2024 Ford F-150 Tremor First Drive Review: The V8 Off-Roader That the Raptor Isn't

2024 Ford F-150 Tremor First Drive Review: The V8 Off-Roader That the Raptor Isn't photo
2024 Ford F-150 Tremor First Drive Review: The V8 Off-Roader That the Raptor Isn't photo

The Ford F-150 Raptor is the benchmark. That said, you probably don't need it. Unless you're part of the relatively small subset of drivers with easy access to public desert land, you're likely better off getting something else. That stops approximately no one from buying a Raptor, and y'know, that's OK. But I'm trying to get the word out that there's a better option for people who live where thick forests and slow, rocky trails make up most of the off-road habitat. It's called the 2024 Ford F-150 Tremor, and if you're like me, it's the one to get—especially if you like V8s.

The Raptor remains the zenith of off-road performance for full-size trucks, so it’s easy to dismiss other pickups—maybe even especially those from Ford—as lowly imitations. But the truth is most people don’t need the capability of the Raptor, let alone the Raptor R, which is a supercar made for sand. For the vast majority of people, the F-150 Raptor is overkill and its performance is more or less wasted on the day-to-day realities of truck ownership.

Ford doesn’t really see the Raptor and Tremor as points along the same continuum. That is, the Tremor isn’t a hobbled version of the Raptor; they exist adjacent to each other rather than above and below. The two trucks have different goals and aptitudes, and I'd argue that one can make a much stronger case for the Tremor if they don't plan on hitting the whoops every weekend.

<em>José Rodríguez Jr.</em>
José Rodríguez Jr.

Importantly, the two have significantly different price points with the Tremor being the cheaper of the two by a pretty big margin. Tremor prices start in the mid-$60,000s versus those of the Raptor starting off in the low-$80,000s. It’s worth noting, however, that you can option a Tremor to nearly the entry cost of a Raptor.


The Tremor still commands a pretty penny over standard F-150 models, but that premium gets you off-road armor in the form of skid plates for the underbelly, fuel tank, and transfer case, plus a suspension that's optimized for four-wheeling. With front monotube shocks, twin-tube rears, and—get this—leaf springs, it's a more traditional take on 4x4 tech than the tour de force we're used to seeing in the Raptor. It combines all that with unique looks and a host of off-road features such as Trail Control with One-Pedal Drive and Trail Turn Assist. You also get a Pro Access Tailgate that swings open like a small barn gate and Pro Power Onboard to supply juice for anything, even out in the sticks!

The default on Tremors is a 2.0-kilowatt mobile generator system that can power a campsite, though they miss out on the hybrid's 2.4kW and 7.2kW systems. The latter is enough to run an entire restaurant's industrial kitchen—we checked. Still, the Raptor doesn't feature Pro Power Onboard at all, which is why the Tremor represents a better value for people who want a full-size truck that can augment their work and trail experience.

Let’s get to the best part of the Tremor, though: the standard 5.0-liter V8, which makes 400 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. It can be optioned with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, but why bother? Sure, it gets a healthy torque boost over the V8 at 500 lb-ft, but the whole point of the Tremor is to be a rugged, rowdy, and hopefully reliable trail mate. There aren't many of those left with a V8.

On top of that, the 5.0 sounds so nice under load. It's not as loud and raucous as the Raptor’s supercharged 5.2-liter V8, but it has an exhaust note that I honestly miss in pickup trucks. I’m all for hybridization and the downsizing of engines for the sake of lower emissions, but damn, they just don't growl like this. Ford is also all-in on hybridization, selling more hybrid pickups than any other automaker in the U.S., so we shouldn't feel too bad that it's one of the few remaining truck companies to sell a V8.

The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that does an admirable job. It doesn’t get in the way of the truck’s performance; it just sends power from that sweet, sweet V8 to the wheels. The Tremor comes with a two-speed transfer case and an electronically-controlled rear locking differential. The 4x4 settings can be changed on the fly, which is still kind of jarring to someone who was weaned on older trucks.

The Tremor also has the familiar rotary dial of late model F-150s for choosing among the selectable modes of the Terrain Management System, which optimizes traction for a range of situations including off-road and tow/haul modes, among others. This truck can tow up to 12,000 pounds when equipped with the V8 and up to 13,500 pounds with the EcoBoost V6, and max payload capacities are 2,230 and 2,445 pounds for the V8 and V6, respectively.

