Ford Introduces a Much-Needed Off-Road Package for the Rear-Wheel Drive Ranger
The FX2 Package will most certainly attract a lot of buyersby Sidd Dhimaan, on
Pickup trucks are no longer used purely as workhorses. Enthusiasts are buying them for the cool-quotient and to do stuff that they can’t with their smaller cars. However, this doesn’t mean that anybody who buys a full-fledged truck uses it to its maximum potential. A couple of decades back, a two-wheel drive truck came with shorter ground clearance and looked like a truck for the namesake, whereas the four-wheel drive trucks were just too bulky. The gap has certainly narrowed down today, but there is still a vacuum here. That is why Ford decided to introduce an off-road package for the two-wheel-drive Ranger called FX2. This seems like a very simple move, but if tapped the right way, it could work wonders for the company.
Not Everyone Buys a Four-Wheel Drive Truck For Its Utility
There has always been a vacuum between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive trucks. Companies have been trying to bridge this gap by making smaller pickup trucks as hardcore as the bigger machines, but it did not solve the problem completely. For instance, someone living in a metropolitan area would like a pickup truck that’s good for mild off-roading, but it still needs to look the whole part. You hand him or her over a four-wheel-drive truck and it will be spending most of its time on tarmac. A two-wheel-drive truck may not look as butch as a four-wheel-drive and not leave the customer happy. Trust me, there are a lot of people out there who customize their trucks with all sorts of off-road accessories just for the looks, but don’t actually use them for what they are built for. In fact, Ford said that two-thirds of its Ranger buyers customize their trucks with the Sport Appearance Package, Chrome Appearance Package, or the STX Appearance Package.
What Is The FX2 Package All About?
This package is quite similar to the FX4 that Ford has for the four-wheel drive avatar, but much cheaper. Explaining this, Ford’s Marketing Manager, Brian Bell said that “FX2 expands Ranger’s options for customers who want tough, off-road style with the functionality of a locking differential but don’t need four-wheel drive”.
For starters, the package is priced at $595 and is worth every penny.
It gets you 17-inch Hankook Dynapro ATM off-road tires, off-road suspension, a front underbody guard, and an electronic locking rear differential as well. On the inside, the instrument cluster receives an off-road screen which displays stuff like pitch, roll, and steering angles. 17-inch tires come as standard, but 18-inch rollers are available as optional features.
So, it’s not actually just about the looks. To put things into perspective, the similarly-equipped FX4 package is priced at $1,295. Not to mention you save 4,000 bucks by opting for a two-wheel drive Ranger over the four-wheel drive. Ford also needed such a package in its lineup because Chevy offers the rugged Colorado Z71 with rear-wheel-drive, and so does Toyota with the Tacoma TRD.
The Ranger Is A Well-Rounded Pickup Truck
Let’s talk about the standard Ford Ranger. The 2019 Ford Ranger has returned after an eight-year exile and is currently offered in three variants - XL, XLT, and Lariat. As is with any Ford truck, the base and mid-trims come with basic creature comfort. The top trim, however, comes with all the bells and whistles that Ford has to offer on the truck. On the outside, it features a distinct grille when compared to the lower trims, and also comes with LED headlights and fog lamps. Like any other Ford, the Ranger too is offered with a plethora of optional accessories. On the inside, it features dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, ambient lighting, cruise control, and SYNC3, just to name a few.
Currently, the Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that puts out 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque.
The mill is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox that makes the engine feel sprightly and eager to be revved. The Ranger comes with a rear-wheel-drive configuration as standard, but can be bought in the four-wheel-drive guise as well. The rear-wheel-drive truck returns 22 miles per gallon; one mpg more than the four-wheel-drive Ranger. As for the towing and payload capacities, they are rated at 7,500 and 1,860 pounds, respectively.
|Fuel economy city/highway/combined||21/26/26 combined|
Everyone Wants A Share Of The Pie
For people who are craving for more, Ford might be bringing the Ranger Raptor to the States. There is no official word on this, but a few camouflaged prototypes have been spotted testing here. In other markets, the Ranger Raptor is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that generates 210 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque.
However, the U.S.-spec Ranger Raptor could feature a 2.7-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that makes 325 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque.
There is a demand for performance-oriented midsize pickup trucks in the market. Even Nissan could come up with a performance version of the Navara pickup truck under the legendary Nismo moniker. If this actually happens, the Japanese automaker will most likely borrow the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport’s mill. That’s a 3.0-liter, V-6 engine that produces 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
All-in-all, automakers are tapping into all the niches possible to gain as much market share as possible. Even simple packages have the ability to turn the tables around in this highly competitive market. The FX2 package, as I mentioned earlier, fills a void well between the two different configurations of the Ranger. I feel that this package will be a hot-seller for the Blue Oval. What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.