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Double cab bakkies are fast becoming popular lifestyle vehicles of choice that needs to suit the requirements of many South African buyers. These cars must tick a lot of boxes including outstanding performance, a bold design, superb comfort and segment-defining technologies. One of Ford’s latest efforts to offer a product catering to all these needs is the Ranger FX4, a limited edition model slotting in beneath the Ranger Wildtrak.

It boasts a number of distinctive styling changes, compared to the rest of the Ranger range and these include attractive black finishes for the radiator grille, fog lamp bezels, exterior mirrors, roof rails, as well as the door and tailgate handles. Our model’s looks was even easier on the eye, as it came in Ford’s Panther Black colour.

Adding to the sleekness of the bakkie are 17″ alloy wheels, which have also been given the eye-catching Panther Black finish, as has the side steps, rear bumper and special Fx4 tubular sports bar located in the load bay – the latter protected by a fitted bedliner. To round off the design, unique Fx4 decals are applied on the sides and rear tailgate, so the people will now that this is not your old man’s Ranger.

Comfortable family vehicle

Inside the comfortable and well put together cabin you find plenty of 12-volt sockets and USB ports, to keep everyone’s gadgets charged and a plethora of connectivity options accessed via the 8″ touchscreen and Ford’s impressive Sync 3 in-vehicle infotainment system (read the review here). There are also plenty of storage bins and cup holders to keep the whole family’s stuff safely stowed while on a road trip.

Ford, Sync 3, Ford Sync, Sync 3 review, smetechguru

Also on board in terms of tech is a reverse camera, parking sensors, dynamic stability control and roll over mitigation. Although the parking sensors and reverse camera helps a great deal when you are parking, parking bays in general are small and this bakkie is not, so you still will have trouble with parking.

Being based on the Ranger XLT 3.2 TDCi Double Cab, the FX4 is powered by the same excellent 3.2 five cylinder turbodiesel powerplant developing 147 kW and 470 Nm of torque. The only thing we did not like about the engine was the fact that it is a little thirsty in terms of fuel usage, as the best we achieved was 11.3 liters per 100 km with mixed city and highway driving.

Despite the heft and big proportions of this double cab, the engine provides more than enough poke to comfortably overtake on the highway and go in rough terrain. When you do venture off the beaten track, the FX4 sports four-wheel drive, a low range transfer case and Hill descent control amongst others, helping even amateurs look competent on a 4×4 course. If you do fall into the amateur category, you will be happy to hear that free 4×4 training is provided with the purchase of any Ranger 4×4 model, enabling you to upgrade your skills to pro or at least enthusiast level for mahala.

The Ford Ranger FX4 is our favourite double cab bakkie offering available at the moment, but we still need to see how it stacks up against rival offerings from the likes of Toyota, VW, and Nissan. If you have a large enough garage and phenomenal parking skills, you will find a double cab bakkie that ticks all of your lifestyle and offroading boxes with the Ford Ranger FX4.

The recommended retail price of the Ford Ranger FX4 is R608 900 which includes Ford Protect, a four-year or 120 000 km comprehensive warranty, five-year or 100 000 km service plan, three-year or unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year or unlimited km corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 20 000 km.