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This Thing Just Keeps Getting Better | 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 Review

Discussion in 'Front Page Articles' started by SID297, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    This Thing Just Keeps Getting Better | 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 Review

    2020_Ranger_FX4_063.jpg


    I have to admit, the more I drive the Ford Ranger the more I like it. The Ranger is currently Ford’s smallest pickup truck (keep an eye out for the upcoming Maverick), and it excellently combines throwback style ride and handling with modern safety and convenience. A bit over a year ago we had the opportunity to spend a week with a Sport Appearance Pack equipped Ranger Lariat, and we really enjoyed our time with it. Fast forward ~13 months and we were once again placed behind the wheel of 2020 Ranger FX4, but this time we got to let it flex its off road abilities quite a bit more.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_065.jpg

    This truck just eats up this soft sugar sand. For those doubting this sand as a performance testing medium, I have personally over heated a Gen 1 Raptor in this stuff. It's legit, as is the Ranger.


    First, I have to say that every positive aspect we noted in our previous Ranger review has only improved. The Ranger is one of those vehicles where the more time you’re given to appreciate it, the more you will like it. It is highly maneuverable, gets respectable mileage, and is supremely useful. The interior is comfortable, with all the basic creature comforts one would expect, and this little truck has to have the hottest seat heaters I have ever experienced. If you were looking for a light duty truck to perform daily driver duties while still being able to do respectable levels of work, the Ranger is something you should consider.


    However, that’s nothing you haven’t heard from me before. What you haven’t heard is my opinion of the off road prowess of the Ranger’s FX4 package. While we did get the last truck in the dirt just a bit, for this one we made the trip out to some soft sand. In this area of South Carolina, we call this particular type of fine grain white stuff “sugar sand”. The dryer this stuff is the worse it is. It doesn’t take much of a screw up to bury your rig up to its frame when you’re in the sugar. Preservation of momentum is key.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_044.jpg

    Flexing out. For the mainstream FX4 Off-Road package this is a very respectable amount of travel.


    The Ranger FX4 has quite a few features that work well in sand. First; the rear locker works nicely, as does the four-wheel drive system. It does an excellent job of finding traction where little exists. The second feature is the 2.3L EcoBoost and 10R80 drivetrain combo. It has the power to push this two-ton small truck through deep sand. I never felt like the rig was lacking power. I could easily modulate the throttle to maintain forward momentum while not getting the wheels spinning to the point of digging into a hole. This thing just ate up the terrain. Def check out this vid to see just how capable this Ranger is:




    2020_Ranger_FX4_001.jpg

    The Black Appearance Package looks great against the Ranger's Race Red paint.


    Another situation I found where this truck shines is on a rough road. The route to the sugar sand is a packed graded dirt road. It’s well traveled by heavy quarry trucks and ends up being quite wash-boarded in a lot of places. My personal F-350 will jar your fillings loose on this road. In contrast, the Ranger ate it up. While it was not Raptor-level comfortable at speed, it was pretty damn good. I had no issue running 35-45 MPH comfortably. It you have to run roads like this on the regular, I think you’ll appreciate the Ranger FX4. The model specific shocks and springs keep the ride bearable, and the skid plates protect the underpinnings from a rock being kicked up at high speed. The FX4 is made for this.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_009.jpg

    You are crazy if you don't get the spray-in bedliner option. It is very good.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_018.jpg

    The EcoBoost 2.3L engine is a decent match for the Ranger chassis, but a 2.7L EB would be even better.

    In the week we spent with this truck the only issue we noticed was a cold engine high idle leads to some weird clunks in the transmission. That’s likely something Ford will address with a flash update at some point. However, if you don’t want to wait for the Blue Oval boys an aftermarket tune will do wonders on the Ranger’s drivetrain. It’s no secret that EcoBoost engines love a little tuning, and the 10R80 transmission can be tuned to perfection by a talented calibrator. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, if I were to purchase a new style Ranger the first thing I’d do is tune it.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_004.jpg

    If there's one stand-out weakness in the Ranger's interior it's this gauge cluster. It looks like it came out of a 2009 Ford Edge. The Ranger should have something better. Full compliment analog works for me.

    2020_Ranger_FX4_005.jpg

    Are you listening Ford? Insert the Bronco's 7-Spd Manual Transmission here please.


