Rumors crept out in August of 2021 that the Ford Bronco-based pickup truck was dead. Fans of the Bronco, Ford trucks, and the idea of some neat blend of the two to combat the Jeep Gladiator wept. But after a stint in the 2021 F-150 Tremor, we're here to say the Bronco pickup's cancellation is no big deal, because this new variant is a neat marriage of the best parts of Ford's two trademark body-on-frame bruisers.

Of course, that's based on only the briefest of drives. Ford gave us just 30 minutes of lead-follow off-roading at the Holly Oaks ORV Park while also keeping us off paved roads, which is why we aren't issuing a verdict or even calling this a first drive. We're already planning a follow-up test, including on-road impressions, in the very near future. But for now, we're confident saying that the third vehicle in the Tremor (in addition to the Ranger and Super Duty) line fills a valuable niche between the Bronco and F-150 Raptor in Ford's off-road lineup. Here's why.

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor

Borrowing From Both Sides

Even a quick look at the spec sheet suggests our position is correct. The top two of the Tremor's three grades – named Base, Mid, and High and equivalent to the STX, XLT High, and Lariat High, respectively – are standard with much of the Bronco Badland's Trail Control, Trail One-Pedal Drive, and Trail Turn Assist. This dirty trinity opens the gates to off-roading dramatically, so that even the inexperienced can get out on the trail. A Rock driving mode is also available to take complete advantage of the impressive software, while the Bronco also donates its excellent multi-view 360-degree camera suite to the Tremor cause.

On the hardware front, every Tremor packs a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (400 horsepower/500 pound-feet), 10-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, and the larger SuperCrew body. The Tremor trim adds to that popular combo with a locking rear differential, standard 33-inch General Grabber all-terrain tires with an extra inch to the front and rear track, an extra 1.2 inches of ground clearance, and Tremor-spec shocks. A limited-slip front differential is available, while top-end Tremor models feature a two-mode transfer case that's similar to the Raptor's, with a clutch-driven auto-4x4 function in addition to high and low range.

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Speaking of the Ford's top-dog off-roader, the Tremor's front bash plate, revised hood, updated grille, and standard side steps all take inspiration from it. Functionally, the revised body work results in marginal improvements to the Tremor's approach and breakover angles, which increase from 24.3 and 20.0 degrees, respectively, to 27.8 and 21.6 degrees. And subjectively, we like the effect the overall Tremor package has – this truck looks tougher than a standard F-150, but it's not nearly as wide as a Raptor.

It still captures some of that Baja truck's extroverted personality, though, with a plethora of Active Orange accents. In addition to the strip across the grille that visually connects the LED running lights, you'll find eye-catching tow hooks and attractive accents on the side grilles. The SuperCrew-only cabin is awash in orange, too, pairing with a variety of black finishes across all three grades.

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor

Dust Up

The Tremor was expectedly competent on the trail Ford laid out, trundling effortlessly up hills and showing off Trail Turn Assist's ability to pivot the long four-door truck and its 5.5-foot bed around tight corners. We stuck mainly to Mud and Ruts mode, although we did select Rock for a section on, well, rocks.

With Trail One-Pedal Drive active, getting over the obstacles was merely a matter of keeping our foot on the extremely well-tuned accelerator. If there's one direct complaint we had about the Tremor, it's that Ford seemingly ran out of button space and hid the Trail Turn Assist button in the Sync 4 infotainment system – hitting the button is occasionally difficult while underway. More than showing off the Tremor's capabilities, though, Ford's short route got us thinking about how cleverly this truck fits into the company's burgeoning off-road lineup.

In other words, the F-150 Tremor can tow and haul more than either of Ford's other large off-roaders.

The Tremor's 10,900-pound tow rating and 1,885-pound payload capacity exceed both the Raptor (8,200 and 1,410 pounds) and Bronco (3,500 and 1,160 pounds). It's also available with a 2.0-kilowatt ProPower Onboard system, which you can get on the Raptor but not the Bronco. There's substantially more space in the Tremor's cabin than in any Bronco variant.

In other words, the F-150 Tremor can tow and haul more than either of Ford's other large off-roaders, it's more versatile than a Raptor while allowing access to narrower trails, and is roomier and more comfortable than a Bronco. And while the Tremor is unquestionably expensive, the price tag for this just-right combo splits the difference between Ford's comparable products.

Prices start at $51,200 (including a $1,695 destination charge), or nearly $15,000 less than a Raptor and only $4,470 more than a four-door Bronco Badlands – add the Sasquatch package, its mandatory automatic transmission, and twin-turbocharged V6 to better match the Tremor, and your Bronco will end up just north of Ford's new truck variant.

The Tremor Mid is a bit dearer at $57,265, but with the introduction of Trail Turn Assist, Trail One-Pedal Drive, and Trail Control, along with heated front and rear seats, LED headlights, and the Co-Pilot 360 suite, that's a palatable premium. The Tremor High, at $64,645 is a tougher sell – unless you need the towing capacity, pony up for the Raptor, which includes much of the High's equipment.

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor

With the addition of the F-150 Tremor, Ford effectively splits the difference between its two premiere off-road products. Whether the Tremor slots in as neatly on road as it does off is a question we still don't know the answer to, but based on this brief test, there's a lot of promise in Ford's new mid-range off-road truck.

Gallery: 2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: Review

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor High

Engine Twin-Turbocharged 3.5-liter V6
Output 400 Horsepower / 500 Pound-Feet
Transmission 10-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Four-Wheel Drive
Efficiency TBD
Weight 5,115 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 52.8 Cubic Feet (5.5-Foot Box)
Towing 10,900 Pounds
Payload 1,885 Pounds
Base Price $49,505 + $1,695 Destination
Trim Base Price $64,645
As-Tested Price $67,300
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