SAN DIEGO — America is a big place. We have big mountains and big monuments and big highways and even bigger open spaces. There’s Yosemite, Big Sky, the Grand Canyon and the Ford F-250 Super Duty TREMOR. That last one might be the biggest of them all.
The TREMOR is a standard Ford Super Duty with a $3,975 package added on with 35-inch off-road tires (the largest fitted to a heavy-duty pickup), skid plates, black aluminum wheels, new suspension hardware and nearly two-inches of lift. Then there’s a limited slip front differential and a locking differential out back, with a feature called Trail Control that lets you set a low-speed cruise control so all you have to do is steer.
It takes a big, incredibly capable truck and makes it even more incredibly capable. It’s Ford’s competitor to the GMC Sierra HD AT4 and the Ram Power Wagon and I tested it extensively by driving it around on the roads and parking lots of Southern California.
Yes, it’s an off-road beast and it would be equally at home in a rocky desert or a logging trail as it is in the urban jungle, but plenty of TREMOR buyers will never go off road with it — but they will enjoy the visual upgrades and will be able to tell their friends about its off-road chops, too.
See, the TREMOR looks awesome. Those huge chunky tires on the matte black wheels are fantastic. The front grille? That’s black too, along with a lot of the trim and the fender extensions and the fixed side-step. It’s a murdered out machine.
My test unit also included the $2,045 “Godzilla” 7.3-liter V8 engine, making 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. A $10,000 upfit 6.7-liter turbodiesel is available too, which makes a mind-boggling 1,050 torques. It may be necessary if you need to relocate small towns. As is, it can tow well into the tens of thousands of pounds depending on whether you use a conventional hitch or the gooseneck, or several tons worth of payload. It’s do-it-all attitude makes it very competitive within the newly created “heavy duty off-road pickup truck” segment.
I can hear you asking already about fuel economy. What fuel economy? This thing is so big they don’t even require fuel economy ratings on it. And on a $73,465 truck, do you really care? No, you do not. It does hold 34 gallons of fuel, however, which means your fill-ups will be under $100 as long as gas stays below $3 per gallon.
What else? It’s incredibly difficult to park unless you have a wide open parking lot, though the surround cameras really help. It’s the usual Ford Super Duty setup inside, though it doesn’t have the latest and greatest infotainment system that the new F-150 has. That’ll come in a future update, but it does have a quad-barrel convertible cupholder that turns a storage bin in the center console into an extra two cupholders if you’re picking up coffee for the whole worksite.
Visibility is tremendous except for directly in front of the massive grille, which is large enough to hide a smallish adult so be sure you know what’s around because this thing feels a bit like a locomotive when setting off. The ten-speed transmission is invisible, and there’s always prodigious power no matter what you’re doing when you stab the throttle (at least when you aren’t towing).
The truck isn’t exactly stable on the highway, however. The huge tires and sprongy (yes, I made that word up) suspension means it does tend to drift a bit in your lane. That’s all well and good, until your lanes narrow because you’re in a construction zone and then you realize — at 75 mph — just how large this truck is. That said, people do get out of the way when they see you coming.
That’s the point, right? You buy this truck because either you need to traverse a log-strewn Forest Service road or because you work-hard-play-harder in the mud, or because you want people to look at your truck and think either of those things might be true. Regardless, the TREMOR gets the job done.
In fact, it gets the job done so well that Ford is bringing the TREMOR package to both the smaller trucks in the lineup, the F-150 and the Ranger. Those won’t have quite the gravitas of the big boy Super Duty, but expect them to perform well just the same.