In case you haven't noticed, those towing and hauling capacities easily outdo the F-150 Raptor and Raptor R. Do you see a pattern emerging here? There's a see-saw of the F150’s talents going up and down depending on what truck buyers want: working capability or performance.  See, the Tremor essentially strikes a better balance between an off-road truck, and, well, a truck, which is a vehicle made to work—towing things and hauling gear. You don’t buy a Raptor to tow a trailer; you buy it to haul ass across the desert at triple digit speeds.

The Tremor, on the other hand, is capable of taking on trails as well as taking on the tasks truck owners require from their pickups. You are better off not trying to do Raptor things in a Tremor because while the suspension has been optimized and the frame strengthened in key areas, it's still nowhere near as sophisticated as that of the Raptor. Again, this is more about controlled navigation than the unfettered conquest of any terrain at speed.

But when you use the Tremor’s off-road assists, mountains become molehills that may be descended easily using Trail Control and One-Pedal Drive to whoa up the truck nicely. Whatever trail you’re on that once seemed daunting suddenly feels a lot more manageable. It's almost like you can watch the truck drive itself over obstacles on the big screen with all the pickup's onboard cameras.

Trail Turn Assist is one particular feature that makes off-roading easier, although it requires unlocking the rear diff. The assist tightens the truck’s turn radius by using the brakes to bite down on the inside rear wheel and allowing you to kind of pivot on that as an anchor point. It’s a neat feature that goes beyond a party trick, but you have to be careful not to damage the trail with it.

The Tremor can tackle fire roads and narrow(ish) unpaved mountain passes in the wild. It can also tackle muddy ruts and rock crawl to some extent by leveraging its drive modes. Steep grades and inclines are no match, and it will be comfy on the highway even with its generous ride height and larger 33-inch General Grabber tires. The Tremor is both one inch taller and wider than regular F-150s, and it has a ground clearance of up to 9.8 inches.

The interior is typical Ford F-150, which means it’s quite spacious and it rivals the comfort of large SUVs. There's a massive 12-inch infotainment screen that Ford has done a decent job of integrating into the dashboard. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on Tremor. The large screen feels less slapped on than in other full-size trucks, but it’s nonetheless quite prominent as the focal point of the well-appointed cabin. The leather seats are comfortable and firm, and the steering wheel is satisfyingly chunky in hand. There are a decent number of buttons for things such as separate driver and passenger HVAC settings, and, thankfully, the headlights are still controlled by a dial on the left of the steering wheel. The physical controls continue to the outside of the truck, with Ford’s trusty number pad on the window sills. These are still great and still very welcome.

The rest of the outside design has gone through some welcome changes, too. Indeed, Tremor will look pretty good doing all those trucky things now that the pickup has gone through a mid-cycle refresh. For a while there, the F-150 started to look like a shrunken-down Super Duty with a large front end and massive grill.

The new F-150 has looks that flatter the Tremor most of all with a decidedly active feel. The truck appears ready to dive front-end first into a steep descent. The front grill looks like it’s made of powder-coated steel (although it isn't) giving the truck a convincing off-road vibe. And the bumper is modular, so buyers can add a winch or light bar after the fact. That may also hint at cheaper repairs or replacements as parts can be swapped in and out in sections rather than as a whole.

The automaker seems serious about making off-roading accessible to the masses of F-150 buyers, regardless of budget. And that’s more or less true when you think of what the Tremor represents. The Tremor will start at $66,145, which is almost $15,000 less than the Raptor starting at $80,325. And that’s for a Raptor with the twin-turbo V6, which is significantly more powerful, but it doesn’t sound like the V8 in the “lesser” Tremor. Some of the truck’s closer competitors include the Ram 1500 Rebel and Chevy Silverado Trail Boss. But Ford basically invented the full-size off-road pickup segment when the original SVT Raptor hatched way back in 2009. That is to say, Ford knows how to make a full-size off-roader perhaps better than anyone else.

As I drove the F-150 Tremor through technical trails deep in San Bernardino National Forest, I couldn’t help but think of the “we have food at home” meme. The promise of the F-150 Raptor would be the delicious fast food the kids want, while mom or dad reminds them that there’s food at home—which, in this case, is an F-150 Tremor. Whereas the joke leans into the dissatisfaction of the food (or truck) at home, there’s no dissatisfaction here. Just a truck that will appeal to buyers who can admit that they don’t really need a Raptor when the Tremor will do.

Base Price (Tremor trim as tested with options)PowertrainHorsepowerTorque
SeatingCapacityCurb WeightMaxTowing Capacity
Max Payload Capacity
Cargo VolumeGround ClearanceOff-Road AnglesEPA Fuel Economy
Quick TakeScore

2024 Ford F-150 Tremor SuperCrew Specs

Got a tip? Email us at