    My ultimate take-away from my time with this truck is an eagerness to get some seat time in a 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor. The FX4 package on this truck worked great in the situations we were able to test it in, and I believe the Tremor will be even better. The only thing I feel that package is missing is an upgraded front differential. The Tremor Super Duty features a limited slip differential in its Super-Dana 60 front axle, and the F-150 Tremor has a full-on locker in its front 8.8. The Ranger Tremor really should have something more significant than an open front diff. Beyond that, the upcoming Ranger Tremor package looks great, and should be a nice step up over the FX4. This truck really makes me look forward to that Truck. But until that one hits the dealership lots, the FX4 Ranger is an impressive package. You should check it out.


    2020_Ranger_FX4_017.jpg

    Borrowed from the F-150 frame design team, this kick-off beam is designed to prevent the front wheel from intruding into the foot-well in a front end collision. This simple piece of square steel tubing will prevent countless broken legs and foot injuries.


    2020_Ranger_FX4_031.jpg

    I used to have a V8 Sport Trac Explorer, so getting a chance to check one out next to the Ranger brought back a lot of memories. Check out the vid below for a walk-around comparison.




    -SID297
     
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  2. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Ranger_FX4_014.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_002.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_003.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_006.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_007.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_008.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_010.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_011.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_012.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_013.jpg
     
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  3. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Ranger_FX4_022.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_023.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_025.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_026.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_028.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_015.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_016.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_019.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_020.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_021.jpg
     
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  4. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Ranger_FX4_045.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_029.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_030.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_033.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_034.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_035.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_036.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_038.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_040.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_043.jpg
     
  5. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    2020_Ranger_FX4_056.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_057.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_068.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_069.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_071.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_047.jpg 2020_Ranger_FX4_049.jpg
     
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  6. john11gt

    john11gt Well-Known Member Established Member

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    How big
    Are these? They look similar in size to a 90s f150
     
  7. Nutty 5.0

    Nutty 5.0 Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Like your review last year and this one. We've had our 20 FX4 Lariat for a year now and 17k and we've been really happy overall. Glad you like it too Sid and your points on the positive and negatives are dead on.

    Real world hand calculated mileage is 23-24 mpg. IMG_1207.JPG
     
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  8. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Not nearly that big. I think it's a hair smaller than the Gen 2 Sport Trac.
     
  9. red9450

    red9450 Active Member Established Member

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    I had one for a short period of time and I liked a lot about it. Coming from a Lariat F150 however, the road noise and cheaper fit and finish (doors seemed to lack sound deadening of any kind) was a big detractor for me. I also had a gen 2 sporttrac limited, and if the fit/finish was as good with the ranger as the sportrac, it would have been a homerun IMO. Still a great truck and very capable.
     
  10. me32

    me32 BEASTLY SHELBY GT500 TVS Moderator

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    I have to say i like the new ranger, just not the price point. Too close to the F150.

    Sid do you think you will get a chance to test a ranger with a Ford Performance power pack?
     
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  11. andymarkv

    andymarkv Well-Known Member Established Member

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    2.7/7spd manual...either/or is good, but preferably both please!

    If the next gen Ranger is based on the Bronco platform...seems like adding the 2.7 or 7sp shouldn't be super difficult?
    I'm a V8 guy through & through...but a tuned 2.3 with slick shifting 7sp manual would be a fun little truck!
     
  12. 1 Alibi 2

    1 Alibi 2 If not today, when ?????? Established Member SVTP OG 4 Life

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    Had ( 3 ) Rangers, bought a F150 in 2017, could never go back to a small truck.
    The 10R80 shifting / banging / grunting is a well discussed topic on www.f150forum.com .
     
  13. biminiLX

    biminiLX never stock Premium Member Established Member

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    See I’m the opposite, I’d prefer the smaller size of the Ranger, but like Sid said, the 2.7EB and some small interior upgrades would be a home run.
    Cool to know the Ranger is moving to the Bronco platform.
    Any info on the Maverick?
    -J
     
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  14. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    It's the other way around. The Bronco is a Ranger/Everest derivative.
     
  15. biminiLX

    biminiLX never stock Premium Member Established Member

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    Probably makes sense financially.
    -J
     
  16. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member Established Member Single Barrel Sirs

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    Nice review and video, Sid. I'm not a truck guy but this Ranger looks really nice. It's a nice truck option for some. Ford did well.
     
  17. iLLuzionz

    iLLuzionz New Member

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    The more I see these the more I like them


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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