Having released the first and only teaser earlier this week, Ford has officially unveiled the Ranger FX4 Max in Australia some observers have dubbed the 'Raptor-lite'.

Based on the FX4, which itself is essentially an appearance package for the XLT, the Max slots-in above it and the Wildtrak with a sticker price of $65 940 (R777 732), which amounts to a $4 700 (R55 434) and $150 (R1 769) premium respectively, but a credit of $1 850 (R21 819) over the next step-up Wildtrak X.

Ford Ranger FX4 Max shows true itself as Australia's junior Raptor

Priced at $11 250 (R132 688) less than the Raptor though, the Max receives its unofficial moniker by incorporating a number of elements also derived from the US market Tremor. These include the new Fox Racing 2.0 mono-tube front and rear dampers with a remote reservoir, retuned coil-over rear springs, a smaller anti-roll bar, new rear leaf springs, revised steering, a 20 mm increase in ride height, a 26 mm wider front track than the XLT and dark grey 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 32-inch BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tyres.

With a ground clearance of 256 mm compared to the XLT's 237 mm, the FX4 Max's approach and departure angles have been improved by two degrees to 31 and 23 degrees respectively, but the breakover remains unchanged at 25 degrees with the same applying to the 3.5-ton towing capacity and the 981 kg payload.

Ford Ranger FX4 Max shows true itself as Australia's junior Raptor

In addition to its off-road hardware, which does not include the Raptor's Terrain Management system, the Max's exterior has muscled-up to include the Raptor's grille with block letter F-O-R-D badging, wheel arch cladding, tubular steel side steps, a dark grey sports bar and matte black mirror caps, dark grey door handles, a standard tow bar and LED light integrated into the loadbin, a dark grey front skidplate, red FX4 Max logos on the rear wings and optionally, red graphics on the bonnet, doors and tailgate.

The interior's transformation is less extensive and consists of Miko suede inserts on the seats, alloy pedals taken from the Raptor, an auxiliary panel above the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, carbon-look inlays, black detailing on the leather wrapped steering and leather seats with FX4 Max embroidered seatbacks.

Ford Ranger FX4 Max shows true itself as Australia's junior Raptor

Underneath the bonnet, the 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel engine continues as is with outputs of 157kW/500Nm. Drive is routed to the rear or all four wheels via the General Motors co-developed ten-speed automatic gearbox.

Offered in two colours; Alabaster White and Conquer Grey, the FX4 Max has been developed specifically for Australia and while it will go up against another home-grown hero, the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior, it is unlikely to be offered in South African anytime soon.

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