2019 Ford Ranger FX4 Endures 1,100+ Miles of On- and Off-Road Testing

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Fast Lane Truck drives new Ranger Lariat FX4 from L.A. to Moab and back home to Colorado to test its abilities.

Ford trucks are built to work, but that’s not all they’re used for. Many of them are daily drivers. Others are used as road trip vehicles. Then there are those that spend a lot of time getting dirty off-road. When The Fast Lane Truck got the keys to a shiny new 2019 Ranger FX4, they didn’t drive it around the suburbs. They took it on an 1,100-mile journey from the city streets of LA to the rocky terrain of Moab to the snow-covered roads of Colorado.

In this video, hosts Andre Smirnov and Nathan Adlen fly out to the West Coast and pick up a $46,090 Saber Orange Ranger Lariat SuperCrew with the $1,295 FX4 package. As Smirnov describes it, “It’s partially software and partially hardware” that includes an off-road suspension and tires, a locking rear diff, front tow hooks and skid plate, off-road gauges, Trail Control, Terrain Management System, and skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, and electric power steering system’s motor.

Ford-Trucks.com 2019 Ford Ranger Goes 1,100 Miles On- and Off-Road

Then it’s time to hit the road. After Smirnov and Adlen fill the Ranger’s 18-gallon tank with 87 octane, they head toward Las Vegas. Once the pair reaches Sin City, they check their fuel economy. They’re averaging a little over 21 mpg after nearly 200 miles of driving – just below the Ranger 4X4’s estimated combined fuel economy of 22 mpg.

The guys have plenty more driving ahead of them before they get home. Luckily, the Ranger is a pleasant place to be for several hours. Adlen thinks it’s quiet and has a smooth ride. He says, “These seats are really comfortable. So that’s a big positive.”

Ford-Trucks.com 2019 Ford Ranger Goes 1,100 Miles On- and Off-Road

When Smirnov and Adlen get to Moab, they put the Ranger through a series of evaluations that test its traction and articulation, approach and departure angles, Trail Control system, and ground clearance. One rock formation puts the Ranger on three wheels. The Ranger’s software quickly sorts everything out and gets him to the top. Smirnov watches it all go down and says, “Wow, he really didn’t even need his locker. The traction system really took care of it.”

Ford-Trucks.com 2019 Ford Ranger Goes 1,100 Miles On- and Off-Road

Adlen engages the Ranger’s Trail Control system, aka off-road cruise control, further along the trail. It allows him to concentrate on steering while the software handles the braking and throttle to keep him going his chosen speed of one mph (even when Adlen puts the Ranger’s 10-speed automatic in reverse). At one point, one of his back tires loses its grip on the slippery rock underneath it. All Adlen has to do is engage the rear locker and he’s right back on his way.

Ford-Trucks.com 2019 Ford Ranger Goes 1,100 Miles On- and Off-Road

Other areas of Moab require every degree of the Ranger’s approach (28.7), breakover (21.5), and departure (25.4) angles – and then some. Although it surprisingly clears some sections without scraping, while making its way down one particularly challenging grade, it drags both its front “bash” plate and its rear hitch.

Ford-Trucks.com 2019 Ford Ranger Goes 1,100 Miles On- and Off-Road

The Ranger may pick up a few scratches, but it ultimately gets Smirnov and Adlen through the treacherous Colorado snow and back home. Over the course of 1,147.8 miles, the 2.4-liter EcoBoost I4 gave the guys an average fuel economy of 20.7 mpg. The long trip taught them just how comfortable and capable the new Ranger is…and how badly it needs a larger fuel tank.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

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