Ford F-250 Tremor: Tough As Nails And Surprisingly Usable
Normally known for being utilitarian, this versatile truck takes you anywhere in comfort.
Heavy duty pickups get a hard time for being all work and no play. Driving dynamics comparable to a Sherman tank with interior comfort levels rivaling those of prison cells, and about as much practicality as a broken umbrella during a hurricane.
Ford's latest Super Duty line puts any cliches to rest with its new Tremor line, with an emphasis on hardcore off-road capabilities while being ready to tackle any job site duties, balanced with real world usability. Normally a tester of more fun metal, I wanted to check out Ford's new performance Super Duty, and its fine folks sent the new F-250 Tremor my way for a week of toying around.
The Big Numbers
Ford offers your choice of a turbo diesel engine or one of two naturally aspirated petrol V8s. The base petrol engine is a good 6.2-liter V8 with 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft (583 Nm) of torque, and the other one as an all-new 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft (475 Nm) of torque 7.3-liter powerplant that has loads of power boosting potential. My tester was equipped with tried and true 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel V8 that packs 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft (1,423 Nm) of torque. Power is delivered through a 10-speed automatic transmission and electric shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive.
Dimensions for the Super Duty measure 250 inches long, 70 tall, 80 wide, and in crew cab form with the shorter 160-inch wheelbase model, this Tremor packs a 7,262 pound (3,294 kg) curb weight. The EPA doesn't require fuel economy estimates for heavy duty trucks, but this F-250 Super Duty managed 19 miles per gallon during my test, and with a 34-gallon tank on board, you can damn near drive across Texas before needing a diesel fill-up.
Packing enough power and torque to pull a mid-rise building with enough off-road kit to storm the high plains desert of West Texas doesn't come cheap, the base price of the F-250 starting at $52,445, but quickly goes up. Adding the $10,495 optional Power Stroke engine, $3,975 Tremor off-road package, two Lariat option packages, and a handful of other boxes ticked, the MSRP for my Velocity Blue F-250 Super Duty came to $82,245.
A Proven Workhorse
With torque capable of altering the Earth's rotation, the F-250 Tremor will easily move off the line, even if you've got commercial equipment loaded onto your trailer. Optioned with the 160-inch wheelbase, 6.75-foot cargo box, and 10,800-pound GVWR package this Tremor boasts a payload capacity of 3,320 pounds (basically a new Porsche 992 Carrera) and a mega 20,000-pound conventional trailer towing capacity.
A smart towing mode makes hookup, backing up, and driving a breeze, and there are seven cameras to provide safe visibility around your trailer. Bed access is easy via a power tailgate and retractable step, despite having three feet of clearance above the ground. Ford's Tough Bed spray in liner offers good protection, stowable loading ramps are a great option that hook into the sides, accessory power is on tap, and there are LED lights wired up for working at night.
If your truck is your remote office, Ford has you covered with a 4G LTE wifi hotspot that can connect up to 10 devices, there are loads of USB ports plus a 110V outlet, and the center console has a ton of space for tucking away your laptop. Long-term ownership is typical with heavy duty trucks, so in addition to the usual 3 year / 36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, Ford provides a 5 year / 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and a 5-year diesel engine warranty with a whopping 100,000 miles of coverage.
I've ridden in buses smaller than this truck, and this isn't even the longest configuration.
Fill 'er up!
Naming a truck Tremor may inspire land-shaking performance, and this Super Duty definitely gets down. 35" Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires (biggest tires fitted to any heavy-duty pickup) offer serious off-road performance while maximizing traction on the road. Looking the business, Tremor gets unique running boards for easy access while minimizing body damage during off-roading, and extended-axle vent tubes and skid plates protect the Super Duty's vital hardware.
An electronic shift-on-the-fly rear locking differential paired with a Dana limited-slip front differential will cope with any surfaces you may encounter. Ford's Trail Control with a Tremor-unique rock crawl mode gives you software and hardware to cope with seriously tough terrain while best-in-class 33-inch water fording capability is something typically expected from Land Rover offerings. 6.7-liter diesel Tremors get a 44:1 crawl ratio, and 7.3-liter models come equipped with a 53:1 crawl ratio.
Boasting 10.8 inches of ground clearance with 31.65º approach and 24.51º departure angles, you're not going to get stuck on a boulder very easily. While custom 1.7" piston twin-tube dampers with high oil volume to keep things cool, progressive rate springs balance heavy-duty towing capability with off-road functionality. Tremor's rear stabilizer bar gets a lower spring rate to minimize head toss over obstacles as you're throwing some heavier articulation through the suspension. With all this kit installed, go find an ORV park and piss off a Jeep owner.
Approved For Civilian Use
When getting to and from work, the Tremor is remarkably comfortable and useable. Huge cushy seats have heating and ventilation, with 10-way power adjustments. Despite weighing more than your house, the Tremor cruises along smoothly at highway speeds, with minimal body roll when you need to make a sharp turn. The huge torque figure is comfortably managed by the Tremor's 10-speed automatic transmission that seems to always keep you in the wide power band, while not chasing shifts up and down too often.
While off-road rubber is mounted to chunky wheels, the Tremor has good grip on pavement, and much less radial noise than I expected. Optional adaptive steering equipped, maneuvering the F-250 Super Duty is made easy, and Ford includes lane keeping assist and blind spot monitors to help you keep the big truck where it belongs. For longer treks, optional adaptive cruise control manages the big pickup's pace nicely.
Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system features a big touchscreen, Bluetooth streaming connectivity, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on board if you prefer using your mobile's apps instead. The optional 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system is stout too.
Heftier occupants will appreciate loads of space within the Tremor's cabin, with plenty of leg, hip, and shoulder room in the Super Crew model I tested. Stashing away any items you may need in the cabin, this big Ford has plenty of cupholders, big bottle holders in the doors, and a nice assortment of storage bins and pockets.
Up from San Antone
There's Nothing This Truck Can't Do
Heavy duty trucks have risen to a higher level of expectations over the years, needing to accomplish more than just hard work from sunrise to sunset. Ford's F-250 Super Duty makes the daily grind more bearable while providing comfortable conditions and all the features you get inside decent luxury cars.
In Tremor form, true off-road capabilities are on display, with all the necessary hardware you'll ever need for any adventure. Our roads are too cluttered with mall-rated Brodozers loaded with gear they'll never take away from the safety of smooth pavement, and it's nice knowing Ford can make a heavy duty pickup that can haul as much ass as equipment, no matter what surface is beneath it.