What's Shakin'? Ford Launches Super Duty Tremor Off-Road Model
Tremor name returns for those who want to take this big boy to parts unknown.
Ford is entering yet another truck niche with the Tremor, a factory off-road package for its 2020 F-Series Super Duty truck lineup. This is not a desert-racing Raptor performance companion; instead, it's for the F-250 and F-350 heavy-duty truck owner who steers toward rocks and mud, maybe with a trailer full of ATVs in the back.
When it comes to top-end trims and packages, it seems there is no ceiling in today's truck world, and Ford is happy to oblige wherever it sees a sliver of an opportunity to offer something new. The automaker looked at the thousands of dollars that Super Duty buyers spend on aftermarket parts and decided more of that money should stay in-house. Indeed, Ford executives say 70 percent of customers accessorize their trucks, spending anywhere from about $2,000 to $10,000—or more. Their research shows 15 percent of F-250 and F-350 owners take off their factory wheels and tires within the first six months and buy more capable off-road wheels and tires. Some put lift kits on, or suspension upgrades.
Rather than create an off-road version of Super Duty, Ford decided to offer the most popular upgrades as a package, thus maintaining similar payload and towing capacity. The Tremor package is positioned above the FX4 in price and capability. The Tremor takes the FX4 concept a bit further, as opposed to the F-150 Raptor which is a different vehicle. Ford expects half of its future Super Duty buyers will opt for either the FX4 or Tremor off-road package.
The truck team says buyers would like to buy a lifted truck with an upgraded suspension, bigger shocks, wheels and tires, and more off-road tech, saving effort and time. It remains to be seen how true this is, as this is a buyer segment that likes to tinker with their toys themselves. Pricing has not been announced, but marketers will have to be somewhat delicate and not price the package beyond what DIYers could afford to do themselves with aftermarket parts.
The name is not new. Ford offered a Tremor for 3014 as a single-model-year sporty F-150 with a regular cab, short box, and more performance than standard models thanks to being lighter than most other models. It packed Ford's twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. While this is a far different application, Ford officials felt the catchy name fits well with a heavy-duty, off-road truck. The Tremor name appears on the side of the pickup box and on the shocks; nowhere inside. Ford would love to see the Tremor name gain the same kind of recognition as Raptor.
The Tremor package will be offered on trim levels from XLT up, which constitutes about 70 percent of the lineup. It is for retail only, and not offered on the base XL which is essentially a work truck designed for fleet customers. The package is only for 4x4 single-rear-wheel SuperCrew trucks with a 6.75-foot box as this configuration is most conducive to going off-road. Almost three quarters of Super Duty sales are single rear wheel and the FX4 package is available for dualies. F-250 models must also have the high-capacity trailer tow package.
The 2020 Super Duty lineup, which received a midcycle refresh and goes on sale this fall, is notable for the addition of a new 7.3-liter V-8 gasoline engine known as Godzilla. Ford continues to offer a diesel; the 6.7-liter Power Stroke now in its third generation.
With the same grunt as the rest of the lineup—specs have not been released—trucks with the Tremor package will have similar, but slightly less, payload and towing ratings than the rest of the 2020 Super Duty lineup. This makes it a strong competitor against the Ram Power Wagon that can crawl up or over almost anything. And GMC is expected to offer an off-road version of their Sierra HD.
The Tremor package offers an upgraded suspension and bigger shocks tuned by Ford. The rear stabilizer bar is tuned for a lower spring rate when the body is twisted like a pretzel over a rockbed. The truck has custom 1.7-inch piston twin-tube dampers tuned for soft damping at low speeds.
There is a locking rear differential with electronic shift-on-the-fly and up front is a new Dana limited-slip front differential. When a tire loses traction, the brakes can send power to the wheel with traction. Off-road-oriented running boards tuck up next to the body to help keep them intact on the trail, and there are holes to make it easier to hose them down. Running boards are retractable on the top-end Platinum trim level. The Tremor borrows the same skid plates used on FX4 models.
Tremors can ford water up to 33 inches deep, which puts it just under the headlights. The package provides 10.8 inches of ground clearance with the huge tires and a 30mm lift in the front and 40mm lift in the rear and unique axle geometry to accommodate the factory lift. The front air dam was raised 5 inches to improve the approach which is now a 31.65-degree approach it has a 24.51 departure angle. The package wraps 35-inch Goodyear Wrangle Duratrac maximum-traction all-terrain tires, the largest Ford has ever put on a heavy-duty pickup, around 18-inch matte-finish black wheels.
Trail Control, which is essentially cruise control for off-roading, migrates from the F-150 Raptor and Ranger to the Super Duty for the first time. The Tremor package adds a rock-crawl mode optimized to operate in 4x4 low. The new 10-speed TorqShift heavy-duty automatic transmission with the gas engine has a 53:1 crawl ratio while those with the diesel have a 44:1 crawl ratio.
Ford's Trailer Reverse Guidance camera system has been extended beyond conventional trailers to also work with goose neck and fifth wheel trailers and the Super Duty now gets the Pro Trailer Backup Assist that is on the F-150. With a sale date near the end of the year, it will be some time before we get exact specs and pricing, but stay tuned.