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2020 Ford F-250 & F-350 Super Duty Tremor First Drive

We point Ford’s newest truck to rocks, mud, water, hills, logs, and more!

In mid-2019, Ford made waves when the company introduced the world to an all-new off-road variant of its ever-popular Super Duty lineup. Called the Tremor, Ford brought together a mean appearance with body-colored bumpers and accents, black badging, and dark chrome. Unique black wheels are wrapped with 35-inch Goodyear tires, and the truck rides on an elevated suspension. Larger twin-tube shocks control axle motion, while a standard locking rear differential assists in keeping the big truck moving forward. A 12,000-pound Warn winch is optional, as is the company's 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8.

Ford fans have been asking for an answer to Ram's Power Wagon for a long time, and it seems the company has finally responded. To see just how well the Tremor works in the real world, Ford invited us out to a rock quarry near Phoenix where they had built one of the more extreme off-road courses we've seen at a launch event.

We had the opportunity to tow a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep and windy 6-percent grade with a Power Stroke-powered Tremor and suffice to say it was a complete nonevent. Fun fact: The F-250 Tremor is fitted with F-350 rear springs.

So, How Does It Wheel?

The burning question on everyone's mind is: Just how well does the truck work off-road? Not pulling any punches, Ford kicked the off-road course off with a rockcrawl course through massive boulders. Sure, they weren't quite the Volkswagen-sized rocks of the Hammers, but impressive enough nonetheless. With careful tire placement and using the 360-degree camera system as a spotter we made short work of the boulder field with relative ease.

As the miles-long obstacle course continued we climbed steep hills, descended even steeper grades, crossed logs, and got the truck twisted up in multiple sets of dug out moguls. All of this showed us just how well the suspension was able to flex, keeping the tires firmly planted most of the time, and demonstrated the Tremor's abundance of ground clearance. Approach angle is fantastic at 31.65 degrees, while departure angle is a respectable 24.51. There were only a couple of instances where we drug the trailer hitch on departure; however, it was never a hard hit.

We ran the trucks through a pit filled with nasty, sticky mud, which demonstrated the self-cleaning ability of the 35-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires. Speaking of tires, Ford says the Goodyears on the Tremor are the same off-the-shelf pieces that can be bought by anyone today. This will make replacement easier and the tire more durable than the specially spec'd tire variants manufacturers normally use.

Wanting to show us everything the Tremor was capable of, which we appreciate, Ford included a water fording demonstration that would scare the pants off most truck manufacturers. They did this because the Tremor boasts a best-in-class water fording depth of 33 inches, which is better than most Jeeps. We also ran the trucks through a pit filled with nasty, sticky mud, which demonstrated the self-cleaning ability of the 35-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires. Speaking of tires, Ford says the Goodyears on the Tremor are the same off-the-shelf pieces that can be bought by anyone today. This will make replacement easier and the tire more durable than the specially spec'd tire variants manufacturers normally use.

Because we're all 16-year-olds at heart, Ford was kind enough to give us another mud pit to run through, this one a bit more wet, and encouraged a steady 25-30 mph run. The result was a glorious wave of mud reaching high into the sky. While this act may seem juvenile at first glance, we've broken many trucks in different ways over the years doing this very thing on the trail. The fact that Ford was confident enough to send the trucks through this pit over and over again is telling of their confidence in its durability.

We ended our off-road adventure with a soft, rutted hillclimb back out of the pit. Which, as you can imagine, the Tremor conquered with ease. Leaving the quarry was a 40-mile drive on graded dirt roads. We were genuinely impressed with the Tremor's quietness and composure running down the dirt road. We've been in so many heavy-duty trucks that try and rattle our teeth out on the simplest of graded dirt that this really made us appreciate the shock and suspension tuning. To that note, the Tremor features unique front coil springs, larger 45mm dampers, and a lighter front antisway bar.

Ford pointed us to a mud pit that had a higher water content and encouraged a steady 25-30 mph run. The result was a glorious wave of mud reaching high into the sky. We've broken trucks over the years doing this very thing on the trail. The fact that Ford was confident enough to send the trucks through this pit over and over again is telling of their confidence in its durability.

Overall, we were beyond impressed with how the Tremor handles off-road duties. People's natural comparison will be toward Ram's Power Wagon, and we'll boldly say that the Tremor will handily go anywhere the Power Wagon will. The Power Wagon has a locking front differential, but the Tremor's Dana limited-slip works fantastically well, especially when paired with the truck's brake-biased traction control. The Power Wagon has an electronically disconnecting front sway bar, however, the Tremor's lightened sway bar provides for excellent articulation and ride comfort at any speed and in any drive mode. And the Power Wagon comes with a 12,000-pound Warn winch, which is now also available on the Tremor.

The F-350 Has Got To Be Stiffer, Right?

