By Derek Price
Ford’s Super Duty pickup trucks have long been known for how they work. But what about play time?
That’s the question the Tremor, a new version of the F-250 and F-350 heavy-duty pickups, tries to answer.
The Tremor name has been used in Ford’s lineup before, including with sport trucks that aim to inject a little excitement into an otherwise utilitarian machine. In this new truck’s case, though, it’s bringing some fun into an area that Ford hasn’t ventured before: heavy-duty pickups designed for off-road performance.
Ford owns the light-duty off-road game with its mind-bending Raptor. It is, by far, the best half-ton truck you can buy from the factory if you want to have fun off the pavement.
The Tremor, though, takes a very different approach from the Raptor.
Instead of building a bigger, heavier truck for high-speed blasts through deserts and cow pastures like the Raptor excels at, the Tremor is designed for more traditional off-roading — climbing trails, fording streams, crawling over rocks, or more commonly just driving on rutty dirt roads and paths in rural areas.
And like its competitors, the entrenched Ram Power Wagon and the newcomer GMC Sierra AT4, it includes some luxury along with the off-road goodies.
What kind of upgrades does it come with?
For starters, the Tremor carries the largest tires ever fitted to a heavy-duty pickup from the manufacturer, Ford claims. The 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires are mounted on 18-inch rims, and they offer fantastic traction on a wide variety of surfaces.
A two-inch lift and a shorter air dam up front help it get a whopping 10.8 inches of ground clearance, which Ford says gives the Tremor best-in-class water fording ability of 33 inches. Approach and departure angles of 31.65 degrees and 24.51 degrees are better than any previous Super Duty.
Massive shocks are custom built for this truck to give it better body control. To me, it feels a lot firmer over bumps than the Ram Power Wagon and slightly firmer than the Sierra AT4. That could be a downside depending on what percentage of driving the truck will be doing on pavement or off.
A rock-crawl mode works when the pickup is in 4×4 low gear, helping control the vehicle slowly and steadily in hairy situations. It also has many of the same customizable modes of Ford’s high-end pickups for towing, saving fuel, driving on ice, snow or sand.
It also gets Trail Control, which works like cruise control for off-roading. This feature, previously available on the F-150 Raptor and the Ranger, is added for the first time ever on the new Super Duty.
For power, the Tremor is offered with either the new 7.3-liter gasoline V8 or a 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel.
My tester came with the new monster gas engine, and it felt surprisingly refined considering it’s built first and foremost for hard work. The V8 is rated for 430 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 475 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 RPM.
For max towing, the diesel is rated for 1,050 pound-feet of torque.
The Tremor off-road package is available on XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch trims, on both the F-250 and F-350 trucks.
Pricing starts at $54,680 for an XLT with the Tremor package, which includes the 7.3-liter engine and four-wheel drive.
The 6.7-liter turbodiesel upgrade is priced about the same as a good used car, $10,495.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2020 Ford F-350 Lariat 4×4 Tremor ($61,015). Options: Lariat sport package ($4,295), Ultimate Trailer Tow camera system ($1,600), Lariat Ultimate Package ($3,495). Price as tested (including $1,695 destination charge): $69,265
Wheelbase: 159.8 in.
Length: 250 in.
Width: 105.9 in.
Height: 81.3 in.
Engine: 7.3-liter V8 (430 hp, 475 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Fuel economy: Not rated
Why buy it?
The new Tremor is built to work on the weekdays and play on the weekends.