Last year we had the opportunity to drive loads of F-150’s during the lockdown. What has that got to do with the Ranger? Well, 99% of the people we talk to always say: “Why would you buy/lease a Ranger when it’s almost the same price as the F-150?” As someone that’s got plenty of experience driving both, it’s a no-brainer for me (and the wife) the Ranger wins every single time. It’s the better and more usable size of the two. It’s easier to drive, park and get in and out of. Unless you are towing big heavy trailers all the time, or you need a LOT of passenger space in the back, there is no need for you to get the F-150 over the Ranger.
So what about the price difference? It’s far bigger than you think it is at first glance. A top-of-the-line Ranger is $10,000 cheaper than a base F-150, so that isn’t even a logical comparison. Speaking of fully-loaded.. this time we’re driving a very rare, in our neck of the woods, a Ranger Tremor. It looks off roady, so are we taking it off road? Hell no – we’re doing what 99.999% of the people that buy these things do: driving on the highways and parking lots of suburbia!
What Is It?
- Mid-size 4×4 pickup truck
- We’re driving the Tremor Off-Road Package with the Lariat package
- 2.3 Litre Twin-Turbo EcoBoost Engine
- 10-speed automatic transmission
How Does It Look?
- Test vehicle comes in the Velocity Blue colour – looks amazing when its clean and sitting in the sun
- The Ranger is a great looking truck, but the Tremor Package really makes it stand out. Even non-truck people really loved the look…and colour
- The Off-Road Hoop Steps come in the Tremor Off-Road Package and are very useful, especially with the extra 9.7 inches of ground clearance the Tremor adds with the 17″ Off-Road 265/70R17 A/T Tires add.
- After driving the F-150, THIS is the perfect-sized truck.
- Forget that the pricing is fairly “similar”, this is by far, a much better truck than the F-150 in my opinion.. It FEELS better, it drives better and handles better.
- Comes with LED headlights and taillights – wasn’t expecting that!
What’s It Like Inside?
- The Leather-Trimmed bucket front-seats with Miko suede inserts are VERY comfortable
- The driver gets a very useful 12” digital instrument cluster that is customisable and offers a ton of information
- Driver (8-Way) and Passenger (6-way) seats are power adjustable (incl. lumbar adjustment), but manual seat back adjustment
- Both seats are heated
- No Heated steering wheel however!
- The control layout is nice, with big buttons for the audio system, but the HVAC system was disappointing because it’s operated by small buttons. The Escape has a much better set up with large dials (click HERE to see images of the Escape layout).
- Voice-activated touchscreen navigation system with pinch-to-zoom capability comes in the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- FordPass Connect – download the app onto your phone and turn it into a key or an information centre – very cool.
- The B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen, standard on Lariat, (10 speakers – including subwoofer) produces incredible sound
- There’s plenty of knee and legroom for rear passengers – it’s actually quite comfortable back there
- With a flat floor, interior cargo space is very useful – the rear seat flips up to allow more usage as well as a couple of storage bins
- Maximum Towing Capacity: 1,650 lbs without a trailer brake, 7,500 lbs with a trailer brake
- Here’s a nice touch: when you plug the trailer lights into the truck, all the trailer lights come on so you can check right away to see if any of your lights are not working. Also, inside the truck it reminds you in the binnacle that you’ve got a trailer attached every time you start it
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
- The 2.3L EcoBoost is more than sufficient for the Ranger, there’s plenty of low-end grunt and it’s very quiet on the highway, though the Ranger overall sounds a bit like a garbage truck when it initially starts moving.
- The 10-speed transmission is obviously geared for maximum fuel economy, but you’d never know it, it isn’t the least bit noticeable (unlike the F-150’s annoying 10-speed)
- Steering is smooth and well-balanced – just the right amount of feedback
- Braking is superb
- I filled my trailer with tree branches and took it to the dump – I had to keep checking my mirrors to see if the trailer was still attached! It tows like there’s nothing connected, unlike my own 2011 V6 Ranger, where you feel the trailer the whole time its connected
Torque: 310 lb-ft
Top Speed: unknown
0-60 mph (sec): 7.0
Base Price: $42,688
As Tested: $52,478
Options Included On Test Vehicle ($9, 790)
Spray-In Bedliner – $600
Trailer Tow Package – $600
Securicode Keyless Keypad – $125
Lariat Package (501A) – $3,115
- B&O Sound System, including Navigation
- Technology Package
- Adaptive cruise control
- Forward sensing system
- Remote start system
Tremor Off-Road Package – $5,250
- Trail control system
- Skid plates
- Electronic-locking Diff
- 17″ Magnetic Aluminum Wheels – Tremor
- Heavy Duty Off-Road Suspension w/Fox Shocks
- Upfitter Switches
- Off-road Hoop Step
- All-Weather Floor liners + Carpet Mats
- Rated at (L/100 km): City – 12.1 / Highway – 12.3 / Combined – 12.2
- Annual cost to operate (Transport Canada – 20,000 kms @ $1.25 litre): $3,050
- We averaged 11.5 – 11.8 on a regular basis and easily attained 10.0 L/100 km on the highway at 100-110 km/h
- The very best we got was 9.5 on one journey
- Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
- Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
- Roadside Assistance: 5 years /100,000 km
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The Good: On road comfort was WAAAY better than expected with off-road rated tires – we actually liked it better than the regular Ranger > HERE
- The Good: Fuel economy was also much better than expected
- The Bad: I’m being overly-picky here… HVAC dials would be better/easier to use than buttons
- The Ugly: Nothing
What’s The Verdict?
Ford has taken a very good truck and made it even better – the Tremor package is well worth the money for the ride comfort alone. With the big tires and Heavy-Duty suspension we were expecting to be bounced around and uncomfortable all day long, but we weren’t. In the town/city and on the highway it was extremely comfortable. I even took it crashing over railroad tracks – but it was silky-smooth like they weren’t even there. The seats are perfectly shaped and very comfortable and the driving position is perfect. There’s good storage throughout the truck – something that is surprisingly lacking in just about every vehicle nowadays.
I love driving new vehicles and look forward to every single one that I drive, but every now and again along comes a vehicle I don’t want to give back – and the Ranger Tremor is one of them. We really really want one of these for ourselves!
Copyright © 2021 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland