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The Ford Ranger FX4 Max ups the ante for hardworking trucks

Because pickups aren’t always about simply looking good

The Ranger FX4 Max has everything you'll need to venture confidently into the bush. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

In Ford’s rather extensive lineup of Ranger pickups, only the Wildtrak 4×4 and the Raptor are equipped with the 2.0-liter diesel engine in its twin-turbo form. The rest of the stable makes do with the veteran 2.2-liter mill. Although by no means inferior in terms of its durability, this oil-burning lump’s output of 158hp does pale in comparison with the new one’s 200+ horses.

Because the Wildtrak and the Raptor are variants geared toward the lifestyle crowd, the Blue Oval brand decided to shoehorn its overachieving twin-turbo engine into a vehicle that is built to work hard. And with that, this powerhouse finds its way into another Ranger variant called the FX4 Max.

It doesn't have the Raptor's flared fenders and wider track, which is ideal for tight forest trails. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Externally, the differences between the regular FX4 and the FX4 Max are quite subtle. Aside from the decal, the FX4 Max has a Raptor-esque radiator grille, slightly different step boards, and bespoke black 17-inch alloy wheels. The cabin is also only a tad distinct compared to the usual FX4 variants, with sporty pedal pads, all-weather floor mats, and revised upholstery. The bulk of the FX4 Max’s changes, thankfully, goes beyond skin-deep.

As the bed is supported by leaf springs, the FX4 Max's 981kg load limit is higher than the Raptor's. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

Taking in punishment on rough roads are Fox shock absorbers at all four corners. These are said to offer increased wheel articulation and improved durability for heavy off-road use. Combined with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, the shocks allow the FX4 Max to navigate its way through rocks and mud. This isn’t a Baja beast like the Raptor as the suspension is tuned for slow but steady progress on uneven terrain.

Behind the 17-inch alloy wheels and meaty BFGoodrich tires are sporty Fox dampers. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

But the FX4 Max’s pièce de résistance is the auxiliary switch panel located on the dashboard. When properly configured, six large toggle switches can be used to activate any number of accessories such as driving lights and winches. This eliminates the need to drill ugly holes in the interior. An upgraded 250-amp alternator ensures that these add-ons have more than enough juice to function properly.

The suede inserts on the backrest and cushion hold occupants in place even in rough terrain. PHOTOS BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

As mentioned, the 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine is the same one fitted to the Wildtrak 4×4 and the Raptor. With output and torque peaking at 210hp and 500Nm, there is no shortage of grunt across the rev range. Should the FX4 Max find itself in a sticky situation (like negotiating steep climbs) while carrying up to 981kg in its load bed, this is one motor that will never run out of tricks.

These auxiliary switches can control anything from winches to gun pods and missile launchers. Joke. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

And speaking of tricks, the FX4 Max is generously equipped with standard features such as the Sync touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone integration for Apple and Android devices, automatic climate control, hill-start assist, and hill-descent control. But if you prefer something with advanced driver aids like lane-keep assist, consider getting the Wildtrak 4×4 or the Raptor instead.

The biturbo diesel engine is one of the most powerful in its class. PHOTO BY MIGGI SOLIDUM

The FX4 Max is available in the following smart colors: Arctic White, Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Meteor Gray, Blue Lightning and True Red. Priced at P1,698,000, no other truck at this price point can match the combination of performance and versatility.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.