Behind the Wheel

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor Review: A beautiful, big, and beefy brute

The 2020 Ford F-250 Tremor is a beast on and off the streets.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

America is a big place. We have big mountains and big monuments and big highways and even bigger open spaces. There's Yosemite, Big Sky, the Grand Canyon and the Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor.

The Tremor package is a new standard for the Ford Super Duty with a $3,975 price tag that adds on with 35-inch off-road tires (the largest fitted to a heavy-duty pickup), skid plates, black aluminum wheels, new suspension hardware and nearly two-inches of lift. There's also a limited slip front differential and a locking diff out back, with a feature called Trail Control that lets you set a low-speed cruise control so all you have to do is steer.

It takes a big, incredibly capable truck and makes it even more incredibly capable. It's Ford's competitor to the GMC Sierra HD AT4 and the Ram Power Wagon, and yes, of course, I tested it extensively by driving it around on the roads and parking lots of Southern California.

The truck is designed to be more off-road capable than a traditional Super Duty truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Yes, it's an off-road beast and it would be equally at home in a rocky desert or a logging trail as it is in the urban jungle, but plenty of Tremor buyers will never go off road with it — but they will enjoy the visual upgrades and will be able to tell their friends about its off-road chops, too.

See, the Super Duty Tremor looks awesome. Those huge chunky tires on the matte black wheels are fantastic. The front grille? That's black too, along with a lot of the trim and the fender extensions and the fixed side-step. It's a murdered out machine.

My test unit also included the $2,045 "Godzilla" 7.3-liter V8 engine, making 430 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. A $10,000 upfit 6.7-liter turbodiesel is available too, which makes a mind-boggling 1,050 pound-feet of torque, which may be necessary if you need to relocate a small town. As is, it can tow well into the tens of thousands of pounds depending on whether you use a conventional hitch or the gooseneck, or several tons worth of payload.

The Super Duty retains its towing ability with the package.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Its do-it-all attitude makes it very competitive within the newly created "heavy duty off-road pickup truck" segment.

I can hear you asking already about fuel economy. What fuel economy? This thing is so big they don't even require fuel economy ratings on it. And on a $73,465 truck, do you really care? No, you do not. It does hold 34 gallons of fuel, however, which means your fill-ups will be under $100 as long as gas stays below $3 per gallon.

What else? It's incredibly difficult to park unless you have a wide open parking lot, though the surround cameras really help. It's the usual Ford Super Duty setup inside, though it doesn't have the latest and greatest infotainment system that the new F-150 has - that will come in a future update. But, it does have a quad-barrel convertible cupholder that turns a storage bin in the center console into an extra two cupholders if you're picking up coffee for the whole worksite.

Visibility is tremendous except for directly in front of the massive front grille, which is large enough to hide a smallish adult so be sure you know what's around because this thing feels a bit like a locomotive when setting off. The ten-speed transmission is invisible, and there's always prodigious power no matter what you're doing when you stab the throttle (at least when you aren't towing).

202 The Ford pickup enjoys increased ground clearance.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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The truck isn't exactly stable on the highway, however. The huge tires and sprongy (yes, I made that word up) suspension means it does tend to drift a bit in your lane. That's all well and good, until your lanes narrow because you're in a construction zone and then you realize — at 75 mph — just how large this truck is. That said, people do get out of the way when they see you coming.

That's the point, right? You buy this truck because either you need to traverse a log-strewn Forest Service road or because you work-hard-play-harder in the mud, or because you want people to look at your truck and think either of those things might be true. Regardless, the Super Duty Tremor gets the job done.

In fact, it gets the job done so well that Ford is bringing the Tremor package to both the smaller trucks in the lineup, the F-150 and the Ranger. Those won't have quite the gravitas of the big boy Super Duty, but expect them to perform well just the same.

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The Nissan GT-R probably isn't the first supercar that comes to mind, but it's worthy of consideration if you're not all about being seen.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

You put the pedal down. A confident growl busts out the back end. The wheels may squeal, and you might too. It's not all about the power, though it has plenty. The 2021 Nissan GT-R delivers the type of drive experience that you're never going to get from an electric vehicle - and it's magnificent.

Godzilla has been in production since 2007 with nips and tucks and add-ons here and there along the way. It's not as sleek or stylish as the Audi E-Tron GT or even Audi's R8. There's no giant wing out back à la McLaren and certainly nothing Italian about it. The GT-R is it's own man.

Even areas of the country that are supercar-heavy, aren't heavy with GT-Rs. A Ferrari or Lamborghini is a bigger status symbol for adoring eyes. It's the real drivers out there who know that a GT-R is perhaps the better investment for someone who wants a supercar to drive, not just to be seen in. Its unique looks are subtle but properly athletic.

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium The car is capable as a daily driver but it can also push the limits during a track day.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

The reason for that starts but doesn't end with Nissan's 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. It rests below the hood, not behind your ears, and delivers 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque creating a visceral acceleration experience. It's enough to satisfy you, bring a smile to your face, impress those around you, and make you realize that Godzilla really is a beast.

