2020 Ford F-350 Tremor Platinum Crew Cab 4×4
7.3-liter V8 (430hp @ 5500 rpm, 475 lb/ft @ 4000 rpm)
Ten-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
14.1 (observed mileage, MPG)
Base Price: $69,440 US / $82,759 CAN
As Tested: $78,960 US / $94,424 CAN
Iâ€™d like to think the term wouldnâ€™t need an explanation at this point, but for the sake of those just tuning in from parts of the country where vegan eateries outnumber personal automobiles, Iâ€™d like to offer a definition. A â€œbrodozerâ€� is a pejorative reference to a full-sized pickup truck, modified typically by the owner (either with traditional wrenches or the good old VISA wrench) with larger wheels and more ground clearance â€“ among other mods.
Generally, one never sees a brodozer using that additional ground clearance for anything other than clearing curbs, but itâ€™s nice to know that the ability to negotiate deeply rutted backwoods trails is there. The other advantage to the ground clearance is the gatekeeping function â€“ old people without significant flexibility will struggle to ascend into the cab â€“ making the brodozer the exclusive province of the young.
All brands of full-size trucks have been built into brodozers, but in my experience, the Blue Oval dominates the breed. Naturally, Dearborn has responded â€“ first, with the F-150-based Raptor, and now with this 2020 Ford F-350 Tremor. Itâ€™s lifted, itâ€™s huge, and itâ€™s packing plenty of power. Itâ€™s a brodozer with a monthly payment.
The power here is the big deal â€“ my tester is powered by the new 7.3-liter pushrod V8, nicknamed Godzilla. Fans of a certain all-wheel-drive Japanese performance car from the early Nineties (raises hand) might object to the name, but thereâ€™s no denying the brilliance of this engine. The power is plentiful â€“ itâ€™s enough to make one completely forget about the more expensive diesel engine. Certainly, those who log tens of thousands of miles per year while towing might see significant fuel economy savings with an oil burner, but for everyone else, Godzilla makes more sense.
Letâ€™s look at the numbers â€“ the base engine is the 6.2-liter overhead cam V8. This pushrod 7.3-liter V8 adds $1,705 to the bottom line of an F-350. Selecting the 6.7-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel is $10,495 over the base engine â€“ thatâ€™s $8,790 over the price of the Godzilla V8. Yes, the newest diesel does more than double the torque figure â€“ 1,050 lb-ft compared to 475 lb-ft from the big gasser â€“ so those hauling serious loads frequently will remain on Team Diesel. But the Godzilla is a good compromise at a reasonable price.
The Tremor package is exactly that â€“ a package, not a trim level like the Raptor trim on the F150. Itâ€™s an off-road-focused package that adds capability to the already stout Super Duty trucks. The Tremor package consists of a lifted front suspension, 35-inch tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, a trail control drive package, and selectable drive modes â€“ even a rock-crawling mode. It doesnâ€™t, however, include a package that narrows the track width at a push of a button â€“ when I took the family in search of dirt over the weekend, I noped out of some paths that would have been passable in more modestly-sized rigs. If youâ€™re looking to go rock crawling every weekend, this is not your truck. However, if you need to haul a ton of stuff through the week and take the family well off the beaten path on a weekend camping trip, the F-350 Tremor package could be a good choice.
As my tester was a Platinum trim, itâ€™s a great place to spend hours upon hours at the wheel. The leather interior is comfortable, with plenty of room for my family of four and all of the assorted electronics that the kids need to keep themselves ignorant of their parents for a few hours of driving. The eight-inch touchscreen for SYNC3 works well, though itâ€™s not as quick to respond (nor as nice to look at) as some competitors. And itâ€™s a climb to get inside â€“ even with the no-charge optional power running boards, thereâ€™s a good stretch to get in the saddle.
Driving any one-ton pickup is a far cry from driving a midsized crossover, certainly. The steering is much more numb than in a smaller vehicle, with a fair bit of slop. However, the adaptive steering certainly helps keep you centered in the lane. The power from the honking V8 is plentiful, allowing you to leap from a stoplight ahead of the poky SUV driver who wonâ€™t get out of their own way. And once youâ€™ve spent a few miles behind the wheel, the size seems to shrink a bit.
Donâ€™t, however, try and parallel park downtown. Get used to parking a bit farther away from the door at the supermarket. And be very aware of parking garages â€“ the F-350 measures in at 81.3 inches high.
This truck may not be for you. Itâ€™s not right for me and my lifestyle by any means. But if you have both the means and the need for a vehicle that can drag seven-and-a-half tons of whatever, while retaining the off-road chops to get you well from the beaten path, the 2020 Ford F-350 Tremor is a great choice.
[Images: Â© 2020 Chris Tonn]