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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


‘Raptor ultra-lite’ Ford Ranger Tremor takes on-roading in its stride

The Blue Oval's spiritual successor for the FX4 has been showing its worth as a daily commuter in spite of its hardware underneath.


For the majority of its first six months with The Citizen Motoring, our long-term Lucid Red Ford Ranger Tremor has been living the comparatively quiet life since its debut locally in March this year.

So far…

Often confined to one of its minder’s driveway when “replaced” by a test car, or parked at O.R Tambo International during a flyaway launch, the latter stages of June did, however, involve a trip to Gerotek and a weekend breakaway with our head of sport, Jacques van der Westhuizen, which will be detailed later.

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

For the most part, the direct replacement for the still popular previous generation Ranger FX4 has been on commuter duty, a task it has performed faultlessly without so much as having its 80-litre tank brimmed and dust washed off.

Ford Ranger Tremor road test
Side-steps and a rear bumper step are standard, along with the FX4-inspired tubular steel sports bar.

Despite having to share the limelight with a few high performance rockets that entered and left The Citizen’s garage throughout last month, settling back into the Tremor came with a particular aspect not often mentioned in a bakkie, its driving position.

Unexpected surprise

While more than a handful of the T6.2 Rangers have passed through our hands since its debut in 2022 either on launch, during the weeklong test drive, or as a long-termer, the arrangement in the Tremor somehow feels different in spite of the Blue Oval having made no fundamental changes to the seats or their design.

Newest Ranger driven
Despite being based on the XLT, the Tremor swaps-out the 10.1-inch infotainment system for the bigger 12-inch, but keeps the eight-inch digital instrument cluster.

Exhibiting an almost cocoon-feel, the position of the gear lever for the General Motors co-developed 10-speed automatic gearbox probably has a lot to do with this.

Whereas the e-shifter that moves forward automatically when left in Park with the ignition switched-off features on the step-up Wildtrak and Wildtrak X, the Tremor’s modelling on the XLT means a traditional lever juts out of the centre console, complete with the awkward and annoying manual mode buttons on the right.

Newest Ranger driven
Seats are trimmed in water-resistant black vinyl and although not different in design from any other Ranger, it feels more comfortable and supportive.

A configuration that replaced the normal override found to the right of Drive – manual shifting now requiring the buttons plus the M position below D – the placing of the lever feels spot-on and almost more bakkie-like than the touchpad-esque e-shifter.

Another worthwhile nicety has been Ford’s decision to remove all floor carpeting in favour of washable water-resistant vinyl.

Newest Ranger driven
With no carpets, the water-resistant vinyl floors can be cleaned using a hosepipe.

In effect, this allows the Tremor to be cleaned using the garden hosepipe after a day’s bundu-bashing.

While this hasn’t materialised to such an extent just yet, opting for a mini-broom or at best, a vacuum cleaner, has all that has been required minus bashing of mats with one’s hands or against the wall to remove dust or grass.

‘Junior junior’ Raptor

Affectionally christened “Raptor ultra-lite” as resides below the “Raptor-lite” Wildtrak X and the full-on Raptor in the off-road focused Ranger range, the Tremor’s down-and-dirty goodies have so far only seen action during the mentioned launch, though is likely to change as its tenure continues.

Besides having a wider by 24 mm at the front and 30 mm at the rear track than the XLT, the Tremor gets unique 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres, along with cast aluminium side-steps, the tubular steel sports bar from the FX4, extended wheel arches and the biggest highlight, the same Bilstein mono-tube position-sensitive dampers as the Wildtrak X.

Newest Ranger driven
Bilstein-sourced mono-tube position-sensitive dampers renders on-road imperfections ‘invisible’.

Now with a ground clearance of 261 mm, or 24 mm more than the XLT, plus Turn Trail Assist and a Rock Crawl function, the Tremor’s on-road performance has been noteworthy as imperfections on our ever-worsening roads hardly had it worrying.

At the same time, sudden jolts were equally dampened without an ensuing “wholly” feel as the suspension tried to “realign” itself after what it just experienced.

Ford Ranger Tremor road test
Standard fare on the Tremor are 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.

Up front, the 154kW/500Nm bi-turbo 2.0-litre Panther diesel engine has proved to be a reasonable drinker with an average of around 10-litres/100 km.

Given that this has been mostly achieved around town and not when taking on the open road, the Tremor has been more liveable than the Wildtrak X it replaced, although this could also be as a result of its lower weight and lack of the automatic roller shutter and Flexible Rack styling bar.

Conclusion

A personal favourite of this writer, the Tremor remains anything but cheap. At R978 600, its various extras make it R124 100 dearer than an XLT, but R62 000 less than the admittedly slightly more luxurious Wildtrak X.

Ford Ranger Tremor road test
Tremor officially replaces the FX4 as Ford’s ‘entry-level’ off-road focused designation

While likely to be viewed as a model that finds itself in a tricky space within the Ranger range, its intended use as an off-roader under the psychological R1-million mark remains its biggest attraction given the nature of its premium over the XLT.

Still with us for a while, a number of tasks lay in wait, including towing an off-course, a ride off of the black stuff.

NOW READ: Ford Ranger Tremor sends proper ‘mini Raptor’ shockwave

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