Since the Tremor package can be added to so many different models we were eager to try them all. However, in talking to the many Ford engineers who were present at the drive program, we quickly learned that both the F-250 and F-350 Tremor share the same rear springs. Both trucks use the standard-rate F-350 rear leaf spring pack. So, when you buy an F-250 Tremor, you're really getting F-350 hardware.

The bigger difference is in the powertrains. The Tremor can be optioned with either Ford's new 7.3L gasoline V-8 or the company's 6.7L Power Stroke diesel. To compensate for the added weight of the diesel, the progressive rate front coil springs are unique to each engine. In driving both trucks back-to-back, we did notice the weight of the diesel engine over the nose, but only slightly. Spring and shock tuning is so dialed that the heavier diesel engine didn't prove to be a detriment off-road.

What are the hard parts that make the Tremor unique and excel on- and off-road? Some of its features include larger twin-tube shocks to control axle motion, an elevated suspension, locking rear differential, Dana limited-slip front differential, lightened sway bar, and 35-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires. A 12,000-pound Warn winch is optional,

But Can It Still Tow?

Ford didn't want to compromise on-road capability for off-road performance. To that end, the Tremor loses very little when it comes to towing ability. Ford rates the Tremor at up to 15,000 pounds on the bumper and up to 21,800 pounds with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel. We had the opportunity to tow a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep and windy 6-percent grade with a Power Stroke-powered Tremor and suffice to say it was a complete nonevent. We also hauled a 10,000-pound gooseneck with a 7.3L gasoline-powered truck, and while it certainly was working noticeably harder, we were still able to pass slower traffic on the grade.

I Want A Base Truck, Can I Have That?

Yes! Ford has been quite thoughtful in how it is offering the Tremor. The Tremor is a package that can be added to several trim levels for less than $5,000 (the Warn winch adds another $3,000 to the price tag, however). Buyers can select an XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, or Platinum level F-250 or F-350 with either the 7.3L gasoline V-8 or 6.7L Power Stroke diesel. Sorry regular cab lovers, the Tremor is only available on crew cab shortbed models, and they need to be four-wheel drive, obviously. Don't worry, we're on the list, too, of folks wanting a regular cab XL with the Tremor package maybe someday.

Final Thoughts

For what we enjoy doing, the Tremor is the perfect Super Duty. It's just as at home in the backcountry as it is towing a load down the highway or hitting the town for a swanky dinner date. In our short time behind the wheel it quickly proved itself to be a genuine jack-of-all-trades, a truck so lacking in compromise we're not sure how they even pulled it off. We're looking forward to more time behind the wheel and more dirt-road adventures, but for now we must say well done Ford, well done.

This may come as a surprise: You can get the Tremor package for less than $5,000 and it's available on XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, or Platinum level F-250 or F-350. And it can be paired with either the 7.3L gasoline V-8 or 6.7L Power Stroke diesel powerplants. The Tremor is not available on regular cab Super Dutys and the Warn 12,000-pound winch is a separate option ($3,000)

Quick Specs (as tested)
Vehicle/model: '20 Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor Lariat
Base price: $52,115
As tested: $80,220
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke V-8
Rated hp/torque (lb-ft): 475/1,050
Transmission: TorqShift 10-spd
Transfer case: 2-spd
4WD system: 4WD, 2-Hi, 4-Hi, Neutral, 4-Lo
Low range ratio: 2.67:1
Frame type: Ladder
Suspension, f/r: Solid axle with coil springs/Solid axle with leaf springs
Axle ratio: 3.55:1
Max crawl ratio: 44:1
Steering: Hydraulic power recirculating ball
Brakes, f/r: 14.29-in disc/14.29-in disc
Tires: 35x12.5R18 Goodyear DuraTrac
Wheelbase (in): 159.8
Length (in): 250.0
Height (in): 84.5
Width (in): 80.0 (without mirrors)
Base curb weight (lb): 7,262
Payload (lb): 3,470
Max towing capacity (lb): 15,000 (conventional), 21,800 (gooseneck)
Fuel capacity (gal): 34

Quick Specs (as tested)
Vehicle/model: '20 Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor Lariat
Base price: $52,115
As tested: $72,140
Engine: 7.3L V-8
Rated hp/torque (lb-ft): 430/475
Transmission: TorqShift 10-spd
Transfer case: 2-spd
4WD system: 4WD, 2-Hi, 4-Hi, Neutral, 4-Lo
Low range ratio: 2.67:1
Frame type: Ladder
Suspension, f/r: Solid axle with coil springs/Solid axle with leaf springs
Axle ratio: 4.30:1
Max crawl ratio: 53:1
Steering: Hydraulic power recirculating ball
Brakes, f/r: 14.29-in disc/14.29-in disc
Tires: 35x12.5R18 Goodyear DuraTrac
Wheelbase (in): 159.8
Length (in): 250.0
Height (in): 84.5
Width (in): 80.0 (without mirrors)
Base curb weight (lb): 6,568
Payload (lb): 3,470
Max towing capacity (lb): 15,000 (conventional),18,600 (gooseneck)
Fuel capacity (gal): 48