Ford Australia is gunning for the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior and Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain with a new sub-Raptor off-road Ranger.

    Based on the XLT, the 2021 Ford Ranger FX4 Max gets a healthy range of off-road add-ons, but doesn’t sacrifice towing capacity or payload. It’s set to touch down in December.

    “FX4 Max is really built off the XLT as a donor vehicle,” said Ford Australia CEO and president, Andrew Birkic.

    “We wanted to reach out to a customer that really wanted to push into the enthusiast off-roading space.

    “We believe we’ve delivered a vehicle – and we’re really excited about this – that allows the customer to push into off-road, but also maintain its payload and towing.”

    It features mono-tube Fox shock absorbers at both ends (remote reservoir at the rear), retuned coil springs at the front, and staggered tuning at the rear to help the FX4 Max handle a load. Ford has retuned the leaf-sprung rear end, and there’s a new front stabiliser bar, new front jounce dampers, and revised steering knuckles.

    All told, the Max benefits from a 20mm lift over the XLT which, combined with its new 17-inch alloy wheels and BF Goodrich All-Terrain K02 tyres, contribute to a ride height 31mm taller than that of the XLT.

    The track of the FX4 Max is 26mm wider than the XLT, thanks to the bigger, wider wheels and tyres.

    Approach angle has improved to 31 degrees (up 2.0), departure angle has improved to 23 degrees (up 2.0), and ground clearance is now 256mm (up 19mm). Braked towing capacity is the same 3500kg as the XLT, while payload is 981kg.

    Externally, the FX4 Max gets unique side steps and blacked-out sports bars, along with a Raptor-style grille and wheel arch mouldings.

    Inside, there are all-weather floor mats and unique seats, complete with carbon-style accents for the first time in a Ranger. Sports pedals nicked from the Raptor feature, and the leather-trimmed steering wheel features black highlights to match the door trims and dash.

    A row of auxiliary switches sits above the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, allowing owners to hook up add-ons like spotlights, light bars, and winches and control them more easily. There’s a specific 250A alternator on board to handle a wider range of accessories.

    Power in the FX4 Max comes from a 2.0-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque, sent to the road through a switchable four-wheel drive system and 10-speed automatic transmission.

    The FX4 Max is priced from $65,490 before on-road costs, plus $800 for a Tech Pack that brings adaptive cruise and active park assist, $650 for prestige paint, and a $750 FX4 sticker pack.

    That puts it head-to-head with the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior ($65,990 before on-roads), which is based on the N-Trek and given a range of unique suspension and body add-ons by Premcar in Melbourne.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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