2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | May 04, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Ford deals!

The layers of Ford truck off-roadery now include FX, Tremor, and Raptor. For the basics, the FX2 Package adds a sporty, rugged look combined with off-road tires and an off-road suspension to a 2-wheel-drive pickup. The FX4 Package is the same thing, but with extra hardware and software baked into a 4-wheel-drive truck. The Raptor treatment adds high-speed off-road performance, but for now, Ford restricts it to the F-150 lineup.

Bridging the gap between FX4 and Raptor, the Tremor Package debuted on the refreshed 2020 Ford F Series Super Duty. Later this year, it becomes available for the Ford F-150. And at the start of this year, the 2021 Ford Ranger added the Tremor Package to its arsenal of extras.

For the Ranger, the Tremor Package builds on the FX4 Off-Road Package with a reworked and lifted suspension, more aggressive all-terrain tires, and minor cosmetic changes inside and out. It’s one of three new option packages for the 2021 Ranger, along with the STX Special Edition Package and the Black Appearance Package. Otherwise, aside from the usual minor equipment modifications and several new paint colors, the 2021 Ranger is unchanged.

Ford sells the 2021 Ranger in extended cab (SuperCab) and crew cab (SuperCrew) styles, with 2WD or 4WD, and in XL, XLT, and Lariat trim levels. Various option packages customize the Ranger’s appearance and equipment, and they all have a terrific turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power output measures 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Ford Ranger XLT with the FX2 Package. This review focuses on the Ranger’s new Tremor Off-Road Package and how it potentially impacts the truck’s overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Ford Ranger - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor White Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

According to data collected from verified owners for the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 87% of Ford Ranger owners are male (vs. 85% for the segment), and the median age of a Ranger owner is 63 years (vs. 56).

Owners say their favorite things about the Ranger are (in descending order) the:

  • Exterior design
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Powertrain
  • Setting up and starting

Owners indicate their least favorite things about the Ranger are (in descending order) the: 

  • Interior design
  • Infotainment system
  • Driving comfort
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

In the J.D. Power 2020 APEAL Study, the Ranger ranked number two out of six midsize pickup trucks.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ford Ranger - Find the best Ford deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a Ranger Lariat equipped with the following options:

  • Tremor Off-Road Package
  • SecuriCode keyless entry pad
  • Spray-in bedliner

The price of the test vehicle came to $46,895, including the $1,195 destination charge.

Subtle Design Changes Identify Ranger Tremor

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor White Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Aside from the obvious “Tremor” decals on each side of its cargo bed, the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor has subtle modifications that set it apart from other versions of the truck.

Magnetic Gray is the color accent theme, used on the grille, wheels, bumpers, and wheel arch flares. The truck sits taller and with a wider stance than other versions of the Ranger, and the exclusive 17-inch wheel design wears 32-inch Continental General Grabber A/TX all-terrain tires sized LT265/70R17. Red grille inserts, hoop-style side step bars, and front and rear recovery hooks also help identify the Ranger Tremor.

The result is a handsome truck that adds more rugged detailing to the Ranger’s soft overall design. Those hoop-style step bars, with a finish similar to a spray-in truck bedliner, look great. But unless you use them, which is unnecessary given the truck’s accessible height, they just get in the way. And if you attempt to step over them while wearing shorts, they’ll scrape the skin off of your legs.

Tremor Suspension is a Gift in Dirt and on Pavement

Ford charges $4,290 for the Tremor Package, and it’s available only with XLT or Lariat trim and 4-wheel drive. It includes the contents of the FX4 Package and adds the cosmetic upgrades detailed above, along with a handful of interior modifications as defined below.

Additionally, the Ranger Tremor gets a reworked suspension. Ford lifts the truck nearly an inch, bringing maximum ground clearance to 9.7 inches. Ford also fortifies the Ranger Tremor with Fox 2.0 monotube dampers and rear piggyback reservoirs and specifically tuned front coil-over and rear multi-leaf springs. These components join the FX4 Package’s Terrain Management System, Trail Control, electronic locking differential, and full underbody skid plates for the radiator, electric steering, transfer case, and fuel tank.

During testing on moderately challenging trails, the Ranger Tremor proved exceptionally sure-footed, the Terrain Management System’s Mud/Ruts setting coming in mighty handy on the more difficult sections. The all-terrain tires helped the Ranger scramble across washed-out parts of the trail, while the Tremor’s suspension worked beautifully when traveling over undulating dirt at higher speeds.

We didn’t have a use for Trail Control, a low-speed off-road cruise control that automatically accelerates and brakes the truck to maintain a set speed while the driver focuses on steering. Speaking of steering, the Ranger Tremor demonstrates greater maneuverability than the recently tested Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, making quick work of tight turns on a rock-strewn portion of the trail.

Perhaps more illuminating is that the Tremor treatment doesn’t harm the Ranger’s on-pavement driving dynamics. The suspension is a gift during the daily drive, keeping the truck planted and reducing excessive body motion. The tires whir faintly in the background, and while the all-terrain tread and compound won’t inspire you to carve canyons in this rig, they offer decent cornering grip.

A Tight Fit for Taller Drivers

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor Interior Dashboard Seats

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Applied to Lariat trim, the Ranger Tremor’s front seats are wrapped in leather with simulated suede inserts. The driver gets an 8-way power adjustment, while the front passenger enjoys a 6-way power adjustment. Both front seats are heated. 

Additionally, the Ranger Tremor features unique stitching, black interior accents, all-weather floor trays, and a row of auxiliary outfitter switches on the top of the dashboard. The upfitter switches connect directly to the Ranger’s fuse box and allow Tremor owners to easily add lighting, a winch, and other electrical accessories to the truck.

The Ford Ranger SuperCrew has comfortable seats, but taller drivers may have trouble finding enough room for their knees underneath the steering wheel. I found a good mix of seat cushion height, thigh support, and knee room with some trial and error. More than anything, the knee space issue might have me seeking out an alternative midsize pickup.

The rear seat space is remarkably good. View a Ranger SuperCrew in profile, and you might assume otherwise. But once you climb in, the back seat is more accommodating than any other competitive truck aside from a Honda Ridgeline.

Tremor Dings Payload and Mileage, but Retains Towing Capacity

Choose the 2021 Ford Ranger Tremor and the truck’s maximum payload rating, the amount of weight it can carry in passengers and cargo combined, shrinks to 1,430 pounds. That’s 430 pounds less than the truck’s maximum rating.

However, the Ranger Tremor tows 7,500 pounds, giving up no ground when it comes to tugging a trailer. Notably, the Ford Ranger pulls more weight than any other midsize truck aside from a Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon equipped with the optional turbodiesel engine.

Not only is the Ranger a towing and hauling champ, it’s got a terrific powertrain. The turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder supplies plenty of power, and its 310 pound-feet of torque peaks at a low 3,000 rpm. The engine note is a treat, too, adding a satisfying soundtrack to the truck’s swift acceleration.

Fuel economy isn’t anything to get excited about, though. With the Tremor Package, the Ranger is EPA-rated to return 19 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg in combined driving. Our testing average came in at 18.5 mpg. 

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor Decal Sunset

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

From power and performance to towing and hauling, the 2021 Ford Ranger is an accomplished midsize pickup truck. Additionally, it supplies more refinement, more rear-seat room, and more advanced technology than most of its competitors. Now, thanks to the new Tremor Package, the 2021 Ranger has a more rugged look to go along with its more impressive off-roading capability.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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