In a world where individuality breaks the mould of boring, this limited edition Ford Fx4 with its big turbo diesel engine will add joy to your soul.
Ford bakkies have never been as good as they are now, nor has the model line-up been so varied – keen to cover every possible usage for their product, Ford has already released 34 models to choose from.
But if you are a Ford man and looking for a ride that makes you stand out from the crowd of other Ranger owners, then this “Panther black” Fx4 might just be the Ford for you!
Based on the more luxurious XLT 4×4 Double Cab Ranger, the Fx4 derivative is about R16 000 cheaper than the top of the range Wildtrak model. It still features the 3.2-litre, 5-cylinder turbo diesel and 6-speed automatic transmission (6-speed manual optional) offering the choice of 2H, 4x4H and 4×4 low range at the twist of a button, but it may have a harder suspension to that of the Wildtrak.
What makes the Fx4 different externally is the black mag wheels, black running boards, rear bumper and tubular roll bar on the load bay. It also has matt black decals on the tailgate and bonnet, as well as complimenting matt black side panel treatment, blackened front grille, and a feature that is worth its weight: a fitted, plastic load bay bed liner.
Hitching up is a one-man job thanks to the reversing camera and big 8-inch colour screen in the dashboard. This clearly shows the towball and one should be able to reverse the Fx4 and place the towball directly under the caravan’s coupling head each and every time!
I liked the accessibility of making the connection of the caravan’s plug to that of the car. While not obtrusive the vehicle’s plug is the same height as the towbar (480 mm) and one hardly has to bend to make this connection.
Inside the Fx4 one can expect a continuation of the exterior blackened theme – it is just about all black with a subtle introduction of darkened chrome trim on the dashboard.
I found the interior pleasantly simple, the dashboard layout and instrumentation instantly understandable with every feature that I would want.
There are two USB ports plus two 12V sockets for running accessories, and a CD player.
The steering wheel has dual controls for radio, phone, and dashboard data information layout.
In addition to central door locking, all windows are electrically operated, and a bonus feature for us caravanners are the large external rear view mirrors!
If black is not your colour it is also available in three other colour choices: Frozen White, Moondust Silver and Sea Grey.
Apart from an engine producing 147 kW at 3000 rpm and 470 Nm of torque from a low 1 500 to 2750 rpm, the Fx4 comes standard with trailer sway control to enhance towing control. Stability and brakes are top notch.
Power: 147 kW
Torque: 470 Nm
Gearbox: 6-speed auto
Tare: 2 117 kg
GVM: 3 200 kg
GCM: 6 000 kg
Max. tow. mass UB: 750 kg
Max. tow. mass B: 3 500 kg
Ground clearance: 237 mm
0 – 100 km/h (sec): 13.94
80 – 100 km/h (sec): 6.20
Fx4 Manual: R593 900
Fx4 Auto: R608 900
We have towed a variety of caravans with this engine and transmission, expect a fuel consumption of between 14.6 and 15.8 l/100km when towing a caravan of about 1 480 GVM.
The Ford has a Tare of 2 282 kg and GCM of 6 000 kg which means the standard vehicle and anything you add from a canopy to a packed caravan may not exceed 6 000 kg in total.
Acceleration will take you from 0 to 100 km/h in a brisk 13,94 seconds, which is a whole lot faster than it feels. Overtaking gets you from 80 to 100 km/h in 6,20 seconds.
The ride is firm and I would suggest packing what you can into the FX4’s load bay.
More good news is you won’t need a drop plate on the towball. At a height of 530 mm above ground, this drops to 480 when the caravan is hitched on.
The “feel feedback” from the steering and that auto transmission is excellent. I’ve said it before: manual gearboxes are so yesteryear, and for the R15 000 difference for automatic transmission there is just no argument!
All models come with a standard Ford Protect warranty, including a four-year 120 000km comprehensive warranty, five-year 100 000km service plan, three-year unlimited km roadside assistance and five year unlimited corrosion warranty.
By Godfrey Castle