2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Off-Road Review by Matt Barnes

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor

New for 2021 is the Tremor package on the Ford Ranger. The Tremor includes everything the FX4 has, like Trail Control, Terrain Management, a locking rear differential, etc. On top of the FX4, the Tremor includes a steel bash plate, 0.8-inch lift, Fox 2.0 shocks with remote reservoirs, and 32-inch General Grabber ATX tires.

Before the Tremor, the Ranger FX4 was the top dog off-roader in the Ranger lineup. What have all the upgrades of the Tremor done for real world performance improvements over the FX4?

High Speed

High speed off-road is clearly where the Tremor package improves the Ranger the most. The Fox 2.0 shocks and tuned suspension allowed us to travel at nearly 30 miles per hour over our test track. Even with the limited wheel travel there were no hard hits and there were times when a tire or two were off the ground.

Of all the midsize trucks we’ve tested the Ranger Tremor’s high-speed ride is on par with the class leaders.

Ranger Tremor Articulation Testing

Moving to the articulation hill, we find that the added wheel travel of the Tremor package is still very limited when compared to the Tacoma TRD Pro and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. Independent front suspension in a small package can only provide for so much wheel travel.

The articulation hill gives us a chance to experiment with the traction systems as well and we were happy to find that the Ranger Tremor performs very well. Traction control can be almost entirely eliminated by holding the traction control button down for about 5 seconds. This disengages Advance Trac and allows the engine to run at full power without computer intervention. However, the brake limited slip system remains active to transfer power from the wheels without traction to the wheels with traction.

We also found that there was still computer intervention after disabling traction control and Advance Trac and engaging the rear differential lock in 2WD. When trying to drift the ABS system would kick in to keep the truck from sliding the rear end out. However, we found that disabling both traction control and Advance Trac was useful in 4WD for better throttle control while still having the brake based limited slip active.

Steep Rutted Hill

There are three main features the steep hill climb tests: Articulation, power transfer, and crawl ratio.

Vehicles with more articulation keep their wheels on the ground, providing better traction. In the case of the Ranger Tremor, the added articulation was helpful but wasn’t enough to keep all wheels on the ground during our test. For the record we’ve only had one truck do this feat and it was the Gladiator Rubicon with the sway bar disconnected.

Modern AWD and 4WD systems often use brake-based systems to transfer power side to side. In the case of the tremor there is a rear locking differential, but the front uses a brake-based system and if the rear differential isn’t locked it also uses this same brake system. We found that in 4WD High the Ranger was able to transfer power where it needed, but it took so much torque that the it was just barely able to make the climb. In 4WD Low it was a breeze, being very controlled and requiring little effort.

The last feature to talk about here is the crawl ratio. The Tremor doesn’t change from the Ranger FX4’s crawl ratio of 47:1, however this ratio is adequate for the job. When descending the steep hill, the gearing did well at holding the Ranger back, keeping safe speeds.

One additional feature the Ranger FX4 and Tremor have is Trail Control. This is basically off-road cruise control and it works very well in both packages. There were times when it allowed the vehicle to roll back a little before continuing the climb, but nothing disconcerting. It also works great for descending hills safely.

Tech Specs

Approach Angle 30.9
Breakover Angle 24.2
Departure Angle 25.5
Ground Clearance 9.7 Inches
Tire Size 32 Inches
Front Suspension Travel 6.5 Inches
Rear Suspension Travel 8.1 Inches

 

Pricing the Ranger Tremor

A lariat model 2021 Ranger SuperCrew 4×4 starts at $38,785. Our tester had a variety of options totaling $8,120. The most expensive option was of course the Tremor Package for $4,290. This brought the total MSRP with destination charge to $48,100

Conclusion

Ultimately the Ranger Tremor package is 100% worth the price tag if the vehicle is going to be traveling over high-speed off-road terrain. The performance in that respect is comparable with the best this class has to offer. However, if the plan is to add on a lift kit and aftermarket suspension, then stick with the FX4 package as it provides all the traction aids without the additional cost of the upgraded suspension.

Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.

Matt lives in the Utah mountains and often posts cool off-roading videos to his Instagram and YouTube channel.

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