By on August 14, 2019

Image: Ford

In all fairness, the newly announced FX2 Package does boost the off-road cred of the two-wheel drive Ford Ranger, albeit modestly. If memory serves this writer correctly, RWD trucks can be a load of fun in the rough, assuming that backcountry trail isn’t too slick, greasy, or soupy.

An obvious ploy to capture the hearts and minds of those enamored by Ford’s popular (4×4) FX4 Off-Road Package, the FX2 seeks to slightly improve the off-roadability of rear-drive Rangers while elevating the truck’s visual brawn.

While Ford admits the FX2 has urban buyers in its sights, the physical alterations that come with the package — mainly, a front underbody guard and air dam delete — should lower the risk of Ranger owners scraping their chin whilst tackling inclines. Seventeen-inch wheels shod in off-road-rated rubber come standard, with 18-inchers optional.

Chunky mud & snows will have to be purchased separately, assuming you’re really keen on playing the part.

Image: Ford

Further nodding in the direction of the Oregon Trail comes in the form of a standard electronic-locking rear differential and a suspension setup tweaked for off-road use. When you’ve only got two drive wheels, you’d best make full use of the available traction. Inside the cabin, drivers can check out (and perhaps Instagram) the pitch and roll angles displayed on the off-road cluster screen — another transplant from the FX4.

According to the automaker, two out of every three Ranger buyers springs for a dressup package, making the FX2 a no-brainer. Cost for this package is $595.

“We’re seeing sales trends that tell us to grow Ranger’s capability and appearance options even further,” said Chad Callander, Ford Ranger consumer marketing manager, in a statement. “The FX2 Package is a result of us listening to our customers and what they’re demanding from their trucks.”

Don’t expect the FX2 to be the final word on Ranger customization. Recent trademark applications point to further Ranger variants.

[Images: Ford]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

42 Comments on “It Takes Two: Ford’s Ranger FX2 Is (Mainly) an On-roader With Off-road Looks...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ok, so a 4X4 trim package on a 2WD truck, I don’t think anyone will mistake the 2WD Ford for a rock crawler. Well, I hope not

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Toyota has done really well with their “PreRunner” Tacomas, in fact when I was down in Mexico the vast majority of Tacomas I saw were of this configuration, and most trucks and SUVs in general were of the RWD variety. Cheaper to buy in the US as used cars as unwanted RWD variants, cheaper to maintain, and south of the border it’s more of a question of durability and ground clearance than traction most of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Ford offered an FX2 package on the F-150 for several years, so this is like that.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    These midsize rigs all ride so high now. I guess “stance” is everything these days.
    I park my S-10 4×4 next to one and it looks like a lowrider.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Agreed! In fact I want the opposite – similar to my old Ranger Splash I’d rather have lowered, “sport truck” type setup and look. However I am clearly in the minority on this as everyone else likes the rugged 4×4 look of lifted trucks. I never take my truck off road, so the extra ground clearance is silly to me. In fact I wouldn’t mine having my old Dakota about 2″ lower! As with most trucks the wheel wells are massive, I don’t think the factory 2WD suspension has enough travel to come close to letting the wheels hit the inner fenders (even with the bed loaded up).

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      I noticed that the new badge-engineered GM twin mid-sized trucks are horrible to follow – they are impossible to see past the top of the bed and even the Ranger is better – and most production full-sized trucks are easier to see through. I like to look past the immediate vehicle in front of me as a safe driver and the GM twins are awful.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @cpresscott: I guess that depends on what the following vehicle is, now doesn’t it? I’ve found that driving my wife’s car, ALL pickup trucks are hard to see past, excepting only the Nissan Frontier. While I do agree that the C-twins are a little high in the tail, the full-sized trucks are much worse and the Tacoma and very probably the Ranger, no better. I do think they could do better to level the bed without sacrificing capacity or ride comfort.

        But I can promise you one thing: At least in my Colorado if I’m going to back up after “panic stop” at a traffic light, I will certainly see the Cooper Mini behind me, unlike some full-sizers I’ve watched crash into cars behind them. Seems some folks simply have to snug their cars right up against the leading vehicle’s bumper–even when they can’t see the lead vehicle’s rear-view mirrors. Then they don’t pay attention when the front vehicle wants to reverse to clear the crossing traffic.

        So to me, if I can’t see the rear-view mirrors of the vehicle in front of me, no matter what I’m driving, I lag back far enough so that I can–because then I know they can see ME.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    So, the Ford FX2 Ranger is kind of like the Tacoma PreRunner? Seems a bit pointless since I never understood the PreRunner appeal either.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The popularity of the Tacoma means I can play “spot the fake 4×4” when I’m in traffic and bored.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You can’t even find a 4×2 truck around here to play that game, except for contractor work truck specials.

        My local Ford dealer currently has 280 new F-150s in stock. 263 of them are 4WD. The remaining 17 include two custom sport trucks (one Roush, one Saleen) and 14 fleet specials. So out of those 280 trucks just one is a 2WD truck configured for a retail buyer.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Yea, it is definitely a regional thing. Checking within 250 miles of me in the FL peninsula, 20% of the new Rangers are 4WD, 45% of the new F-150s, and 15% of the new Expeditions.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          Where I live in mild climate coastal SoCal, where very few truck owners truly need 4×4 capabiity, largest regional dealer (GalpinFord) today stocks 230 rwd and 150 4wd.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Lifted 2wd pickups (or just a leveling kit) with tire/wheel upgrades are very popular/common mods. The Tacoma PreRunner is a complete hit because of it. So why not have it done at the factory, correctly, one package deal, and for less cash than aftermarket?

