Ford Ranger gets tough with addition of Tremor package

The new Tremor Off-Road Package available for 2021 Ranger models creates the most off-road-ready factory-built Ranger ever offered in the U.S. Building off the FX4 Off-Road Package, it features  32-inch all-terrain tires and a dash-mounted six-switch auxiliary power pack. Tremor also features magnetic-painted alloy wheels, hoop-style steps, rear recovery hooks, magnetic painted grille with black cross bars and red nostril inserts, and optional hood and body graphics. Jimmy Dinsmore photo
The new Tremor Off-Road Package available for 2021 Ranger models creates the most off-road-ready factory-built Ranger ever offered in the U.S. Building off the FX4 Off-Road Package, it features 32-inch all-terrain tires and a dash-mounted six-switch auxiliary power pack. Tremor also features magnetic-painted alloy wheels, hoop-style steps, rear recovery hooks, magnetic painted grille with black cross bars and red nostril inserts, and optional hood and body graphics. Jimmy Dinsmore photo

I love actual names for vehicles. The alpha-numeric systems used by so many automakers is annoying. And it’s even better when a name matches the vehicle’s personality.

Enter as my tester this week the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor.

Tremor. Earth-shattering. Shaking, quaking. Great analogies for an appropriately named truck. Tremor is Ford’s new off-road package that is being added across their truck line.

I’ve already driven and reviewed the F-250 Super Duty with the Tremor package, so I was excited to see how it would work and look on the midsized-Ranger. Spoiler alert: It works!

When the Ranger first came out, I was underwhelmed. I felt for a relaunched vehicle it lacked pizzazz and didn’t seem updated enough. Now with the Tremor package, the Ranger feels like a completely new truck.

The bigger, bolder, more rugged Ranger can hang with the big boys in the Ford truck stable. With Ford’s blessing, I took the Ranger Tremor off-road and through some muddy, snow-covered trails. As it made its way through a slowly running, nearly frozen creek and up a slick, icy hillside, the Ranger Tremor proved its merit and won me over.

It was confident in that environment. This was the same area where I took the 2017 Ford Raptor a couple years ago. Of course, the Raptor is my all-time favorite truck, so seeing the smaller, less powerful Ranger holding its own in the same location as the Raptor was eye-opening.

On looks my tester really set itself apart simply with its unique color. The Cactus Gray is a great, fitting name and the dull, almost matte-like finish of the paint coat made it stand out. With part of the grille framed by a red outline, there were even more special features.

Running boards were perfectly placed, almost like stirrups, but after I was done with the Ranger, those steps were covered with mud. And ultimately, that’s where the Ranger Tremor feels at home.

The 2.3-liter Ecoboost engine is surprisingly agile and spry. On the road the Ranger Tremor was tremendous. Even with the bigger posture and the rugged tires, it showed some refinement on the highway. It performed better in this regard than some of its competition like the Chevy Colorado Bison or even the Toyota Tacoma TRD.

Although this truck is meant to be rugged and tough, the Ranger didn’t disappoint when it came to a comfortable ride on the road. The 10-speed automatic transmission was great and helped press the Ranger forward in the midsize truck segment.

Inside, special Tremor badging was visible and distinctive on the seats. Meanwhile, the back seat had just enough legroom for me to sit comfortably. For a small truck the room was adequate, with the headroom better than its competition. Three passengers in the back would likely not be comfortable; the middle passenger would lose foot space as there’s a bump in the middle part of the back row. It’s somewhat dressed up by a Ranger-emblazoned rubber mat.

Ford’s new Sync 4 system is going to stand tall for being the best infotainment system of 2021. The vast improvement is noticeable. It’s both intuitive and offers wireless Apple CarPlay. A nice, understated feature are six auxiliary ports above the touchscreen. These can be used for aftermarket features such as light bars, ground effects or other things. It didn’t get much interest from me, but one person who saw it thought it was brilliant for those big in the off-road community.

The Tremor package, which adds $4,290 to the base price, is available only on the XLT and Lariat trims of the Ranger. My tester was the Lariat SuperCab 4x4 with 5.5-foot box. The base price was $38,785 and with Equipment Group 501A ($2,005), spray-in bedliner ($495) and Tremor Off-Road Package ($4,290), plus delivery charges, the final price for this 2021 Ranger Tremor was $46,865.

I’m obligated to always mention fuel economy. I do think many will opt for this version of the Ranger as a daily driver. That will cost them a little on fuel efficiency as the Ranger Tremor has an EPA rating of 19 mpg/city and 19/mpg highway.

When you’re off-roading or crawling through a creek bed, you pay less attention to your fuel economy. And that’s where the Ranger with the Tremor package really excels. It may not be the Raptor, but it’s a more affordable option that adds distinction and toughness.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist.

2021 FORD RANGER LARIAT TREMOR

  • Price/As-tested price................................................ $38,785/$46,865
  • Mileage.......................................... 19 mpg/city; 19 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 2.3-liter Ecoboost
  • Horsepower................................. 270 hp/310x lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission................................. 10-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ Four-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Wayne, Michigan

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