The six-speed dual-clutch transmission in the GT-R Premium ($113,540 base price) manages the power nicely and shifts relatively smoothly - it's no Ford 10-speed automatic and that's okay. If you want a GT-R with a manual transmission, you'll have to upgrade to the NISMO model. Don't "save the manuals" me. So few people are buying them that they're becoming extinct despite your bumper sticker saying and hashtag. Most supercars don't have them. Nissan is just simply following an industry trend and the DCT is perfectly fine for drivers not spending the majority of their time on a track.

All wheel drive is standard on the model, meaning that the GT-R sticks to the road as you put it through its paces. That also means that you don't need to head home every time there's rainfall or snow in the forecast, and you can take corners a little faster than the local constabulary may prefer.

The car has athletic looks despite not conforming to the typical supercar design language.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

Proper engineering has made the GT-R a great daily driver. It's fun to push it around the twisties on a winding road in the country during a long weekend, but it's also not a bad car to commute or run errands in (it has a real trunk!). Like any good supercar, the GT-R goes right where you want, when you want it, whether you're doing slow speed maneuvering around a neighborhood or putting the throttle down on the highway. The speed-sensitive steering calibration is spot-on.

Parts of the interior are dated, especially when compared to other vehicles in its price point. But none of those parts are enough to make the GT-R even the least bit undesirable. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and the ride isn't too harsh. Analog dials are a nice break for the eyes.

But the real reason you're in the GT-R isn't because of the the amenities. It's because you love to drive. Because you're confident enough to go with Godzilla rather than a flashy Italian or German. Because you understand that the car nicknamed after a fictional monster, and its gasoline-powered ilk, are in danger of going extinct as carbon neutral priorities seem keen on removing the type of visceral fun that internal combustion engines provide.

The car has analog dials in front of the driver.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If we're going to have to make concessions to make the air and water cleaner, it would be nice if, on the other end of the spectrum, the powers that be let us keep having the muscle of the GT-R.

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The 2021 Honda Accord Sport is a budget-friendly model with a lot of pep.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Critics and buyers have loved the Honda Accord for a few decades now. Though it's frequently compared to the Toyota Camry, there's some models in its class that are giving the Accord a run for its money - the Mazda Mazda6, Subaru Legacy, Kia K5, and the Hyundai Sonata just to name a few.

Where the Accord wins versus the competition isn't on price or features, styling or appointments, tech or drivetrain. It wins because it's a whole package, especially as tested in the 2021 Accord Sport variety.

For the new model year, Honda has focused on updating the fascia and improving the tech in the Accord. They're all good gains.

2021 Honda Accord Sport The car's wheels help elevate the sporty profile of the car.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

For the 2021 model year, Honda sells the Accord in six trim levels: LX, Sport 1.5T, Sport Special Edition (SE), EX-L, Sport 2.0T, and Touring. Honda leant the Sport 2.0T, which has an upgraded powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and produces 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It's available in Accord Sport 2.0T and Touring grades. The 2.0-liter is far more fun to drive than the base 1.5-liter four-pot.

Honda has done a good job differentiating the Accord from the Acura lineup, making its drive dynamics not nearly as athletic as the TLX's but still engaging, while allowing for pointed steering and easy maneuverability. Acceleration won't knock anyone's socks off, but that's not a reason to ignore the Accord. The Accord Sport has paddle shifters, which work better for mountain driving situations than they do for deriving true sport functionality, as you would get with a manual transmission.

Honda has also upgraded the braking system for 2021, designing it to engage more smoothly, especially at low speeds. The result is measured performance that is neither grabby nor soft.

Honda upholsters the Accord Sport with cloth seats but nice finishes elsewhere. While a lot of attention is given to leather upholstery, there's actually nothing wrong with the cloth seats. The ones in the Accord Sport are not only attractive but don't draw the heat of the sun or cold of the clouds and snow into them like leather does.

2021 Honda Accord Sport The interior of the Accord Sport is well appointed.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Buyers can spec their Accord Sport with a number of options, including appearance and weather protection packages. But, with the 2.0-liter powertrain, it already comes loaded with most of the desirable features buyers want including an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, eight-speaker audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a leather shift knob, rear spoiler, sport pedals, chrome exhaust finishers, fog lights, moonroof, heated front seats, remote keyless entry and engine start, and a wireless device charger.

The Honda Accord Sport starts at $27,430. Upgrading the engine adds $4,530 to that price tag, but also gets you the moonroof, heated seats, power-adjustable driver's seat, remote functionality, and device charger. That brings the MSRP of the Sport 2.0T to near $32,000. Knock a few bucks off in dealership negotiations and you're sitting quite pretty for under $30,000.

In the Sport trim level, the Accord is just as nice as Mazdas, nicer than the K5, and on-par with the Sonata. The Mazda is equally as engaging to drive but its infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired.

2021 Honda Accord Sport Honda's steering wheel makes operation of radio, cruise control, and driver assist features easy.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

2021 Honda Accord Sport

Subaru offers all-wheel drive standard on the Legacy, something the Accord does not. But, it's not as powerful nor is its infotainment system as nicely designed. The Sonata also isn't as powerful and the sporty Sonata N Line grade takes track-readiness a step too far, ruining ride quality. The K5 might end up being the Accord's closest competitor with plenty of power, but the interior is more parts bin than is optimal.

But what about the Camry? The Toyota, now with available all-wheel drive, does offer a lot to its customer base, but it's aging quickly, especially the interior. Other models offer just as good dependability and for a lower price. They're also more fun to drive.

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