What comes to mind when you hear Ford trucks? 2020 Ford Ranger should be on the tip of your tongue. Even if you currently own an F-150, the most popular truck on the planet, you might want to give this a read and see what the 2020 Ford Ranger has to offer. Ford is bringing a real off-road package to their two-wheel-drive models, and this isn’t just for show—this is a package for off-road enthusiasts.
Brian Bell, Ford Ranger’s Marketing Manager, said of the 2020 Ranger: “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.” Wait, is Ford really saying that if we don’t need four-wheel-drive, we can still get a truck built for off-roading? Buying a two-wheel-drive truck can sometimes feel like you’re missing out on the good stuff—really, it’s hard to justify spending the money on four-wheel-drive when you know you’re not going to need it. But the best part of this is that the package only costs $595, whereas the FX4 package for four-wheel-drive models costs $1,295.
The highlight of this package, and the most mind-blowing feature you might come across anywhere, is the off-road tires. If you’re reading this, you probably know how much a good set of off-road-capable tires cost, so you know you can’t find these for $595. Unless you’re into serious off-roading, have dreams of hitting the Rubicon, or are in an area where you deal routinely with big snowstorms, this is definitely an affordable option to consider, and not necessarily one that you will find anywhere else.
Chad Callender, Ford’s Consumer Marketing Manager, explains: “We’re seeing sales trends that tell us to grow Ranger’s capability and appearance options even further. The FX2 package is a result of us listening to our customers and what they’re demanding from their trucks.” While the FX2 package does not include Ford’s Terrain Management System and Trail Control that you will find with the FX4 package, these are not features you will need if you’re in the market for a two-wheel-drive truck. What you do get in the FX2 package is electronic locking rear differential, an off-road-tuned suspension, the aforementioned off-road tires, front underbody guard, front air dam delete, and the off-road screen in the cluster.
This a great deal if you do not want to spend the extra money on four-wheel-drive but want the capability of an off-road vehicle. Let’s take a closer look at what you get when you select this package to see if this makes sense for you. While this is not for everyone, for the people who are adventurous and don’t want to spend the extra money on four-wheel drive, this is a very exciting opportunity, so let’s see what all the fuss is about.
When you find yourself in a situation—you took a wrong turn and aren’t too sure about the road—we’ve all been there—it’s nice to know your suspension has been tuned for off-road conditions. The general idea is that your tires remain in contact with off-road terrain and to decrease fade when running over uneven terrain. This also can help when running over pot-holes, keeping the suspension from bottoming out. Again, for the price, this is a no-brainer.
Tires can make or break a truck in off-road conditions, and here Ford is bringing 17-inch wheels as standard, with 18-inch wheels optional, and knobby off-road-ready tires to the package. A good set of off-road terrain tires can run you upwards of $1,300 on their own, so is this is a big win for the consumer. As long as you do not plan on rock crawling or mudding in your new Ford Ranger, two-wheel-drive is fine. Snow, of course, is a consideration if you live somewhere with a lot of snowstorms, but the two-wheel-drive option is nice if you want the increased fuel economy of a two-wheel drive. By choosing a two-wheel-drive Ranger, you gain 2 mpg on the highway and 1 mpg in the city. Plus, having the ability to venture a little off the beaten path is always nice. You never know when you’ll find yourself on a dirt road, where you’ll be thankful for the added traction.
Electronic Locking Rear Differential
If you’re looking for better traction in tough conditions, this is a must-have feature. The rear locking differential allows both wheels to travel at the same speed, in case you lose traction in one wheel. Both wheels are forced to spin, even with no resistance on the ground. When a wheel loses traction, power is sent to the path of least resistance, essentially. This stops forward motion when you probably need to keep momentum going to get through the conditions.
Front Air Dam Delete
Removing the air dam from your front bumper is always a good idea if you’re considering taking your truck off-roading. Not only does it give you better clearance, but it also gives the truck a sleeker and meaner appearance. This is important as well to improve the truck’s approach angle. The lowest-hanging part of the vehicle on the front is most vulnerable when driving off-road, so increasing the distance to the ground is a big help.
Front Underbody Guard
This is fairly self-explanatory. When you’re driving off-road and the conditions are rutted and rocky, you need the peace of mind that you’re not going to puncture or damage anything under your truck. Having underbody protection is a good thing to have if you’re planning any off-road adventures. You don’t want to have to worry about getting stuck who-knows-where, or about damaging underneath your truck when you’re making your way out of the tough spot.
Off-Road Screen in the Cluster
Vehicle yaw, pitch, and roll are displayed in the instrument cluster, bringing the off-road experience inside the cab. Here you have visibility on your three angles so you can better orient yourself. This is a cool addition in terms of the overall driving experience, and it gives you a sense of control that you will need should you find yourself in a precarious position. Knowing the limits of the angles your Ranger can handle safely is a huge bonus for any off-roader.
What sets this package apart from others you might come across is its value. For the price, you simply can’t beat it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an option that never existed before, and that’s really something to be excited about. Now you have the option to make your two-wheel-drive truck off-road capable when you never had the option before. There are a lot of people that will surely be taking advantage of this.
If you don’t need four-wheel-drive but like to head off into the great outdoors occasionally, FX2 is the package you have been waiting for. And for the price, it seems like there is no better deal out there. When you factor in the aesthetic value of a nice-looking truck, you have the makings of a game-changing package. If they haven’t already, it’s safe to say other companies will be following suit shortly. It seems that Ford has just opened up a market that no one even knew existed—the sensible off-road niche for weekend warriors (almost) everywhere.