2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor blue in mud

2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor Road Test and Review

Weighing 6,798 pounds, rolling on 35-inch off-road tires, and sitting a minimum of 10.8 inches clear of the ground, the 2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty Crew Cab equipped with the Tremor Off-Road Package pounded across the Arizona desert, a plume of dust rising in its mirrors. Ahead, nothing but dirt, rock, cactus, and mountains stretched to the horizon. With the four-wheel-drive system’s 4-Hi setting engaged, it was easy to understand how the rock-solid truck got its name. In addition to defining a small earthquake, the word tremor also refers to “a sudden feeling of fear or excitement,” according to the Oxford dictionary. With its new 7.3-liter V8 engine rumbling and a king-of-the-road seating position, the Super Duty Tremor certainly inspires excitement. But soon, as I would discover in a quarry near Aguila, Arizona, this rugged off-road-ready truck can also inspire fear.

  1. How much does a Ford Super Duty Tremor cost?
  2. What is the Ford Super Duty Tremor Package?
  3. Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor on the Highway
  4. Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in the Desert
  5. Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in a Rock Quarry
  6. Ford Super Duty Tremor Towing and Hauling
  7. Ford Super Duty Tremor Gas Mileage
  8. What competes with a Ford Super Duty Tremor?
  9. Who should buy a Ford Super Duty Tremor?
How much does a Ford Super Duty Tremor cost?

How much does a Ford Super Duty Tremor cost?

Available on F-250 and F-350 trucks with a crew cab, short bed, and single-rear-wheel configuration (as opposed to a dually vehicle), the Tremor Off-Road Package gives the Super Duty a significant improvement in off-road capabilities. There are additional stipulations, though. It comes with any trim level except XL and Limited, and you need to upgrade from the standard 6.2-liter gas V8 to the new 7.3-liter gas V8 or the next-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. The least expensive path to Super Duty Tremor ownership will cost $53,390. The most expensive runs $83,480, including the Power Stroke diesel. And these prices do not include any additional extras outside of the basic requirements. My F-350 test vehicle had King Ranch trim and the 7.3-liter V8 engine, and with options it stickered for $74,765, including a destination charge of $1,595 to ship it to your local dealership from the Louisville, Kentucky factory that builds it.

What is the Ford Super Duty Tremor Package?

What is the Ford Super Duty Tremor Package?

Trucks equipped with the Super Duty Tremor Package have more than just a decal on the side of the bed and matte black 18-inch wheels with 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires bolted to the axles. This package significantly enhances the Super Duty’s off-road capability. For example, the chin spoiler that helps other Super Duty trucks maximize gas mileage is reduced on the Tremor, improving its approach angle to 31.65 degrees (the departure angle is also up, to 24.5 degrees). Suspension upgrades include a front-end lift, custom dampers, and progressive-rate springs. Ground clearance measures 10.8 inches, and the Tremor can ford water that’s 33 inches deep. The Super Duty Tremor also has a Rock Crawl traction setting, Trail Control low-speed off-roading cruise control, an electronic locking rear differential, and a Dana mechanical limited-slip front differential. With the 7.3-liter gas V8, the crawl ratio is 53:1. Get the Power Stroke diesel and it measures 44:1. A remote-controlled 12,000-pound Warn winch is available for the Tremor, as is blacked-out exterior trim.

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor on the Highway

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor on the Highway

My F-350 Tremor test drive started during rush hour in the Phoenix suburbs, but after a short time in traffic, I accelerated onto Interstate 10 headed west. My test vehicle’s optional 7.3-liter gas V8 sounds terrific when revved, and it makes plenty of effortless power. Cruising at 80 mph, the Tremor proved remarkably easy to drive, perhaps thanks in part to the test truck’s optional adaptive steering system. Wheel well liners, another extra-cost upgrade, made for quiet travel on the 35-inch tires. The all-new engine is rated to deliver 430 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 475 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, improvements of 45 hp and 45 lb-ft over the standard 6.2-liter gas V8. A new heavy-duty 10-speed automatic is included when you upgrade to the 7.3-liter, and it features both a Tow/Haul mode and manual shifting on the column. An expensive option, a third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 is also available with the Tremor Package. It makes 475 hp at 2,800 rpm and an astonishing 1,050 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm.

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in the Desert

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in the Desert

Exiting I-10 near Tonopah, I headed northwest toward Harquahala Mountain. Where the pavement turned to graded dirt, I shifted into 4-Hi and easily maintained a speed of 60 mph, a plume of dust rising behind the truck and coating the back half of the deep blue paint with Arizona’s red-tinted dirt. In spite of the soft, loose surface, the Tremor remained calm, cool, and collected — the antithesis of its name. Even when rounding rutted curves at speed, the truck’s admirable commitment to maintaining the intended line instilled plenty of confidence. Later, while riding shotgun with another driver behind the wheel and the truck in 2WD, I learned that the Tremor is also easy to drift. A short jaunt off of the road and into uncharted territory demonstrated the Tremor’s ability to go where no vehicle has gone before — with limitations, of course.

