LOOKS AREN'T EVERYTHING, OR ARE THEY?

The Ford Ranger’s New Off-Road Package Is a Great Deal, But Not for Everyone


August 14, 2019 Cars By
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Off-roading is the automotive industry’s hottest trend these days. That movement has in part fueled the midsize truck segment’s resurgence in the past few years. The little secret that’s seldom admitted, however, is much of the trend is about appearances. For every Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival attendee, there are dozens more people who buy off-roaders and accessorize them for looks rather than functionality. Many a kitted-out Wrangler or Tacoma spend their lives bound to the pavement.

Ford seems to acknowledge this truth with the new FX2 package for the rear-wheel-drive Ranger. It is, after all, an off-road package for a vehicle lacking that most traditional of off-road features: four-wheel-drive. For a mere $595, it provides off-road tires, an off-road suspension, and a front underbody guard. It also includes a locking rear differential, which adds capability when off the beaten path.

On paper, the FX2 package is a great deal. It delivers more gear than you would get in the aftermarket for $595. If you only want the off-road look, that’s much cheaper than paying an additional $4,000 for the 4×4 Ranger plus another $1,295 for the FX4 package.

Trouble is, buying the FX2 package requires a realistic assessment of your lifestyle. To a degree, it negates the fantasy element of having a cool, off-road-capable vehicle. The FX2 badging broadcasts to Those In The Off-Road Know that you didn’t go all the way when it came time to buy a truck — but you wanted people to think you did.

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Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Detroit-based Motoring Staff Writer. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He kindly requests that you not bring up Michigan football.

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