Off-Roading

Ford's new Tremor Package proves ready to play at the off-road playground

Ford's truck engineering team has taken the Super Duty to the next level.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Before test driving the 2020 Ford F-350, I climbed to the rim of the Custom Landscape Materials Big Horn Quarry near Wickenburg, Arizona to whet my appetite for what lay ahead. With the excitement of a child arriving at an amusement park and assessing the rides, I eyeballed the off-road playground with its snaking track that started with a climb over a stretch of jagged rocks that led to steep uphill and downhill grades; over patches of deep, gooey mud; through water crossings; and across off-camber sidehills at sharp angles. I was enthralled.

The track was designed by Ford Trucks engineer Bobby Keith to show off the prowess of the 2020 Ford Super Duty when equipped with its new Tremor Off-Road Package. The 1.1-mile-long test track is the most extreme course Keith has ever built.

2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor Journalists put the Ford Super Duty to the test on an trying off-road course.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

What is the Ford Super Duty Tremor Off-Road Package?

The Tremor Off-Road Package is a collection of off-road hardware, as well as unique tuning for the truck's steering and a smaller sway bar to provide greater maneuverability in tight turns and over uneven terrain. Elevating the truck are beefy Goodyear tires mounted on a set of unique 18-inch matte-finished black wheels, plus an extra two inches of lift giving the pickup a best-in-class 10.8 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford nearly three feet of water. Aiding with the best approach and departure angles of any Super Duty ever is a 5-inch shorter air dam that provides impressive 31.65-degree and 24.51-degree angles, respectively.

Also unique to the package is rock-crawl mode; an upgraded suspension with different spring rates; off-road running boards for damage control; and skid plates from the FX4. Tremor uses a locking rear differential that engages with electronic shift-on-the-fly, and a new Dana limited-slip front differential. Trail Control, a crawl program that debuted on the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ranger operates like a cruise control for uphills and rough terrain.

The Tremor package ($3,975) can be ordered can be ordered on XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims for F-250 and F-350 models, powered by the all-new 7.3-liter gas V8 or the updated third-generation diesel engine. It can be specified for 4x4 single-rear-wheel SuperCrew trucks with a 6.75-foot box. Available as a factory-ordered or dealer-installed package is a $3,000 Warn winch add-on with synthetic line (rather than steel cable) that is integrated into the front bumper; it meets crash standards and is operated by a wireless remote.

Of note, towing and payload are similar to non-Tremor models that command best-in-class ratings.

2020 For DSuper Duty Tremor The already-capable truck is able to tackle tough terrain with ease.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

How does it stack up against the competition?

The Super Duty with the Tremor Off-Road Package takes Ford's FX4 models to a new level. Rock-crawl mode and Trail Control get traction to the ground and provide plenty of grunt (models equipped with a 7.3-liter gas engine have a 53:1 crawl ratio while trucks with the 6.7-liter diesel power plant have a 44:1 crawl ratio).

It gets high marks for its serious off-road cred and goes beyond similar offerings from Ram and GM. Ram's Power Wagon is available on 2500 models only. While the Power Wagon has many appealing attributes, such as a disconnecting sway bar and locking differentials for both the front and rear, Tremor's set-up works laudably. The Super Duty Tremor's smaller 24 mm sway bar and other engineering upgrades were effective for twist and articulation and gave a smooth, mannered ride with progressive-rate springs for duty on rugged terrain, as well as for heavy-duty towing performance.

General Motors' AT4 grade is available on Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 2500, and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500. It adds some similar attributes but the Tremor pulls ahead with greater towing capacity, payload capacity, ground clearance, and water-fording depth than the Ram and GM trucks.

The GMC, Ram, and Ford trucks have the best-appointed interiors of the lot. All have new camera technologies, with GM's 15-camera view being the best pick for towing tasks.

2020 Ford Super Duty Ford built the Tremor Off-Road Package to take on trails with ease.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

How did it do?

There's no doubting that the Tremor Off-Road Package is capable of doing exactly what it was designed for. In combination with the prowess of the F-350, as tested the Super Duty took on 33-inches of water fording with ease, smoothly held its own on a 15-degree off-camber hill, walked over 45-degree angled logs, and scooted up a 29-degree hill climb without hesitation. The Ford's camera system helped with low-sitting obstacles and peeking over hills, as advertised.

Ford Trucks engineers have made the package able to conquer some of the toughest terrain you're likely to find when you're on the farm, up a back road, or simply off the beaten path. The model isn't a Jeep competitor and it's not meant to be. This heavy-duty truck is able to get work and play done, son.

The automaker is using new 3D printing technology to create face shields.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has announced that it has reached an agreement to partner with 3M and GE Healthcare to aid in the production of medical equipment needed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, colloquially known as coronavirus. Additionally, Ford will leverage its in-house 3D printing ability to produce 100,000 face shields per week. The move has the full support of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

"This is such a critical time for America and the world. It is a time for action and cooperation. By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis," said Bill Ford, Ford's executive chairman. "At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company."

