan is included, with 15 000 km service intervals.
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