Ford F-150 FX4 Hi-Runner. The Unstoppable Force

I’ve just been handed the keys to the Ford F-150 FX4 Supercab 142 in Dubai, UAE, and I’d probably be rendered speechless were I not too busy laughing.

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It is massive.

No, I mean properly massive, even by F-150 standards. And as I stand here not really knowing how to take in this formidable sight, I can’t help but snigger. It’s mighty impressive no question, and stands as one of the most extreme versions of the ‘built tough’ F-150 we’ve seen yet. No surprises then that it’s being marketed as an off-road bazooka for the heartiest of dune bashing fans.

Since the Hi-Runner Package leaves the 5.0-litre V8 untouched, power in the 142 is the same as that found in a standard F-150, with 360hp and 380lb ft of torque being chucked out. The bulk of the $500 you’ll be forking over for the package, on top of the $39k starting price for the F-150 FX4 itself, pays predominantly for the tweaks to the double-wishbone independent suspension, which have now been lifted front and rear by six inches, and the enormous set of LT 325/60 off-road tyres. Combined, this raises the overall height of the FX4 nearly two feet higher if you include the four roof-mounted driving lamps, and increases ground clearance considerably. Bottoming out on even the heartiest of dunes seems unlikely.

As with the standard F-150, the FX4 142, comes equipped with a three-way four-wheel drive transfer case and an electronic locking rear differential. What is immediately apparent is the manner in which the FX4 tackles the sand on the outskirts of Dubai, foregoing bouncing from dune to dune like the much lighter Jeep Wrangler in favour of ploughing through obstacles ad hoc. Behind the wheel it’s surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, smooth inputs through the steering and low-end torque (with peak results achieved at 4250rpm) allowing the FX4 to maintain its momentum across tricky terrain at low speeds. Feathering the throttle with a brute of this size doesn’t have much of an effect, but inputs through the right foot are responded to vigilantly, and rarely does the FX4 hint at struggling when we make it into the deeper sand.

Feeling a little devil-may-care, and with crankandpiston photographer Arun having found a suitable location ‘to make the most of’, I disable the traction control with a view to throwing the FX4 around a little. Thanks to the appropriate RSC stability control, there isn’t nearly as much body roll as I had been expecting given how high the pick-up’ centre of gravity is. Now using the manual configuration of the six-speed SelectShift transmission (which unfortunately means having to use the rather convoluted rocker switch on the side of the gearlever when shifting up or down), planting the loud pedal in the deeper sand allows the rears to gracefully slide round whilst the power continues to be driven through the grippy front wheels.

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Categories: Road

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