Long-term review: Ford Ranger Tremor takes 4x4 practicality to new heights

The Tremor is based on the XLT but has the same offroad goodies as the Wildtrak X. Picture: Supplied.

The Tremor is based on the XLT but has the same offroad goodies as the Wildtrak X. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 10, 2024


Goodbye Ford Ranger Wildtrak X. Hello Ford Ranger Tremor.

We had driven the Wildtrak X for just more than seven months and I had really come to enjoy the comfort and electronic aids that come with Ford’s second to premium bakkie.

The seats were comfortable too and it had taken us to some spectacular places around the country including Tankwa Karoo, Cederburg and Die Hel in extreme comfort.

But, all good things come to an end and we were due to swap it for a Ranger Tremor.

While the Wildtrak X is based on the Wildtrak, the Tremor takes the XLT and raises it to a higher level with some cool additions including the same offroad goodies the X comes with, and for my purposes that’s key.

It also has the same 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine with 154kW and 500Nm with Ford's full time four wheel drive system using an electromagnetic transfer case mated to their 10-speed automatic transmission.

The Tremor doesn’t look like the XTL that it’s based on. Picture: Supplied.

Outwardly there’s virtually nothing to tell that it’s XLT based with a black honeycomb grille, LED auxiliary driving lights, grey exterior details on the lower sections of the bumper and H-bar, fender vents, mirror caps, door handles and rear bumper.

It also gets a ‘Tremor’ badge on the tailgate, ‘Tremor’ decals on the loadbox sides and black Ford Oval on the grille and tailgate.

While that makes it aesthetically good to look at, a steel bash plate, steel underbody protection for the engine, transfer case and fuel tank as well as tough cast aluminium side steps and two front recovery hooks add a very real practical application.

Rubber is courtesy of 265/70 R17 all terrain General Grabber AT3 tyres on black 17-inch alloy rims.

They are complemented with specially designed Bilstein Position-Sensitive dampers, the same suspension set-up as the Wildrak X, that increases ground clearance to 261mm and a 30mm wider track than standard.

The most notable difference is found in the interior where the Tremor is more practical than the premium cabin found in the Wildtrak X.

The cabin is built for life off the beaten track. Picture: Supplied.

Not that it’s sparse mind you but the seats are trimmed in water-resistant black vinyl with grey stitching and the Tremor logo embroidered in orange on the seat backs, while the traditional carpets have been replaced by vinyl flooring.

Whoever signed that off deserves a Bells because while the Wildtrak X is luxurious inside there’s always the concern that when on a trail or overlanding in wet and muddy conditions, muddy shoes and clothing have a strong possibility of leaving their mark, sometimes permanently.

The rest of the interior is standard Ranger fare with the standard XLT 10.1-inch touchscreen replaced by the 12-inch version with Ford’s offroad SYNC screen and a 360-degree camera system.

There’s a handy array of pre-wired auxiliary switches mounted in the roof for accessory fitment and there’s provision made for a second battery.

A small gripe though is that it doesn’t have an inverter but rather a 12V socket in the cabin and loadbay. It’s a damn handy addition to have, especially when overlanding.

I haven’t yet had an opportunity to play with all the 4x4 gizmos, but having stepped out of the Wildtrak X with the same features, I can safely say that as a standard 4x4 bakkie off the showroom floor there's not much to beat it.

The Tremor has all the off-roading bells and whistles. Picture: Supplied.

It offers permanent 4WD in 4 Auto that distributes power as needed, 4 High with an equal front and rear power split and 4 Low. You can select 2H that disengages the front axle but to be honest I feel safer in 4A which does that on tar stretches and when things go awry the computer will take over.

The rotary dial allows you to select Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl with the system adjusting throttle response, gearshifts, traction and stability control, rear diff-lock, steering and braking.

It also has Ford’s Trail Turn Assist that brakes the inside wheel on tight bends while driving offroad and reduces the turning radius by up to 25 percent.

We tried it on launch and my advice would be to use it sparingly. There’s a lot of grinding and mechanical noise as the brakes grip and push the bakkie around the bend. It may work but to me at least, it sounds like something is getting hurt.

One thing I am keen to try is the Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

It utilises the rotary Selectable Drive Modes controller along with the steering wheel and a suite of cameras to take the guesswork out of reversing the vehicle with a trailer attached. After a few measurements have been entered into the Sync screen and the trailer has been calibrated (including its hitch position and length), the camera tracks the trailer while reversing and guides it accordingly. All you do is rotate the knob left or right in the direction you want the trailer to go while the system controls the steering wheel.

My partner has spent more time behind the wheel to date than I have and she’s mightily impressed and is steeling herself to write a piece from a woman’s perspective.

She used it to visit a friend on a game farm in Thabazimbi and enjoyed playing her music undisturbed while the phone was charging on the pad.

She was also keen to tell me that her friend’s husband who only has various Toyotas on the farm told her that he really likes the new Ranger and is toying with the idea of at least getting a Raptor.

Our Ranger Tremor has covered just over 1,500km and consumption is 10.0l/100km, which for a large bakkie with big wheels and lots of wind and rolling resistance is not bad at all.