I always enjoy testing trucks, and though I have very little need for one in my daily life, I continue to hold out hope to buy one someday. American trucks, in particular, are more comfortable, tech-forward, and are safer than they’ve ever been. That makes them almost ideal for everyday use. Stepping up a level to heavy-duty pickups just adds more convenience and utility to the equation. I was recently able to test the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a new Tremor off-road package that made its debut this year.
Ford Super Duty trucks offer “more” in almost every department over the standard F-150. They’re bigger, can tow and haul more, and cost more, but until now, there hasn’t been a dedicated off-road option for Ford’s big truck. The Tremor package fixes that problem. It’s an off-road-ready setup that adds hardcore suspension, bigger wheels and tires, special driving modes for rock crawling, special locking differentials, and more. Looking at an F-250 equipped with the Tremor package isn’t all that different from looking at an F-150 Raptor, and that’s probably the point. The package isn’t for everyone, but for the people who need their trucks to carry everything far into unforgiving terrain, it’s a big bonus.
The Tremor package isn’t all for work, though. A decent percentage of heavy-duty truck buyers upgrade their vehicles with some of the same components that Ford’s offering from the factory. That can be expensive and may void the warranty, not to mention the fact that cobbling together a hodgepodge of parts can make the truck unstable or worse. Adding the Tremor package to an F-250 nets all of the boring work-related benefits with the added bonus of being able to take your truck out on the weekend and get it dirty for fun.
Here are two reasons why the Tremor package may be a great addition to your F-250, and one reason why you might want to reconsider.
Nearly Unstoppable Off-Road
The Tremor uses a unique, larger-diameter shock absorber that houses a larger piston than the standard truck. That makes the shocks more able to handle long periods of rough terrain and also helps them absorb big hits from romping around off-road. It’s a setup that is exclusive to the Tremor line and makes it a truly capable truck when the pavement ends.
Further off-road “street cred” comes in the rugged wheel and tire setup. The 35-inch Goodyears that wrap the 18-inch wheels are made for rough driving off-road and have enough rubber to stand up to the abuse. They’re massive, make no mistake, but that size has real benefits in shock absorption and grip on loose terrain. The wheels––black 18-inches––make a strong visual statement, but they’re a great stand-in for the aftermarket units that many people add to their trucks anyway.
It’s hard to call a $60,000-plus truck a good value, but that’s what we’re looking at here. The Tremor package only adds $3,975 to the top of a new F-250’s price tag, which is a small drop in the bucket of the truck’s overall cost. The F-250 King Ranch I tested starts at just under $60,000, but that money buys a truly luxurious truck with soft leather upholstery, a solid tow package, and other features like heated/ventilated seats. Add a $2,045 7.3-liter gas engine to that, $1,690 for 4WD, the $3,975 Tremor package, and a few other options, and my as-tested price checked in around $74,000. Yes, that’s luxury car money, but it’s also in line with what you’d pay for a decked-out Ram truck of similar ilk. If you wanted to build that configuration yourself from aftermarket parts, you’d probably hit the same price tag and may void the truck’s warranty in the process.
But, It’s Enormous
The F-250 Tremor rises two inches higher than its standard F-250 cousin, but it’s not all because of a lift kit. Some of that height comes from springs, which push it up about half an inch, but the rest comes from the gigantic Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires that are wrapped around its 18-inch wheels. Most new Ford trucks have a unique ability to shrink around their driver, which makes them feel much smaller than they actually are in everyday driving. Not here. Those beefy tires, coupled with the truck’s already healthy proportions, make it feel every bit as massive as it looks from the outside. That can make it hairy to park anywhere but the outer edges of large parking lots and forget about navigating parking garages or tight urban areas.
I tested the gasoline version of the F-250 Tremor, which is actually less capable than its diesel-burning counterpart, despite looking exactly the same from the outside. Underneath, there are fewer leaves in the suspension system that make it slightly less ideal for hauling the heaviest loads, but there’s still more capability here than most mortals will ever need.
At the end of the day, there are very few buyers that can justify needing a truck like this, but that’s just part of the fun. If it’s a full-on off-road truck you’re looking for, the Ford Raptor is probably a better choice. If it’s all-out capacity that you need, a “normal” Ford Super Duty truck will do that job. The Tremor meets somewhere in the middle of those two worlds and is for the truck buyer that needs heavy-duty capability and has to cross tough terrain to use it. It could also be for the “truck bro” that would customize their rig anyway, but in this case, Ford does it for them from the factory. In any case, the Tremor is an extreme truck in nearly every sense of the word, but fun is a big part of the equation, no matter what the outcome.