Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Ford Ranger Tremor – less is more

If you thought that Ford has already saturated the market with any possible Ranger derivative you could possibly want… think again. Two additional models were added to the line-up recently and although they’re both great, one in particular has us very excited. That’s because the new Ranger Tremor is aimed at customers who require enhanced capability and confidence in conquering challenging off-road conditions, as well as owners that typically customise their vehicle for overlanding adventures.

The Tremor Double Cab uses the same 154kW/500Nm 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine and full-time four-wheel drive (4WD) system as the Wildtrak X, and benefits from the innovative Trail Turn Assist feature that allows the vehicle to manoeuvre around the tightest off-road turns with ease. It also brings another new driver assist feature to the Ranger line-up in the form of Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Trailer Reverse Guidance. This will henceforth be a standard feature on Tremor, Wildtrak X, Raptor, and the other newcomer to the range – the Platinum. It will also be offered as an option on the standard Wildtrak models.

Distinctive styling

Telling the Tremor apart from its stablemates is easy. It’s based on the XLT, but it has a black honeycomb off-road front grille that is equipped with the same LED auxiliary driving lights as the Wildtrak X. It also boasts unique Bolder Grey exterior details for the lower sections of the front bumper and H-bar, fender vents, mirror caps, door handles, and rear bumper. Extended wheelarch mouldings in Bolder Grey that frame the 265/70 R17 all-terrain General Grabber AT3 tyres with white lettering, mounted on 17-inch Asphalt Black machine-faced alloy rims are thrown in for good measure.

Further distinguishing the Tremor from its regular siblings is the inclusion of the ‘Tremor’ badge on the rear tailgate and bold ‘Tremor’ decals on the loadbox sides. Another special detail is the use of the black Ford Oval on the front grille and tailgate – an exclusive treatment that is shared only with the Wildtrak X and Ranger Raptor.

The Tremor’s go-anywhere abilities are reinforced with the standard fitment of a steel bash plate, steel underbody protection for the engine, transfer case and fuel tank, two front tow hooks, cast aluminium side steps and the distinctive long-leg tubular sports bar.

The off-road enhancements incorporate the same reworked suspension with specially developed Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers as used on the Wildtrak X. This means a 24mm increase in ground clearance and a 30mm wider track.

Practicality personified

In our opinion a standout feature of the Tremor is the practicality and durability of its cabin. The seats are trimmed in water-resistant black vinyl with Medium Dark Urban Grey stitching. In place of traditional carpets, vinyl flooring makes cleaning the interior a breeze, even after a muddy off-road adventure.

The standard fitment of the roof-mounted auxiliary switches allows seamless fitment of the powered accessories that are part and parcel of 4×4 overlanding. Provision is also made for the fitment of a second battery in the engine bay with no modifications required – a feature that is common to all new Rangers.

As with the Wildtrak X, the Tremor is equipped with the Off-road SYNC Screen with the 360-degree camera system that makes manoeuvring in tight spaces a cinch. This also means that the XLT’s 10.1-inch touchscreen display makes way for the larger 12-inch version which incorporates these features. Wireless charging is standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Loading up the Tremor for an adventure is easy as the loadbox is equipped with the spray-in bedliner (with an integrated 12-volt socket) to prevent damaging the floor, along with Ford’s versatile Cargo Management System to safely secure any items being carried.

A real tough cookie

There is also a lot going on under the skin of the Tremor to enhance its off-road capabilities.

It has the same suspension upgrades as the Wildtrak X, including the specially developed Bilstein Position Sensitive Dampers that provide variable levels of damping force based on the prevailing driving conditions. Combined with the General Grabber AT3 tyres, this creates a wider track and increased ground clearance that off-road drivers will appreciate – whether negotiating a steep and rocky ascent, a deep mud track or soft desert sand.

Taking on any of these conditions, and a whole lot more, with confidence is as easy as selecting the appropriate Drive Mode via the rotary dial, comprising Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl. The system adjusts the throttle response, gearshifts, traction and stability control, rear diff-lock, as well as the steering and braking system to optimise vehicle performance to suit the terrain.

Additionally, the Tremor joins the Wildtrak X as the only 2.0-litre models (using the Bi-Turbo diesel with 154kW/500Nm) available with Ford’s full-time four-wheel drive system, which uses an electromagnetic transfer case (eMTC) mated to the 10-speed automatic transmission with advanced eShifter and electronic parking brake.

It offers the convenience and safety of permanent 4WD in 4 Auto (4A) mode which is suitable for both on- and off-road driving. The system also includes 4 High (4H) that provides an equal split of the power delivery to the front and rear axles for driving on loose surfaces, and 4 Low (4L) for tackling arduous off-road conditions. There’s also a two-wheel drive (2H) mode which disengages the front axle for rear-wheel drive only. Another benefit of the 4WD system is the fitment of disc brakes all-round for improved on and off-road braking performance.

Making the driver look like a pro

An extensive range of driver assistance systems provide enhanced confidence in any terrain. This includes the new Trail Turn Assist feature that debuted on the Wildtrak X. The system brakes the inside wheel when negotiating tight bends in off-road conditions below 19km/h, reducing the vehicle’s turning radius by up to 25 percent to help navigate around obstacles.

Trail Control is also standard on the Tremor. You simply select a set speed below 32km/h when driving off-road, and the vehicle will manage its acceleration and braking while the driver concentrates on steering through difficult terrain. It’s like cruise control for off-road driving!

Of course, the usual list of driver assist and active safety features is also there. Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (which includes Load Adaptive Control, Roll Over Mitigation, Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control), a Lane Keeping System with Road Edge Detection, Pre-Collision Assist (with Dynamic Brake Support, Forward Collision Warning System and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection), Reverse Brake Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring with Trailer Coverage, and parking sensors front and rear are all standard.

Another really nifty feature is Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Trailer Reverse Guidance, which is standard on this model and now also on the Wildtrak X, the Ranger Raptor and the other newcomer to the range, the Platinum. It is available as an option on the Wildtrak 4×4 and 4WD models.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro at manoeuvring a trailer, Pro Trailer Backup Assist helps you get the trailer positioned where you want it, quickly and easily. It utilises the rotary Selectable Drive Modes controller on the centre console, along with the steering wheel and a suite of cameras to take the guesswork out of reversing the vehicle with a trailer attached.

After a few measurements have been entered into the Sync screen and the trailer has been calibrated (including its hitch position and length), the camera tracks the trailer while reversing and guides it accordingly. You simply rotate the knob left or right in the direction you want the trailer to go while the system controls the steering wheel.

With Trailer Reverse Guidance, the system provides informational graphics and up to seven camera views to help the reverse the trailer while the driver uses the steering wheel to control the direction. This mode displays which direction to turn the wheel to keep the trailer straight. Up to 10 trailers can be stored in the system for ease of use.

Pricing

The Ranger Tremor has a price tag of R978 600, which is quite a bit more than the R850 000-odd of the 4×4 XLT with the same engine and transmission. But honestly, its capability, practicality and exclusivity make it worth every cent.

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