2021 Ford Ranger Tremor review: Ready for overlanding glory
And now, for 2021, the Ranger is ready to play even harder and get even dirtier.
This is the new Ranger Tremor package, and it's the mid-size truck's most off road capable version and it looks pretty serious.
All right before we go and get all muddy, let's talk about what we're dealing with here.
The Ranger has been back on the market since twenty nineteen.
And unlike last time when it was a compact like my ninety nine this guy is a mid size.
Now versus other Rangers this power train is unchanged, it's still the same torque Rich two point three liter EcoBoost four.
Paired to a 10 speed automatic delivering 270 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque.
That's just fine because this is a more modern powertrain than what you can find archrivals from Toyota and General Motors.
Now the tremor isn't a full blown new model.
It's a 40 $300 option package available on SuperCrew XLTS and lariats.
That means that the tremor upgrades that I'm here to talk about are only around two grand and that feels like a solid value.
Mechanically the tremor's biggest changes are it's spring events.
The main event with this tougher suspension is a set of new Fox 2.0 shocks, especially the rear units, which have piggyback reservoirs for greater control and thermal capacity.
And the tremors got some pretty gnarly new 32 inch general grabber tires on 17 inch wheels as well.
This isn't such an extreme setup, the Rangers on road ride quality has been ruined.
It's a little softer and there's a bit more body roll on dry pavement, but none of that is actually unpleasant.
Plus these altering tires, well they don't drone on the freeway and on road surfaces, the way that a lot of hardcore off road tires can.
I've been driving this Ranger around Detroit for a couple of weeks now and it's totally fine on the daily I even dig the subtle Tremor specific visual tweaks.
There's a unique grill with red outline nostrils, and the blacked out bumpers and wider wheel lips give a bit more stance and presence.
Look a little closer and you'll probably note the pair of rear tow hooks, and hoop step running boards.
These sit higher and tighter than the optional side steps that you can get on other Rangers.
But don't worry, you can still unbolt them for better off road clearance.
Inside the Rangers cabin, well, things are pretty much the same as they've always been, which is to say, not too impressive.
Yes, there are some nice new touches including full suede on the seatbacks and tremor script.
And I do like the black trim and the fact that there's this auxiliary power switch station up top here so I can add in lights or compressors or things like that.
That is super helpful, as are the rubber floor mat liner.
But I gotta be honest with you, the rest of the interior just feels kind of cheap and dated.
In fact, in this XML t trim, you even have a switchblade key.
Now to be fair, the cabins in virtually all midsize trucks these days, well, they all kind of suck whether you're talking Ford or Toyota or General Motors.
They're all brittle and plasticky feeling, they look dated and they're filled with yestertec.
Okay, so the Gladiator's interior, it's made some strides and honestly the best of the segment is easily the Honda Ridgeline.
But that's a unibody and I can't see many people shopping a truck like that with something like this Tremor I tell you all that because you should know that you're probably going to be interested in Ranger trimmer.
And the interior might be a sticking point you're probably going to buy it in spite of the interior, not because of the interior.
And I think that's a bit of a missed opportunity.
Now, you've heard me complain enough.
You came here to see some actual mudslinging, and thanks to our friends at the Hollyoaks off-road park here in suburban Detroit.
Well I'm only too happy to oblige.
Despite being on the market for a little while already a couple of years, Ranger sales are actually going up.
An interest in midsize off road trucks is way up.
Now, some of the other competitors to this point have done a better job of Tapping into that growing market the over landing scene and the hardcore off roaders and Ford understandably wants some of that action, I did too.
So, this isn't a high speed off roader like a Ford Raptor is nor is it a hardcore rock crawling It's somewhere right in the middle.
And honestly, I feel like that's a bit of a sweet spot here because it's more indicative of what most people are actually gonna do.
It's pretty good at all of those things.
And it's a better base point.
If you haven't decided what you wanna do in off roading yet.
Okay, if you're like me, you're not one for math.
But you gotta make the exception for off-roading.
Because knowing your suspension geometry, can be the difference between clearing an obstacle, and having a costly and embarrassing day.
Thanks mostly to those bigger tires.
The tremor has an inch wider stance, and around an inch more ground clearance, for a total of 9.7.
That's slightly better than a taco TRD pro.
The tremors approach angle is 30.9 degrees, its departure angle is 27.1 and its breakover is 24.2.
That is an improvement of 2.2 degrees 1.7 degrees and 2.7 degrees respectively.
That is a lot of degrees.
Now, I mentioned those new Fox shocks but Ford has completely reengineered the rest of the tremor suspension as well.
Upfront our new springs control arms and a thinner anti roll bar for more off road compliance, plus their new steering knuckles and a big old front skid plate.
The trimmer has unique leaf springs to go with those big buck piggyback shocks.
One thing that's nice is you can cycle through the terrain modes while you're on the fly.
So I'm in normal now.
I'm gonna go to grass, gravel snow because that's what we've got here.
If I really wanna mess around at speed, even though, slushy stuff like this, I'd probably choose sand or mud and ruts.
This allows for a little bit more we'll spin that grass, gravel, snow, but right now we're gonna go climb some stuff.
Now this thing has what amounts to off road cruise control for both ascending and descending hills.
And it's really, really useful and competence is learned but to be honest with you, sometimes it's just more fun to do it yourself.
Ford has even optimized the tremors traction control to take advantage of the unique tires and other changes.
But one thing this thing doesn't have is a front locking differential.
Yes, there's a rear II locker but there's no front equivalent, like on a car to or Rubicon.
So you're gonna give up some ability when you're rock climbing.
Fortunately, most of the time you won't miss it.
On the other hand, there is one thing that you're definitely going to miss.
And it's right about here where I could really use a forward facing camera.
That was a little sketch.
All right, because I'm in a mid size truck and not a full size.
I can make this tight turn here and just really go right on up this drill I'm doing that on my own.
It's too much fun not to rev out a little bit.
Off road, you've really got to appreciate that this turbo four has so much torque down low.
The transmission also has a lot of gears to choose from, so you never feel like the engine is straining to get you through.
Even if it doesn't sound as good as a V6 might.
All that torque helps on the road to this truck has best in class 7500 pound towing capacity and 1430 pounds of payload.
So the Tremor only sits a smidge higher than your standard Ranger FX4 off road.
But it's got bigger sidewall tires and they lend itself a really Nice ride.
When you're out here on dirt roads, sort of piling along and having a good time hanging the tail out.
These Fox shocks just have next level discipline.
If you're really hauling the mail over and over you want the extra cooling capacity that the rear remote reservoir shocks, often.
[NOISE] You haven't had the pleasure to go off roading yet.
You might want to give it a shot In these pandemic times, it's really great to get outside and be alone and enjoying nature.
And you can do it safely in an off road Park, like Hollyoaks here without pissing off the neighbours.
So this has been one heck of a fun day.
I don't even mind that it's so cold that I can't feel my fingers right now.
But it's judgment time.
A Ranger Tremor is big fun, but it ain't cheap and XLT not even the Lariat is gonna run you over 42 grand delivered and that's without options.
The Tremor is definitely competitively priced within its segment, but it's also priced really close to a new four by four F-150 XLT V8, and that is a much more advanced machine that's actually similarly efficient and has more active safety features.
Of course, not everybody wants a full size and the number of folks putting up these days for smaller factory back hardcore awkward specials like this seem to be growing every day.
And you know what, despite the tremendous loss.
I still kind of love it.
Hey, Ford do me a solid.
How about giving me one of these for $138.11 a month.
You know, for old times sake
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