After Driving the Ford F-250 FX4 Off-Road, We're Jonesing for the Tremor

2019 Ford F-150 Limited FX4 Exterior

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

By Brian Normile

When we tested the 2020 Jeep Gladiator versus the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison at Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Ind., we needed a support vehicle that had a bit more ground clearance than our photo and video team's 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. Fortunately, we also had a 2019 Ford F-250 Limited equipped with the FX4 Off-Road Package in our test fleet, so we loaded up the F-250 FX4 with our crew and equipment, and headed into the park.

Related: New 2020 Ford F-250/350 Tremor Package Is Interesting Answer to Ram Power Wagon

2019 Ford F-250 Limited FX4 Badge

The 2019 Ford F-250 FX4 adds a different set of shock absorbers tuned for off-road use, skid plating to the transfer case and fuel tank, hill descent control and a special FX4 Off-Road decal, which absolutely adds to the truck's abilities, behind the rear wheel. In light of Ford announcing the much more hardcore F-250 Tremor for the 2020 model year with bigger tires, bigger lift and more, the FX4 package seems very limited. Even so, how well did the FX4 package fare when driving through an actual off-road park?

2019 Ford F-250 Limited FX4 Suspension

Quite well, actually. Adding the FX4 Off-Road Package costs $790: $400 for the FX4 package, and then a $390 electronic locking rear axle is required with a 3.55:1 axle ratio when paired with the 450-horsepower, 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine (935 pounds-feet of torque) we tested. The F-250's 6.2-liter gas engine with FX4 package gets a 3.73 axle ratio with electronic locker.

2019 Ford F-250 Limited FX4 Drive Mode Selector

We didn't risk the $84,000 F-250 Limited climbing up the same broken concrete hills or crawling over rocks that the Gladiator and ZR2 did, but it more than held its own over deep loose dirt and pea gravel trails, and extremely uneven terrain. So well, in fact, that we never needed to air down the still street-oriented 275/65R18 Michelin LTX A/T2 tires or even switch into 4-Low. The FX4 managed a lot of the loose sand, pea gravel and whoops we threw at it in two-wheel drive as well. Some of the most fun to be had was over the higher-speed loose surfaces, where keeping the F-250 in 2WD let it slide around like the world's biggest, heaviest rally car.

2019 Ford F-250 Limited FX4 Tire

The only real limiting factor to the F-250 in this case was its size. Our guide was riding in a side-by-side, and the other two vehicles were mid-size pickups, so the F-250 crew-cab heavy-duty truck couldn't travel everywhere those smaller vehicles could. We had to leave it behind as we got deeper into parts of the park that included rock crawling and narrow, twisting hills. Successive bumps also highlighted that it was still a heavy-duty pickup as the stiff suspension lacks the travel of an off-road truck, meaning the F-250 couldn't travel as quickly over the whoops and cratered trails as the other vehicles.

2019 Ford F-250 Limited FX4 Undercarriage

Hopefully, we can go back to the Badlands when we get our hands on the F-250 Tremor (on sale later this year) and see how it fares over the same obstacles we faced in the 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, the F-250 Tremor's closest competitor.

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