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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Can this Ford Ranger give the Toyota Hilux a Tremor or two?

This double cab bakkie is equipped to tackle the rough stuff with a host of features.

The Blue Oval is the master of producing special editions of the Ford Ranger. The latest one is the Tremor, which also just happens to be The Citizen Motoring‘s long-term companion for the next six months.

So, what does the Tremor bakkie mean in your life and mine? Well, it’s not just a sticker upgrade if that’s what you are thinking. It’s introduction also coincides with the Toyota Hilux GR-S III, or so-called “wide track” Hilux. This ensures that the great rivalry between the two bakkies will become even bigger.

The Tremor is based on the Ford Ranger XLT. I am not exactly sure what that means anymore with all these different derivatives being mixed and matched. But I can tell you that there is a whole of lot Wildtrak X technology and spec fitted to this new special edition. As well as its own unique options.

Starting with the visual cues, the Tremor offers a black honeycomb off-road front grille with a black Ford oval. Plus the same LED auxiliary driving lights from the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X, along with unique Bolder Grey exterior details for the lower sections of the front bumper and H-bar. This finish also feature on the fender vents, mirror caps, door handles, wheelarch mouldings and rear bumper.

ALSO READ: Toyota Hilux GR-S leads exciting band of bakkies heading for SA

Ford Ranger with a twist

Being billed as a rugged off-road specialist, you also get a proper steel bash plate, steel underbody protection for the engine, transfer case and fuel tank and two front tow hooks. Cast aluminium side steps and the distinctive long-leg tubular sports bar all also thrown in on top of the same reworked suspension with specially developed Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers as used on the Wildtrak X.

This 24mm higher, 30mm wider Tremor also rides on all-terrain General Grabber AT3 tyres with white lettering that are mounted on 17-inch Asphalt Black machine-faced alloy rims.

On the inside, the tough and rugged theme continues. The seats feature water-resistant black vinyl with Medium Dark Urban Grey stitching. Precision Grey accents and Ebony upper trim finishes decorate the doors and dashboard.

Ford Ranger Tremor
The Ford Ranger Tremor rides on 17-inch black alloy wheels. Picture: Ford

In place of traditional carpets, vinyl flooring provides a practical touch that will make the cleaning the interior a breeze. Something I haven’t quite enjoyed, after being spoilt in the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X, is the Tremor logo-embroidered front seats that are manually adjustable and not fully electric.

ALSO READ: New Toyota Hilux GR-S shows off its rugged footwear

Bigger screen

I guess I am more glamp than camp when it comes to spending almost R1-million on a bakkie. But at least the Tremor gets the off-road SYNC screen similar to the Wildtrak X. This gives it a 360-degree camera system that makes manoeuvring in tight spaces in absolute cinch.

This also means that the XLT’s 10.1-inch touchscreen display makes way for the larger 12-inch version, while wireless charging is standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Out on the road and off it, the Ford Ranger Tremor joins the Wildtrak X as the only 2.0-litre models using the bi-turbo diesel that offers 154kW of power and 500Nm of torque and a full-time four-wheel drive system. The latter uses an electromagnetic transfer case mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with advanced eShifter and electronic parking brake.

Ford Ranger Tremor cabin
The Ford Ranger Tremor features a 12-inch portrait infotainment screen. Picture: Ford

This system offers the convenience of permanent 4WD in 4 Auto (4A), 4 High (4H), and 4 Low (4L), as well as a city slicker two-wheel drive (2H) mode. This latter allows you to control the Drive Mode rotary dial that offers Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl to make you look good out on the trail no matter what.

ALSO READ: Turbo upgrade helps Toyota Hilux GR-S overtake V6 Ford Ranger

Reversing with a trailer made easy

Talking of which, the Tremor introduces Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Trailer Reverse Guidance. This means that just like a man never stops to ask for directions, a man will also never ask for assistance to reverse his trailer. Making use of the Selectable Drive Modes controller on the centre console, along with the steering wheel and a suite of cameras, the guesswork of reversing your bakkie with a trailer attached should be over. This is a feature we are going to test in one of our upcoming updates on our time with the Tremor.

What we will also be able to tell you, is how it lines up with the new Toyota Hilux GR-S in terms of performance.

The Ford Ranger Tremor retails for a suggested price of R977 500. This includes a four-year or 120 000km warranty, four-year or unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year or unlimited distance corrosion warranty.

Customers have the option of purchasing a service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 135 000km.

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