      2wds look cheesy anyway, and the 4X4 appearance looks like you spent a ton. Just plain 4wd added to the Ranger is $4K. It’s only $3.5K on the F-150 and about $2.7K with rebates.

      Plus you already know it looks right, and is a plus at resale, instead of a negative.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I’d agree that it is a regional taste. Of the 2,300+ new and used Tacomas for sale within 100 miles of me, a paltry 37 are PreRunners…none of the 37 are new.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Lower it a few inches, paint it turquoise, and give it some “SPLASH” graphics.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I was in the Motor City last week. Rental car counter offered me a list of boredom or cars i ve driven a 1000 times. So, I took the Ranger.
    4×4.
    4 door.
    4000 miles new.

    -Completely and totally indecipherable controls for AC and radio on touch screen. example. If you rewind the buffered music, you CANNOT get back to the preset stations. CAN NOT.
    -Real switches for same are not much better.
    – Cannot find the dam mirror adjustment. GO out and manually set them. Oh – there s the switch there behind the thick turn signal stalk and thick steering wheel cross member.
    – Brutal ride. BRUTAL.
    – 21.2 MPG over 400 miles. 90 % or more at 68 MPH on the expressway.

    Horrible truck.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The rough ride is part of the deal. You can’t really have 1,800 lbs payload and 7K towing without it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It was designed for Oceania and I think the folks in the southern hemisphere have some different expectations when it comes to ergonomics and driveability. It is only sold here today because Ford underestimated the future of the mid-size truck market. I’d say this current Ranger is really only for Ford fans that don’t want an F-Series for some reason.

      The next version (coming soon I believe) is being built with the US market in mind so it should be better received.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @redapple: Heh. Sounds like my Chevy Colorado is a far superior truck for being a 4×4 Z71. Nice ride, nice performance, 7000 miles tow capacity AND 27mpg at 68mph on the expressway. With a V6 under the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Yes the Ranger is truly awful. Ford has been releasing some real potatos lately (Explorer, anything Lincoln) But this really takes the cake.

      Why people buy this overpriced, gas guzzling turd is beyond me.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Which midsize pickup isn’t overpriced and or gas guzzling? And would you buy it?

        I certainly wouldn’t buy a midsize pickup, but there’s a huge market for them since most Americans won’t go near a fullsize pickup.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I understand that.
    I had a 92 F 150.
    Straight 6.
    4 on the floor with super granny.

    Rode like a caddy.

    Read on this site. The new Ram rides better than a luxo barge .

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If I had S-class money, I’d rather have a loaded Hemi Ram 4×4 crew cab than an S-class.

      Having said that if I wanted a truck it wouldn’t be loaded and I wouldn’t be dropping S-class money.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Sharp looking pretender.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    A waste of time and money. Oh, this will appeal to the Poseurs but only in southern climes where they don’t have to put up with more than the occasional snowfall (like once every 5 years or less.) Certainly urban drivers since suburban and rural will understand the need for the extra two wheels of drive on steeper grades or the occasional mud hole.

    Get north of the Tennessee/Georgia state line and in hilly country and they’ll be buying the FX4, not the FX2.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    I really liked the Datsun pickups with the roll bar, bash guard and off road lights package on the trucks before they had a 4WD model. It was called the Baja package, I believe.

  • avatar
    jtk

    I was actually hoping it would be a 4×4 that looks like a 2wd drive model.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    2WD pre-runner type trucks are really popular out west with big open deserts.

    All you need is 2WD, AT tires and rear locker and you can pretty much go as fast or faster than 4WD trucks.

    There is a reason why there hasn’t been a 4WD winner of the Baja 500 in over a decade.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’ve never liked the whole “Faux by Faux” of the PreRunner and now this thing. A 2wd truck appeals to me more for its lower (and simpler) aesthetics, slightly better economy and ingress/egress. If I want a 4×4, I’ll buy a 4×4. Of course, I live in western PA, where you can live without 4wd, but its hard to find a truck without it. You have to go fairly far away to find less 4wd trucks.

    I’d like to have a simple truck for around the house. 80’s-90’s Toyota, Nissan or even (non Ranger) Mazda or Mitsubishi 2WD. Air is the only thing it must have. Hard to find now and/or priced exorbitantly, or the truck is a basketcase rustbucket.

    I had a rental RAM 1500 “Classic” 4×4 V8 recently and if I was going to buy a full-size truck, it’d probably be that, because 2wd is lot/resale poison here. I was really tempted, but the thought of dealing with that much bulk daily didn’t appeal to me. But the new Ranger and GM twins aren’t that much smaller or efficient.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I feel like Ford hobbled this truck to not take future sales from the Bronco and to not canabilize the F Series. I don’t like that and I am a Ranger fan going all the way back to my first car.

    I am not a midsized fan but if I had to grab one, it would be the Colorado right now. I have driven them all extensively while I’m not a fan of the exterior, I think its the best midsize truck though I havent driven a USDM Ranger, only international ones.

    I get to drive alot of the “forbidden fruit” midsizers too and while they may become more refined in USDM trim, that holds pretty much true factoring them in as well. I hope Ford does better on the next gen.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Art Vandelay: I feel like Ford hobbled this truck to not take future sales from the Bronco and to not canabilize the...
  • Art Vandelay: It has a nicer interior than my F150 for sure, but I’d love to see any review that says it has...
  • ToolGuy: My thoughts on the Avalon and the reasons for its demise are well documented elsewhere. This model right...
  • Art Vandelay: Yes, VW or Audi will likely give you a nice trade and turn it into something that doesn’t suck....
  • redgolf: bd2 – AGREE!

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States