I’m not sure if this is a brag or not but I’d venture to say that I logged more miles and drove an F-150 Tremor faster than any other automotive writer has to this point. See, my wife and I jumped into the blue, standard cab, short bed F-150 with its EcoBoost V6 engine and hauled the mail out to Ohio for an ECTA land speed race, then turned around and did the full tilt boogie home. Somewhere in the middle we leaned on the pedal heading down that long runway in Wilmington, Ohio and discovered the “outer boundaries” of the Tremor’s performance capabilities and, well, we’ll make you read on to discover where the bleeding edge actually was. Long story short, I handed this truck back to Ford and wasn’t 100% sure of exactly what it is trying to be, even after all those miles.
So what exactly is an F-150 Tremor? Basically it is the latest in a long line of special edition F-150 trucks over the years and it is geared toward street performance enthusiasts. It is available in some high impact colors, the blue that ours was slathered in was largely loved by everyone that saw it. Those colors are augmented by some Boss style striped down the sides, a tape package on the hood, and the TREMOR logos on the sides of the bed. The truck is available in two and four wheel drive. Our tester was a four wheel drive version and it is only available as a standard cab, short bed configuration. This is obviously the lightest body style that can be had in the F-150 line and interestingly the only way you can get the 356hp/420 lb/ft EcoBoost V6 in this configuration is as a Tremor. You cannot get a standard issue F-150 with a short bed/standard cab and EcoBoost V6. 20″ wheels are added, as is a 4.10 rear end gear ratio (4.11 in 2WD models). The transmission is a six speed automatic and the only interior available is leather buckets with a console and a floor shifter. Our tester was the 4×4 version so it was heavier and slower than the 2WD version would be by a couple tenths of a second to 60 MPH and a few tenths slower at the drags (we did not drag race it but all the published data backs this up). The brakes and suspension are otherwise unchanged from other F-150 trucks, so as you can imagine, the larger wheels and tires helped a little but the reality was you never confused this truck for a Mustang at any point when it came to stopping or handling.
Now you want to know…is it fast? Well, kind of. That’s the thing about the Tremor is that it is more than a sticker package but it isn’t a full on performance truck so it is trying to kind of be all things to all people. If you shut off the traction control, lock the rear end and hammer the gas, it will do burnouts and other fun muscle truck style things. If you lay on the throttle from a roll, it’ll plant you pretty good in the seat and impress most people at how swiftly it is accelerating, but at the end of the day it is a mid-14s truck at the drags (stock). Oh, and since we had that big, giant expansive runway to cruise up and down and it is pretty easy to lose track of speed out there we managed to find out that the truck is electronically limited to exactly 100mph. That’s it. Obviously, this is done for tire rating concerns, etc but it is still a bit of a downer when the thing shifts into fourth (remember, six speed automatic) at 90 and about a millisecond later it just stops pulling. It would not take much more than a tuner and some bolt ons to really have this thing flying. There are guys all over the country wicking up EcoBoost equipped cars and trucks now and this one is just a few mods away, but for about $45,000 guys like us expect a little more on the performance side up front. It also seems bizarre that this thing can be ordered as a 4WD but we can certainly understand Ford’s motivation as there’s more profit to be had there and most of the buyers would be happy with the power available to them right out of the box. I’m just not like most buyers and I get that.
How does it drive and could we live with it? It actually drives nicely and for a couple of reasons we could live with this truck for a long time. After racking up nearly 2,000 miles of driving that ranged from flat highway cruise control territory with speeds in the 75mph range to the many flat footed blasts we made over the course of the week we had the truck the average mileage (with all things combined) was 19.4 MPG. Great? No, but remember, we’re talking around town, highway, and “performance” driving. Ford says 22.5 highway and we believe it at the posted speed limit, etc. It rides like a truck and the short wheelbase can tend to make things more choppy than a longer wheelbase truck but again, no complaints. Bump steer was not bad, handling was what it was, enhanced slightly by the presence of more rubber but not really what we could call “performance” minded. The truck is as quiet as a bank vault and the engine emits kind of a low roar when the throttle pedal touches the carpet. It does still sound kind of like a mini-van because it is a V6 and all, but we never really got used to that. The cab is a real star here and that’s saying something for the normally yeoman-like confines of a standard pickup cab. Ford added some room to their standard cab and the result was enough space to store all of our luggage INSIDE the cab while still allowing the seats to be rolled back to the point that you could stretch all the way out. That was cool because we didn’t have to fear our stuff getting wet in the rain, stolen at a truck stop, or otherwise messed with. The bucket seats aren’t exactly bolstered to make you feel like you are driving a race truck but they are more comfortable than any bench we have spent time on and the console mounted floor shifter does add a nice car-like feel to the cab. There is “stitching” around the steering wheel and other areas to match the piping on the seats. Overall it is a very handsome and comfy place to spend 2,000 miles.
What did others think of it? We were genuinely surprised by the response that this truck got from kids, teenagers, and adults alike. Perhaps it was the fact that so few people had seen this model of F-150 before, or perhaps it was the blue paint and aggressive look of the truck, but it turned an EXCEPTIONALLY large number of heads. At one point we were stopped in traffic next to a school bus filled with a high school Lacrosse team and my wife all of a sudden said, “Woah! Look at that!” I looked up to see the entire bus crammed on one side and staring at the truck. Thumbs up, smiles, and encouragement to do a burnout were all happening at once. Being that we were in traffic, I skipped the burnout act. On multiple occasions we had people give us thumbs up and other gestures of approval when we cruised by them on the highway and I’ll admit to a bit of an “acceleration comparison” with a guy in a half ton hemi Ram in Pennsylvania…he lost. Lastly, adults immediately noticed the “Boss” style side striping and more than one person asked if the Tremor was a “Boss” F-150. If you want some attention in your life, get one of these things in blue….it literally stops traffic.
What’s the final verdict? I am really glad that they called this thing the Tremor and not the Lightning because while it is a fun, sporty truck, it is not a successor or even worthy to carry that title. This is a truck an average guy could live with on a daily basis. With 4WD, 8,000lbs of towing capacity, and a six foot bed, it is capable of being used as a truck while looking cool and having enough zip to be fun around town or on the highway. The guy who would be let down by this truck is the one buying it because he thinks it is the hottest thing on the lot and that Ford went full bore on the performance side with the truck. They didn’t. There’s enough involved with this thing to make it neat but not enough for me to be able to tell someone looking for a “sport truck” to plunk down $45,000+ to buy a copy. Give it another 50hp, lower it, sell it in 2WD format only and then we’ll talk!
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE 2014 FORD F-150 TREMOR –