It's not often we get the chance to drive a vehicle that offers this amount of fun. And we mean FUN! The last time we saw the 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor was on a quick trip to the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn several months ago. NASCAR racer Brad Keselowski drove it, giving us some fun time in the passenger seat.
We recently had our first chance to get some driver-seat time in the truck and do some real-world driving, along with testing the Tremor for a few performance times. We can honestly say this trim package is as close as Ford has come to the F-150 Lightning in a long, long time. The fun factor is sky high because, truthfully, this is one of the quickest pickup trucks you can buy — and it's not that expensive. We had a blast tooling around town in the Tremor, getting more than our fair share of thumbs-ups while driving and quite a few questions about the truck when parked.
What You Get
To quickly recap, the Tremor Package (always a regular cab short bed) is unique because the EcoBoost engine was never designed to be put under the hood of this kind of F-150. But all that changed once someone said, "Hey, you know what we could do..." There were a few fitment issues that had to be addressed with the transmission and rear driveshaft lengths, as well as some front and rear spring fine-tuning. We give a lot of credit to the integration engineers who tuned the suspension to the transmission shift points to the traction control, just to name a few of the important systems.
Our F-150 Tremor test unit started off as an FX2 Sport Package, which lists for $35,465 (including destination) but, like all Tremors, gets 4.10:1 axle gears, the 365-horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, unique decals, a special interior and a locking rear differential, all for $1,795, so the base price is less than $40,000. But our Tremor unit had a few other goodies.
The Tremor Plus Package ($1,995) gave us a navigation system upgrade, remote start, a bed extender, a tailgate step, a trailer brake controller and a rearview camera. Additionally, the FX Appearance Package ($2,480) gave us extra hood and door decals, tubular sidesteps and 20-inch smoked aluminum wheels. The spray-in bed liner rang up at $475, bringing the grand total for our test unit to $42,210.
Our test truck weighed 5,160 pounds (we should note the EcoBoost, although all aluminum, is not a light engine), so with 365 hp we had a power-to-weight ratio of 14:1, which should make any driver smile when going deep into the throttle. During our timed runs (with our own RaceLogic VBOX equipment) we ran a fastest zero-to-60-mph time of 6.32 seconds; our best quarter-mile time was 14.8 seconds at 94.6 mph. Although these numbers may not seem spectacular, they are a clear indication that this little twin-turbo V-6 does exceptionally well when compared to much larger V-8 engines, even when they have similar power-to-weight ratios. For comparison sake, during our 2013 Light-Duty Challenge, the Ram Hemi competitor was almost three-quarters of a second slower to 60 mph than our Tremor.
From the driver's seat, it seems like Ford has done a solid job of making the interior feel sporty and deserving of the "sport truck" moniker. The black leather bucket seats offer a healthy amount of hip and abdomen bolster for a snug, locked-in feel. Unique red-piped seats and a modified center console provide the Tremor's interior with a tight, cockpitlike feel. Brushed steel accents and an FX gauge cluster round out the sporty, high-quality look.
How It Drives
Launching the EcoBoost at wide-open throttle took some getting used to because there was always a good pause when hitting the throttle pedal off the line, as if the computer was trying to figure out if you really meant it. But as soon as the computer got the information, the power transfer was sharp and progressive — not what we typically experience in a full-size pickup, V-8 or not. Even around town, we became confident about the Tremor's agility and took advantage of openings in traffic that we normally wouldn't consider. And on the open highway, given how quickly the small turbos kick in at speed, you will never again worry about getting from 50 to 70 mph (which takes a little more than 3 seconds) to get past that tractor trailer.
The Tremor's standard 4.10:1 axle gears have a lot to do with how well this truck does off the line and when passing. And even under quick acceleration, the well-balanced, high-performance 275/55R20 Pirelli Scorpion tires offer plenty of grip. These tires are just about the only option that would work with this setup; Ford specifically matched these Pirellis with the suspension tuning (Ford even specially tuned the Tokico shocks) in order to make this small truck both quick and nimble. The grip the Scorpions offer in hard cornering and braking is, simply, stunning. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to execute any official brake runs from 60 mph, but it wouldn't surprise us if they were just about the best we've ever tested — meaning somewhere in the 120-feet range.
We racked up about 500 miles in the Tremor, filling up at the same gas station two separate times. During our real-world driving, which included an equal amount of Los Angeles freeway driving with around-town errand running, we averaged 17.6 mpg; our best observed mileage was 23 mpg when leisurely cruising along the highway around 65 mph. However, did notice that our fuel economy quickly dropped below the early teens when driving enthusiastically. We've had the same experience with the EcoBoost in the past when doing heavy towing, in some cases averaging in the single digits.
That said, we do appreciate that this performance truck, with its gross vehicle weight rating of 6,650 pounds, still offers almost 1,500 pounds of payload as well as an 8,140-pound towing capacity. Both of those numbers are better than the real-world towing and payload capabilities of a Super Cab SVT Raptor. (The Tremor has a gross combined weight rating of 13,300 pounds.)
What We Think
The Tremor won't be around for much longer; in fact, it's only offered for 2014. So even if you don't ever see this pickup in your driveway, consider taking one for a test drive before it's gone. The Tremor is a great example of what can be done with a versatile and flexible platform. This is a street-smart, high-performance pickup that thinks it's a small rocket ship. And its price is nowhere near the craziness of some other premium packages. There's a bucket-load of value here and plenty of fun to be had. Our hope is that Ford offers something similar (or better?) when the 2015 models debut. Stay tuned.
To download the price sheet for our test vehicle, click here.
To download Ford's product sheet on the 2014 Tremor, click here.
Cars.com photos by Mark Williams