Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor: Just a Big, Lifted Truck
2020 Pickup Truck of the Year Contender
Ford made waves in mid-2019 by introducing the world to a new model in the Super Duty lineup: the F-250 and F-350 Tremor. Those of us who have been around trucks—specifically Ford trucks—for some time immediately conjured up memories of the Ranger and F-150 Tremor models of days gone by. Those past Tremor models boasted an upgraded audio system and, well, not much else. Fortunately, Ford took this new Tremor in a completely new direction.
A crowd favorite from the onset of our test, the 2020 Ford F-250 Tremor comes from the factory geared up in the way nearly every Super Duty owner desires. Stance is improved with a 2-inch lift, and the truck rolls on massive 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. Capability is improved with the addition of an electronic locking rear differential (though this is hardly novel, as the locking differential is available across the Super Duty lineup), Ford's handy Trail Control system, and a unique (shorter) front air dam. The exterior is classed up as well, with smoked badging and body-colored bumpers and trim.
Because Ford had already offered an F-250 Super Duty in Limited trim with the company's new third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel for our assessment, we opted to test the Tremor with the all-new 7.3L gasoline V-8. Having mixed opinions of gasoline-powered - and 1-ton truck and being somewhat jaded by the immense torque their diesel counterparts produce, we'd be lying if we said our judges didn't have the slightest of preconceived notions heading into the test. All of that went out the window, however, as soon as they got behind the wheel of the big Ford.
Producing 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, the 7.3L V-8 propelled the heavy truck from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.50 seconds, which feels properly quick in the seat-of-the pants metric. Mated to Ford's new 10-speed TorqueShift transmission, the powertrain impressed our judges with its quickness off the line, passing prowess, and the transmission's willingness to quickly shift up or down depending on the situation.
The big gas Ford also performed admirably when loaded with 2,600 pounds of payload and when saddled with a 10,000-pound trailer. There was plenty of power on tap while towing up the steep Cajon Pass—even for overtaking slower vehicles. And despite the Tremor's tall stance and large tires, no one reported any drama while descending the same grade.
Long highway slogs were quiet and comfortable thanks to the truck's well-appointed Lariat-trimmed cabin. It's also worth mentioning that the Tremor package can be optioned onto many different trim levels. Drivers enjoyed the premium B&O stereo system and the Ford's La-Z-Boy-esque front seats. The truck's Sync infotainment system wasn't a huge hit among judges and honestly is probably due a refresh. However, thanks to decent CarPlay integration, many overlooked these shortcomings.
Off-road, the truck took on a life of its own. In addition to the electronic locking rear differential, the Tremor package comes with a unique Dana limited-slip front differential. This meant the Tremor was never hurting for traction, especially when combined with the aggressive tires. Progressive-rate springs paired with twin-tube shocks with a 1.7-inch-diameter piston work together to provide a comfortable ride over rough terrain. The rear stabilizer bar is also tuned to a lower spring rate, allowing for better axle articulation. The Tremor quickly became one of the favorites off-road, and we struggled to find an obstacle it couldn't conquer.
When the proverbial dust settled on the test, the Tremor found itself just outside a podium position. The gasoline V-8 proved a crowd favorite, but in empirical testing it lagged behind the diesel-powered competition. Had the truck been equipped with a Power Stroke diesel or not had to compete against one that was, the outcome may have been quite different.
WE LIKE: Excellent off-road performance, pleasing aesthetic, and great V-8 rumble.
WE DON'T LIKE: Fuel economy frequently in the single digits, high cost as optioned.