Ford’s strategy to get a firm grip on the Philippine pickup market is to have so many variants of its trusty Ranger so that there is essentially a truck for every type of customer. Everyone thought the current Blue Oval pickup lineup already had adequate coverage—from the base XLS for fleet customers, all the way up to the terrain-munching Raptor. But for the guys manning the brand, there will always still be room for one more.
This is probably why Ford Philippines felt the need to launch the Ranger FX4. It’s available in two guises: the 4×2 manual-transmission version (P1,256,000) and the 4×2 automatic-transmission one (P1,316,000). Price-wise, it slots neatly in between the XLT and the Wildtrak. It’s also the middle ground in terms of features—a bit of both the XLT and the Wildtrak once again.
The Ranger FX4’s styling appears to be inspired by that of its Wildtrak siblings. There are big ‘FX4’ decals on the sides in addition to the emblem on the tailgate. The bed now has an elongated matte-black sports bar. Also inspired by the Wildtrak is the paint scheme devoid of chrome. All five exterior colors—Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, Meteor Gray and True Red—come with contrasting black trim pieces and are complemented by black 18-inch alloy wheels.
The interior is very much XLT. The instrument cluster is the same twin-gauge setup, and the same can be said of the stack of HVAC controls on the center console. It does have bespoke red stitching on the upholstery and FX4 emblems embroidered into the front seats. Thankfully, the FX4, along with the lesser XLT and XLS variants, now gets a later version of the Sync infotainment system, which has phone integration features for Apple and Android devices.
Under the hood, Ford’s 2.2-liter in-line-four engine soldiers on. This is the same turbodiesel engine previously found in the Everest and currently doing duty in lesser Ranger variants. Power and torque remain unchanged—158hp and 385Nm—and are delivered via a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
You may call the Ranger FX4 a pimped-up XLT or a Wildtrak Jr. Apparently, there is demand in this country for trucks with off-road cosmetic upgrades. In the United States, customers can spec their Super Duty trucks and Expedition SUVs with an FX4 off-road package. This includes off-road shocks and underbody protection. The FX4 kit is even more comprehensive in the Expedition with a 3.73 limited-slip differential, new radiator, and off-road wheels and tires. Crucially, the FX4 package is available for both models with the 4×4 drivetrain only.
Now, the Ranger FX4 is only available in two-wheel drive. It’s a nice-looking vehicle, and the price will no doubt have buyers falling in line. But the fact that the FX4 isn’t four-wheel-drive kind of defeats the original purpose of the badge. To be honest, it’s like a 4×2 Toyota RAV4. There’s nothing wrong with this Ranger, but a different name would’ve been a better match for it.