The popularity of off-road ready trucks has grown exponentially in the last few years. More and more people want to explore the wilderness and pickup trucks are one of the best ways to get you in the thick of it. To cash in on this craze, the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor is the latest creation from the blue oval.
Engine – Here in North America, the Ford Ranger is only available with one engine option. A 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder does all the heavy lifting with 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (201 kW & 420 Nm). The horsepower figure is a bit less than other V6 powered mid-size pickup trucks, this little engine produces a lot more torque. Gently roll your foot on the throttle pedal and the engine effortlessly pulls the 2,073 kg (4,571 lbs) body.
It’s also an economical little engine, at least, in the real world it is. Government fuel economy figures would have you believe that with the addition of the Tremor package, this Ranger gets horrible fuel economy numbers. Officially it is rated for 12.1 L/100km (19.4 MPG) in a city and 12.3 L/100km (19.1 MPG) on a highway. Unofficially, I have been able to achieve 10.9 L/100km (21.6 MPG) on a combined cycle. That is more in line with the non-Tremor versions of the 4×4 Ford Ranger which are rated for 11.8 L/100km (20 MPG) in a city and 9.8 L/100km (24 MPG) on a highway.
Transmission – Paired with the engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission. The shifts are smooth between the gears however the transmission is on the slow side to react to driver inputs. But the worst thing about this transmission is that it quickly tries to get into the top-most gear for better fuel economy. That does work however, when you’re driving at around 60 km/h, this characteristic makes the engine rotate at around 1,200 rpms. Maintaining this speed or gently accelerating induces a lot of vibrations from the powertrain because an engine like this doesn’t produce any power at that low of an rpm. This is not an issue at highway speeds, thankfully, and you can push harder on the throttle pedal to induce the transmission to downshift. But like I said earlier, it’s a bit slow to react to inputs and most of the time you don’t want it to down shift just to maintain a certain speed.
Braking – The Ranger Tremor has strong brakes but the brake pedal actuation is longer than in other pickup trucks. It does allow for smooth and easily controllable stops but it just requires more pedal travel for more braking force.
Handling – On city streets, the Ford Ranger Tremor is pretty much just like any other mid-size pickup truck. It doesn’t have a whole lot of feedback through the steering wheel and it doesn’t feel particularly athletic through corners. The upgraded Fox shocks do resist more of the body roll and nose dive under braking than the standard Ranger Lariat, however. Thankfully with the Tremor package, the Range does not have a steering wheel wonder on highways like the Jeep Gladiator Mojave.
Off the beaten path, the new Tremor package adds underbody skid plates, the aforementioned Fox 2-inch monotube dampers with the rear having piggyback reservoirs, front and rear tow hooks, unique 17-inch alloy wheels with General Grabber all terrain tires, and off-road hoop-step-style running boards. The Ranger Tremor also has improved approach, departure, and breakover angles compared to other trims of the Ford Ranger. They are 30.9 degrees, 27.2 degrees, and 24.2 degrees respectively.
All of this is in addition to a rear locking differential, trail control (which is like cruise control but for slow speed off-roading) and the Terrain management system which adds Normal, Gravel or Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand off-road drive modes. Compared to other mid-size off-road ready pickup trucks, the Ranger Tremor doesn’t have a front locking differential like the Colorado ZR2 and it does have a disconnecting sway bar like the Gladiator Rubicon. So it’s not quite as off-road capable as those trucks but the Ranger can still tackle most off-roading situations.
Capability – The bed of the Ford Ranger is 5-feet in length but the width is a bit more than its competitors. So the Ranger has a tiny bit more cargo box volume and it has a payload rating of 1,430 lbs with the Tremor package. A lower trim supercab Ranger has a max payload rating of 1,650 lbs. As for towing, all trims of the Ford Ranger are rated at 7,500 lbs.
Ride Comfort – The stiffer suspension tuning of the Fox shocks make the ride on city streets a little bit more firm than a standard Ford Ranger. It’s not completely unbearable but you do feel more of the shocks of the tires hitting a pothole or manhole cover through your fingertips and bum.
Interior Space – The front seats offer plenty of space for tall adults like myself at 6’4”. On this Lariat trim of the Ranger, both the driver’s and passenger’s seats are powered for sliding forwards and backwards but require manual adjustment for reclining.
The rear seats are not as spacious as other mid-size pickup trucks. Sitting behind my driving position is tight. Lift up the bench and you will find a little bit of storage. You can also fold the seat backs for a flat surface.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Wind and engine noise is well subdued in the cabin but, of course, tire noise is very evident on highways. But the worst aspect about HVH in the Ranger is the powertrain vibrations I mentioned earlier. If the transmission didn’t shift up by one gear at 60-ish km/h, it would make a world of difference because the engine would be spinning at around 1,600 rpms and won’t produce the vibrations.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The Tremor package will set you back $5,250 CAD ($4,290 USD) and is only available on 4×4 XLT and Lariat trims of Supercrew configured Ranger models. The XLT trim Ranger starts at $37,158 CAD ($34,995 USD) with the Lariat starting at $41,538 CAD ($39,035 USD).
Gadgets – This Lariat trim of the Ranger comes with pretty much everything you would need from a pickup truck. You’ll get satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity, heated seats, heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, backup camera, automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot sensors, lane departure warning with lane keep, LED headlights, and push button start with keyless entry.
Interior Design – Although the Ford Ranger was introduced to North America in 2019, it has been sold globally since 2011. As a result, the interior is showing it’s decade long age. It is a very straightforward interior with every function having its own button. However it just doesn’t feel like a product of the 2020’s.
Exterior Design – It’s easy to distinguish the Ranger Tremor from all other Tremors thanks to red accents in the front grille, Tremor lettering on the rear quarter panel, and the knobby tires that this truck is equipped with. The “Cyber Orange” paint colour does make the truck stand out but this colour is available on non-Tremor equipped Rangers.
Warranty – The 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Overall, the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor is still a capable mid-size pickup truck despite its old age. It can’t tackle off-road obstacles quite like other, younger, mid-size trucks but it’ll still get you out of a tough situation. It’s also very fuel efficient (despite what Government fuel economy figures say) and it will carry and tow just as much cargo as the competitors. But it’s biggest downfall is the programming of the transmission that induces a lot of low rpm vibrations from the engine. Hopefully Ford will address that with the next generation Ranger that was recently announced for the global market. Hopefully the North American market won’t have to wait almost a decade for it to arrive here.
Thank you to Ford Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Ford.ca