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Summer 2022 has been a chaotic year in terms of weather. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, July 2022 witnessed 45 percent of the country, including Puerto Rico, experiencing drought conditions. At home, the artificial pond at my South Texas ranch was drier than day-old toast. However, an empty pond prompted me to think like a skateboarder admiring an empty pool. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

At the time, I had keys to a Ford Ranger equipped with the Tremor off-road package. Rather than driving to an off-road park or trails, I decided to test the mid-size 4×4 in my backyard. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a drought, make donuts with a turbocharged pickup truck.

Ford’s Tremor Package Adds Brawn and Brains 

Ford introduced the Tremor off-road package to the Ranger for the first time in 2021. The performance package features a two-inch lift kit with FOX 2.0 monotube dampers, specifically tuned coil overs at the front, and leaf springs at the rear. In addition, the Ranger Tremor sits on Magnetic-painted wheels wrapped in 32-inch Continental General Grabber all-terrain tires to complete its rugged, functional appearance. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a drought, make donuts with a turbocharged pickup truck.

Other hardware included with the Tremor package is six auxiliary power switches located in the center of the dashboard. Operating these switches makes you feel like you’re going through a checklist on an aircraft before takeoff. I constantly played with them to listen to their satisfying clicking noise. In addition, these switches can be used to manage other available accessories like exterior light bars, winches, or air compressors. 

The results of all these intended off-road goodies mean the Ford Ranger Tremor is one inch wider than stock. It’s easy to spot a Tremor-equipped Ford Ranger thanks to a painted grille, rear recovery hooks, and the optional hood and body graphics. Underneath, the truck features a frame-mounted steel front bash plate. 

Its off-road prowess is aided by a rear locking differential and a Terrain Management System. The system features multiple drive modes catering to varying terrains like sand, snow, mud, and sport. Each mode calibrates the truck’s traction control for optimal acceleration regardless of the terrain. 

The Drought Pond Test 

As mentioned, I decided to test the Ford Ranger Tremor’s off-road capability in my ranch’s dry, dusty terrain. The vacant, empty pond offered a playground environment for me to try the Ranger’s ground clearance and EcoBoost performance. The standard Ford Ranger is often cited for its car-like steering but subjectively bumpy ride quality. With the Tremor package, the all-terrain rubber and tuned suspension give the Ford Ranger a more truck feel while smoothing out the ride quality from the added weight. 

The vacant, empty pond offered a playground environment for me to try the Ranger’s ground clearance and EcoBoost performance.

All Tremor-equipped Rangers are powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost producing 270-hp and 310 lb.-ft of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic. Standard 4×4 can be switched to 2WD on-the-fly using a dial on the center console. During the drought test, I rarely needed to engage 4WD. 

The Ford Ranger Tremor handles the terrain with gusto, offering plenty of power to drive up and over dunes. Moreover, the mid-size Ranger makes it much more manageable in tight spaces than its full-size F-Series siblings. A light feel at the wheel means you’ll never get sore arms maneuvering the truck through the trails or counter steering while making dust clouds. 

Final Thoughts on the Ford Ranger Tremor

Truck buyers who don’t plan on hauling boats, cattle, or commercial levels of building materials should consider mid-sized alternatives like the Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline. They offer all the perks of a pickup truck without the bulk. 

The Ford Ranger, with the Tremor package, provides a dynamic experience with rugged good looks. Visually, the Ford Ranger is as charming to look at as Ryan Gosling’s smile.

The Ford Ranger, with the Tremor package, provides a dynamic experience with rugged good looks. Visually, the Ford Ranger is as charming to look at as Ryan Gosling’s smile. Moreover, the interior is surprisingly quiet on the highway, even with all-terrain tires. I averaged 17 mpg during my week testing the Ford Ranger Tremor. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

However, I do have some nit-picks about the truck. For starters, its throttle delay is noticeable, especially under heavy acceleration. Thankfully, when the EcoBoost finally wakes up, it propels the truck forward efficiently and briskly. Another issue is with the truck’s bed. The Tremor’s lift kit made it difficult for people under 5′ 7″ to reach over and grab objects resting in the bed. Finally, its stability control and proximity sensors are a tad overbearing, even in off-road settings. But, this is common with most modern vehicles, so I can’t fault the Ranger exclusively for it. Overall, I enjoyed testing the mid-size off-roader pickup truck at the ranch. I like its size and performance and would recommend the Ford Ranger to someone who likes the idea of living the truck life. 

New Look for 2023 

For 2023, Ford redesigned the Ranger to look more like its F-150. Its smooth curved fascia is replaced with a square-jawed butch frontend. I’m not too fond of making the Ranger look like a smaller F-150. I much rather see both trucks look different and provide buyers with a choice rather than a substitute. Details about specs and pricing will be unveiled closer to the end of the year.

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