One thing we’re certain of is that Ford knows how to build a proper off-roader. The F-150 Raptor, the new Bronco and Bronco Sport, and even the Ranger are all proof of that. So with a number of successes already under its belt, last year the company decided to extend those best off-road bits to its Super Duty truck range, which bred the ultra-tough Ford F-250 Tremor you see here.
The Tremor sits 10.8 inches off the ground thanks to a hearty suspension lift, rides on 35-inch off-road tires, and comes with the choice of two powerful engines – one gas and one diesel. Plus, there are a number of dedicated drive modes designed for various terrain, like snow, mud, and rock. Simply put: The Ford F-250 Tremor can tackle anything… except tight parking lots.
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The F-250 Tremor is a very tough-looking truck, upping the aggressive factor compared to the standard Lariat model on which our tester is based (the Tremor pack is available only with the Crew Cab body and on every trim but the base XL and range-topping Limited).
One of the first things you notice are the massive 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac off-road tires, which wrap around 18-inch black wheels. Both of those are exclusive to the Tremor package. The package-exclusive grille also wears a sinister gloss black treatment between the headlights, ditching the F-250’s traditional chrome pieces and further toughening up the look. And to offset those darkened elements, our tester wears an eye-searing Rapid Red exterior (a $395 option) with “TREMOR” lettering lining the rear fender – the red-on-black is a killer combo that helps this truck stand out even more.
But there’s nothing inside of this F-250 to indicate that it’s a Tremor model at all – not even stitched floormats. That probably has something to do with the fact that Ford considers the Tremor a package instead of a traditional trim level. Nonetheless, the same basic black and silvery plastic treatments on the steering wheel, center console, and door panels carry over from the traditional F-250 totally unchanged. You also get the same basic black leather available on the F-250, which is nothing special.
Believe it or not, the F-250 Tremor is actually quite comfortable on the road. Even with massive tires and 10.8 inches of ground clearance, the suspension has palpable cushiness (for off-roading) that makes it feel smooth, even over imperfect pavement. The soft leather seats are certainly nice to have as well, both front and rear, helping buffer you from impacts even when the going does get tough.
As with most full-size trucks, the inside of the F-250 Tremor is cavernous. Our Crew Cab tester – a full four-door option, the largest configuration you can get – features a capacious 40.8 inches of front headroom and 43.9 inches of front legroom, while rear headroom sits at 40.4 inches and legroom is 43.6 inches. By comparison, that’s about as much space as you get in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The F-250 has relatively lightweight steering, as well, which makes the otherwise massive truck feel pretty easy to maneuver, and body roll isn’t as offensive as you might think. The only thing we’d really ding the F-250 for is sound infiltration from the engine and tires. The cabin itself is well-insulated – wind noise and sounds from pinging rocks rarely enter the cabin – but there’s no stopping the diesel note nor the clunk of the knobby tires from making a ton of noise.
Technology & Connectivity
The F-250 Tremor features an 8.0-inch touchscreen that feels small, relative to the competition; Ram offers a 12.0-inch tablet-style touchscreen in its trucks. The interface also uses Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, which is easy to use, but isn’t perfect. The graphics are outdated, the screen feels cheap to the touch, and some Ford products have already adopted Sync 4, which is more advanced and has better features. At least you do get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto here.
There are some other neat features like a crisp productivity screen between the two analog gauges that offers various readouts for things like fuel economy, navigation, and drive modes. Plus, those planning on hauling boats, trailers, etc. get the Pro Trailer Backup Assist with a 360-degree overhead camera to make things a bit easier. The Tremor is also available with an integrated winch, although our tester lacked that particular option.
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Performance & Handling
Powering the F-250 Tremor we tested was a 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel packing 1,050 pound-feet and 475 horsepower, and paired to a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain setup is seamless; the turbo spools quickly, causing a massive surge of torque that propels the 7,262-pound pickup with ease. Mash the throttle and the F-250 Tremor moves with genuine quickness.
Where the F-250 really excels is off the road, as its rugged Tremor package implies. We puttered around the toughest trail we could find – a dirt road suitable for something like the Subaru Outback – and found that the Tremor glides over bumps, rocks, and undulations with relative ease at moderate speeds (read: 20 miles per hour).
At lower speeds, the Tremor does feel a bit heavy, and thus, harsher. The solid rear axle and leaf springs don’t feel as composed over the tougher stuff as what you get in the Ram 2500 Power Wagon’s more modern coil-sprung, five-link solid-rear axle.
At 20.3-foot long as tested (with the Crew Cab configuration and 6.8-foot bed) and standing at nearly 7.0-feet tall, general around-town usability is terrible. Navigating tight parking lots is a challenge – it’s hard to know exactly where the vehicle begins and ends – and the Tremor towers over everything else on the road, which makes it unnerving to drive in heavy traffic. This is a truck for the country, not tight roads.
And like most heavy-duty trucks, the F-250 doesn’t have a ton of safety features. Automatic emergency braking is standard, and our tester does have two add-ons. The adaptive steering ($1,000) automatically adjusts the steering ratio depending on the driver’s habits, and the adaptive cruise control ($740) does a solid job on the highway. Plus, the F-250 has a 360-degree overhead camera for parking as part of the Lariat trim – which is an absolute must given this monster truck’s size. Still, the F-250 still falls a bit short in the larger scope.
As with nearly all heavy-duty trucks, the EPA does not provide fuel economy figures for the F-250 Tremor, so we’re unable to give it a rating. That said, we regularly saw fuel economy in the mid-teens during our time with this truck.
The starting price for the 2021 Ford F-250 Lariat like the one tested here is $47,210, and selecting the Crew Cab configuration adds an additional $2,330 to that price, bringing the cost of that particular truck to $49,540 (before destination fees). The Tremor package adds $3,975 to that cost.
But opting for the Tremor also requires you to upgrade from the standard 6.2-liter V8 to the more expensive 7.3-liter V8, as well as opt for four-wheel drive, rather than two-wheel. All told, selecting the Tremor package to the base F-250 Lariat Crew Cab adds a total of $9,210 to the cost – putting the cost of the F-250 Tremor at $58,750 before options. And our tester has plenty of them.
Choosing the 6.7-liter diesel engine instead of the standard V8 will set you back an extra $10,495, and adding the Lariat Sport package (renamed the Lariat Black Appearance Package for 2021) – which adds new visual cues, as well as wheel well liners and a Tough Bed spray-in bed liner – costs $4,295. The power moonroof is an extra $1,495, the Rapid Red paint is an additional $395, and there are a handful of other options that bring the total asking price of the vehicle tested to $83,490 after destination and handling fees ($1,695).
By comparison, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon starts at $53,550 before options, and comes with a standard Crew Cab configuration (just like the Tremor) and a slightly shorter 6-foot, 4.0-inch bed. That may look significantly cheaper than the F-250, but since the Tremor is a package, you could actually drop down to an XLT Crew Cab model, instead of the Lariat tested here, and take home an F-250 Tremor for just $52,320.