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in a Rock Quarry

Driving the Ford Super Duty Tremor in a Rock Quarry

Granted, Ford designed its quarry-located off-road course to showcase the Tremor’s capabilities. But the potential for royally screwing up remained, especially given the lack of spotters along the trail, inspiring both excitement and fear. Thankfully, with the truck in 4-Lo, I made it across a boulder field, up and then down a ridiculously steep hill, through a mud bog and a narrow water-filled channel, and across a long and deep puddle. And it had everything to do with the truck and not the driver. From the front and top-view cameras and Rock Crawl driving mode to the Trail Control low-speed cruise and locking rear e-diff, I used everything Ford supplies for the Super Duty Tremor to get through the course without needing the optional 12,000-pound Warn winch, and without scraping or denting the bodywork. Still, a Super Duty Crew Cab is long, tall, and wide. Obtaining impressive performance in a desert is easy. Wielding this truck on a snow-covered and mountainous forest trail is another story entirely.

Ford Super Duty Tremor Towing and Hauling

Ford Super Duty Tremor Towing and Hauling

According to Ford, and depending on engine and configuration, the Super Duty Tremor tows up to 15,000 pounds of conventional trailer and 21,200 lbs of gooseneck trailer. More than two tons of payload (4,210 lbs) is possible, too, in certain configurations with the 7.3-liter gas V8. I didn’t tow with a Tremor, but I did tow using Super Duty trucks equipped with both the 7.3-liter gas V8 and the Power Stroke turbodiesel V8, pulling loads up Arizona’s Yarnell Grade. As might be expected given the torque gulf between the two engines, the gas V8 in an F-250 Crew Cab 4WD worked harder, the heavy-duty 10-speed automatic shifted more harshly, and the truck consumed more fuel (7.4 mpg) even though its 9,000-lb trailer was lighter. In comparison, an F-350 Crew Cab 4WD’s PowerStroke turbodiesel effortlessly hauled a 12,000-lb fifth-wheel trailer up the grade while returning better gas mileage (8.1 mpg). Plus, it came with engine braking, making for a more confident trip back down the mountain.

Ford Super Duty Tremor Gas Mileage

Ford Super Duty Tremor Gas Mileage

I have an uncle who owns a heavy-duty, crew cab, 4WD pickup truck. He once asked me why his truck gets bad gas mileage. I explained that it’s because it is a heavy-duty, crew cab, 4WD pickup truck. Yes, the Super Duty Tremor gets bad gas mileage — when equipped with the 7.3-liter gas V8. Despite plenty of highway travel, my empty F-250 test truck averaged 12.4 mpg. With the front suspension lift, ginormous tires, and much smaller front air dam, it isn't the most aerodynamic thing in the world. I can’t comment on what a Super Duty Tremor with the Power Stroke diesel will do. However, during Ford’s driving event, I got plenty of seat time in an F-250 Lariat Crew Cab 4WD with this engine, and it averaged 19.4 mpg with a heavy emphasis on highway driving. Let’s just say that you shouldn’t buy a Super Duty Tremor expecting to get good gas mileage and leave things at that.

What competes with a Ford Super Duty Tremor?

What competes with a Ford Super Duty Tremor?

Go shopping at the Chevy dealer, and the redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD is available with a Z71 Off-Road Package, but it’s not as jacked as the Tremor. Over at the GMC store, the all-new 2020 Sierra HD comes in an AT4 trim level, which is basically the same thing as Chevy’s Z71 setup. Ram sells the tough-sounding Power Wagon, complete with '70s-era graphics. But it comes only in 2500-series specification, and only with the 6.4-liter gas V8 engine — no 3500, no diesel. Compared to these trucks, the Ford Super Duty Tremor is mighty appealing. It’s available with a wider variety of configurations and powertrains than the Power Wagon, and it offers a more intensive approach to hardware than the Chevy and GMC. And, in my opinion, the Ford is the best-looking rig of the bunch.

Who should buy a Ford Super Duty Tremor?

Who should buy a Ford Super Duty Tremor?

As capable as the 2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor is, most people are going to buy it for the way it looks, the way it sounds, or the bragging rights associated with the Power Stroke turbodiesel’s class-leading tow and payload ratings. Talking with one of Ford’s Super Duty engineers during the towing demonstration, he explained that many customers will get the F-350 Crew Cab with the diesel engine even if they have no plans to use the truck to its potential. I asked: “So they have the mentality that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it?” The response: “Exactly.”