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THE RANGER THAT WAS MEANT TO BE: 2021 FORD RANGER TREMOR

No matter how much the enthusiasts begged, the idea of a Ford Ranger Raptor was most likely to never take off… and considering the market value on trucks these days, a ±$60,000 Ranger would be a laughable scenario. However, after recently adapting the popular off-road Tremor package that was introduced on the F-150 and F-250, the Ranger Tremor might just be an acceptable Raptor alternative.

We are no stranger to the Ranger since it re-launched in 2019. Having tested the popular trim options of the XLT and Limited both featuring the FX4 packages, the Ranger never quite lived up to its full potential with ride and handling flaws keeping it from becoming a popular commodity. The Tremor package however brings the Ranger into the modern century with beefy 32-inch all-terrain tires, buttery smooth fox dampers on all four corners of the suspension and a new multi-leaf rear spring suspension setup. It’s this sort of configuration that makes the Ford Ranger better than an ever.

One of the biggest complaints about the Ranger was the harshness of the suspension, especially with the FX4 Off-Road Package, jolting us around like we’re a bag of chips being handled by a toddler throwing a tantrum. Even with the Tremor Package, the Ranger still rides stiff, like a proper pick-up truck, but the body control and reduced impact over harsh bumps makes a huge difference in comfortable drivability. We could finally drive down a dirt road without feeling like we needed to schedule a visit to the chiropractor afterwards.

Usually by adding a beefed-up off-road package can reduce the realities of what the soul purpose of a truck is – a tow, hauling workhorse. Ford has done their best to keep the Ranger at the top of its game with the Tremor Package having reduced payload by just a couple hundred pounds now making capable of hauling just over 1400lbs, that doesn’t necessarily make or break the bank. Towing on the other hand is a bigger jurisdiction that Ford was happy to keep the same at 7500lbs, which is a huge leap over the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2’s 5000lbs towing capacity.

But really, when it comes down to a roll around in the dirt kind of foreplay, the Tremor Packages brings on some very attractive off-roading attributes. The Tremor adds nearly 1-inch of additional ground clearance increasing it to 9.7-inches… and they said size didn’t matter. This package also improves its approach and departure angles to 23.5-degress. Additional features like the Terrain Management System and a rear-locking differential are also available on the Tremor, but not all that new to the Ranger in general as its also featured on the FX4 Off-Road Package.

For as much as Ford hates to announce it, the four-cylinder engine tucked under the hood is nothing to be ashamed of. The 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four can be found on all Rangers, including the entry XL starting at $25,070 is a peachy little throat puncher. Despite the Tremor Package adding some extra weight to the Ranger and slowing it down in straight line acceleration, the difference is hardly noticeable if tested side by side. Getting to 60-mph requires roughly 7.0-seconds from its 270-horsepower powerplant as it pulls 310lb-ft of torque through a smooth-ish 10-speed automatic transmission – things tend to get a bit jittery when coming to a slow stop, but is also something that is easy to live with.

Inside, you won’t find very many changes with the off-road addition apart from the stylish part synthetic suede part leather seats with the embroidered Tremor on back and the nifty Auxiliary switches for off-road accessories. Otherwise it’s the same ole, same ole decade long interior that we’ve come more than familiar with.

Stepping into the Tremor Package status is by far not a cheap thrill, it requires, at minimum to be in XLT form with the four-door Super Crew cab, 5-foot bed and of course 4×4 that starts at $34,995. The Tremor Package alone is a $4290 optional extra but like a marriage, you can’t just have the off-road goods – the Tremor option also forces the Ranger into the $1670 XLT 301A equipment package. The same song and dance goes for our test subject that arrived as the top Lariat trim. Unfortunately, to have the Tremor Package on the Lariat also requires us to spend more money on the $2005 Lariat 501A equipment package. Granted this package features a fantastic Bang & Olufsen Sound System, amongst some other premium goodies, but the end results is a $47,995 truck.

Even at its darn near $48,000 price tag, the Ford Ranger Tremor marks a heck of deal for the off-road extremist in the compact truck market. The Ranger XLT Tremor maxed out is $42,795, $2600 cheaper the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2and $1500 less than the Toyota TRD Pro. It may have been a bit late to the off-road party, but this is the Ranger that was meant to be.

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle:2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor 4×4
Base Price:$36,860
As Tested:$47,955
Engine:2.3-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder
Horsepower/Torque:270-Horsepower / 310lb-ft of Torque
Transmission:10-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain:Four-Wheel Drive with Terrain Management System & Locking Differential
MPG:19 | 19 | 19 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG:19.2-MPG (Combined)
Fuel Range:330-Miles
0-60 MPH:±7.0-Seconds

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