2014 Ford F-150 Tremor FX2, FX4 First Test
Back in the early 2000s, sports trucks were all the rage. While the Camaro was discontinued and the Mustang produced a weak 260 hp, the Chevrolet Silverado SS, Dodge Ram SRT-10, and Ford F-150 SVT Lightning all proudly represented the red white and blue with screaming V-8s (and even a V-10!) under their hoods. These sport trucks didn't stick around long. By 2006 or 2007, all were discontinued as gas prices went up and buyers started looking for performance cars capable of hauling ass and turning corners. Most since have considered the sport truck dead, but some in the Ford camp were eager to bring it back. While it's no specialty job like the SVT-designed Lightning, the 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is a sort-of EcoBoost-powered probe by Ford to find out if there are any more sport truck enthusiasts out there.
While the two generations of Ford Lightnings were built from the ground up to be performance trucks, the 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is a considerably less-thorough affair. Based on the sporty mid-level F-150 FX2 (rear-wheel drive) or F-150 FX4 (four-wheel drive) trim level, the Tremor is the only way you can get Ford's lauded EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 in the traditional sport truck configuration of a regular cab/short bed. Though the EcoBoost is unmodified, it hardly needs it with 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of twist on tap, mated to a six-speed automatic. The only performance 'modification' is the Tremor's electronic-locking rear differential (all the better to do burnouts with) and its 4.10:1 final drive ratio. The rest of the F-150 Tremor focuses on the 'show' rather than the 'go.' The Tremor sports the FX's hockey stick side stripes (complete with a Tremor sticker on the bed), black 20-inch wheels with all-season tires, and two sport seats in the cab.
Even if the Tremor is little more than a stickered-up F-150, you'd still expect the big dog to perform the track. Depending on what your expectations are, it does. If you're expecting the Tremor to be a quicker version of the current F-150, you'll likely be pleased. If you're finally trading in that old F-150 SVT Lightning though, you might find yourself disappointed. The Ford F-150 Tremor 4x2 accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the F-150 Tremor 4x4 does the deed in 5.8 seconds. The last Lightning we tested, an '04 model, needed just 5.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph. Its 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 might not be able to beat the EcoBoost in fuel economy, but there's no replacing the F-150 SVT Lightning's 380 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.
The same story goes for the quarter-mile; the Tremor 4x2 tore down the drag strip in 14.4 seconds at 95.7 mph, and the Tremor 4x4 once again was a hair faster at 14.3 seconds and 94.4 mph. The old Lightning, on the other hand, completed the quarter mile almost a full second quicker, needing 13.6 seconds at 102.0 mph. While the Ford F-150 Tremor might ooze sportiness, it's only among the quickest pickups we've tested by a nose. In our testing both the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country and 2014 GMC Sierra Denali, equipped with the 6.2-liter V-8 and crew cabs, were only a second slower to 60 mph than the Tremor. Braking performance is excellent for the class, with the Tremor 4x2 stopping from 60 mph in 115 feet, and the Tremor 4x4 in 118 feet.
Cornering isn't necessarily the Tremor's thing either. The 300-pound lighter (and inch lower) rear-drive F-150 Tremor made up lost ground on the figure eight, where it completed a lap in 28.2 seconds at 0.60 g average. The four-wheel-drive F-150 Tremor needed a little more time on the figure eight, completing the course in 28.6 seconds at a 0.59 g average. That isn't a particularly impressive figure for a sport truck. Though the last-generation Ford Lightning and Ram SRT-10 pre-date our figure eight tests, comparing the Tremor to say, a 3.7-liter 302-hp V-6-powered 2013 F-150 XLT extended cab's 28.9 second at 0.59 g average leaves a bit to be desired. Looking outside the Blue Oval proves that the Tremor's lap time is average – the last 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT 4x4 we tested, equipped with the 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8, tied the four-wheel drive Tremor's figure eight time, while beating the two-wheel drive model's average g with its 0.61 g average.
Out in the real world, the Tremors feel about as sporty as their numbers suggest. With EcoBoost power on tap, both trucks quickly and easily blast out of the hole, but the fun of mashing the long, skinny pedal to the floor at each stoplight wears thin quickly. Those hoping the Tremor can handle some corners ought to look elsewhere in the Ford lineup. While the F-150 has always been a nice driving and handling truck, there's nothing sporty about the Tremor's steering feel, or ride for that matter. The Tremor 4x2 handles better than its heavier four-wheel drive sibling, but feedback from the steering wheel is lacking overall. Though the Tremor handles better on paper, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is without a doubt more fun (and better) to drive on and off the pavement.
The Tremor isn't only marred by aesthetics that write checks the truck can't cash, but it is also let down by a pretty steep sticker price for what you get. The Ford F-150 FX2 Tremor starts at $39,740, including the EcoBoost V-6, 4.10 final drive with a locking rear axle, and the FX appearance pack, which adds the black hood accent and hockey stick stripes to the truck. Our F-150 Tremor 4x2 was also equipped with a spray-in bed liner, and the Tremor Plus Package, which added navigation, a back-up camera, a bed extender, and Ford's ingenious integrated tailgate step, bringing its out-the-door price to $42,210. Our four-wheel-drive F-150 FX4 Tremor tester started at $43,855, and with the same options totaled $46,325. For comparison-purposes, a similarly-equipped 2014 Ram 1500 Sport stickers for $38,535 in 4x2 form, or $42,605 in 4x4 form, or a Raptor can be had for a couple grand more than our F-150 FX4 Tremor's price. If you can live without the go-fast stripes, one could also always get a regular cab, short bed base F-150 XL with the Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 (selecting the EcoBoost automatically gives you an eight-foot bed) that comes well-equipped for a hair more than 30 grand. Point is, without any meaningful performance upgrades, Tremor buyers may be better off spending their money on a base trim truck and optioning it out as a sleeper.
Read about the new 2015 Ford F-150 in the Motor Trend First Look HERE.
Read about the new 2015 Ford F-150 in the Motor Trend First Look HERE.
The 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor may be an excellent pickup truck, but it doesn't quite live up to the sport truck reputation the last F-150 SVT Lightning had. For its price, and given its performance, I suspect most buyers would be happier with the truck the SVT team has been spending most of its time with lately, the Raptor.
|2014 Ford F-150 Tremor FX2||2014 Ford F-150 Tremor FX4|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$42,210||$46,325|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door truck||Front-engine, 4WD, 2-pass, 2-door truck|
|ENGINE||3.5L/365-hp/420-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6||3.5L/365-hp/420-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||5097 lb (55/45%)||5348 lb (56/44%)|
|WHEELBASE||125.9 in||125.9 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||213.2 x 79.2 x 74.8 in||213.2 x 79.2 x 76.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.9 sec||5.8 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.4 sec @ 95.7 mph||14.3 sec @ 94.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||115 ft||118 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.76 g (avg)||0.75 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)||28.6 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||16/18/22 mpg||15/27/17 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||211/187 kW-hrs/100 miles||225/125 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.15 lb/mile||1.03 lb/mile|