Ford 3M GE Healthcare The automaker is leveraging its manufacturing facilities to help with the crisis.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, 3M partner on respirators

Ford and 3M will increase the manufacturing capacity of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company's powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) utilizing a new design that could be procured in a Ford facility in Michigan by UAW workers.

According to Ford, the teams have been locating "off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150's cooled seats for airflow, 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours."

"Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment," said Jim Hackett, Ford's president and CEO. "We've been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs. We are focusing our efforts to help increase the supply of respirators, face shields and ventilators that can help assist health care workers, first responders, critical workers as well as those who have been infected by the virus."

"We're exploring all available opportunities to further expand 3M's capacity and get healthcare supplies as quickly as possible to where they're needed most – which includes partnering with other great companies like Ford," said Mike Roman, 3M chairman of the board and chief executive officer. "It's crucial that we mobilize all resources to protect lives and defeat this disease, and I'm incredibly grateful to Ford and their employees for this partnership."

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's team is already at work on perfecting techniques.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford, GE Healthcare team up to produce ventilators

In addition to the 3M partnership, Ford and GE Healthcare are working together to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare's existing ventilator. These ventilators could be produced at a Ford manufacturing site in addition to a GE location.

"We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19," said GE Healthcare President & CEO Kieran Murphy. "We are proud to bring our clinical and technical expertise to this collaboration with Ford, working together to serve unprecedented demand for this life-saving technology and urgently support customers as they meet patient needs."

Work on this initiative ties to a request for help from U.S. government officials.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has come up with a design for a filtration system.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

3D printing respirators and face shields

Ford's design team is working to create and test transparent full-face shield for medical workers and first responders. The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

The first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week at Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospitals. Roughly 75,000 of these shields are expected to be finished this week and more than 100,000 face shields per week will be produced at Ford subsidiary Troy Design and Manufacturing's facilities in Plymouth, Mich.

Ford 3M GE Healthcare Ford's engineering team has shown off a sketch of a disposable hood design.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

According to a release, Ford is leveraging its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford, Michigan, and in-house 3D printing capabilities to manufacture disposable respirators, which are needed to help filter the air healthcare workers and first responders breathe. Once approved by the proper health agency, Ford will initially start at a pace equal to 1,000 per month but that production can grow quickly.

BroncoSportForum.com has posted what appears to be leaked information about the forthcoming Bronco Sport.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There's good reason to believe that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to the grades, packages, paint jobs, features, and powertrain options of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. On Thursday, BroncoSportForum.com had a user post images from Ford's dealer ordering portal.

The information below is what the images show. AutomotiveMap has not been able to independently verify the information.

There are five trim levels

The portal lists the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport model in Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition trim levels. Ford recently trademarked the Big Bed, Badlands, and Out Banks names in correlation with the name Bronco.

Ford frequently sells First Edition models. It's likely the Bronco Sport First Edition is a limited run of the first models that are slated to come off the line. Frequently these models feature special badging, a unique paint color, "First Edition" logos on the interior on floor mats and headrests.

All models are 4x4s.

That's not a surprise. The so-called Baby Bronco is expected to be similar in nature to a Jeep Renegade, which is quite capable in its own right. It rides on the same platform as and is manufactured in the same facility as the Ford Escape, which comes standard with front-wheel drive and is available with all-wheel drive.

The Bronco Sport will have a 105.1-inch wheelbase.

That's not the same as the Ford Escape. Despite the fact that they share a platform, the Escape has a wheelbase that's about 1.5 inches longer.

It will come in the buyer's choice of 10 paint jobs.

The colors listed in the leaked photos show Shadow Black, Rapid Red Metallic TC, Oxford White, Kodiak Brown, Iconic Silver, Cyber Orange Metallic TC, Carbonized Gray, Cactus Gray, Area 51, and Alto Blue Metallic TC.

Here are the other vehicles the paints are available on:

  • Shadow Black - Mustang Mach-E
  • Rapid Red Metallic TC - Explorer and Escape for a $395 surcharge
  • Oxford White - F-150 and Ranger
  • Iconic Silver - Mustang Mach-E, F-150, Transit, Ranger, Edge, Super Duty, Fiesta, and Mustang
  • Cyber Orange Metallic TC
  • Carbonized Gray - Mustang Mach-E

Some of the colors have been leaked previously in relation to the Bronco when AutomotiveTouchUp.com listed 2021 Ford Bronco paint touch up colors.

There are two roof colors.

Buyers can only choose from a black or gray roof. There is no indication that the model will be available with a body color roof.

The Badlands Package adds a touch of class.

If you won't want to opt for the full Badlands model, which is likely to be the top-tier model, buyers can opt for the Badlands Package. The images show that the package includes:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Automatic dimming rearview mirror
  • Body-color door handles
  • Heated front passenger seat
  • and two other components coded as "F6-A-L-SVT MINI PERF TWOTONE" and "FRONT 4-WAY HD RESTNT ST 1"

There's other stand alone package options.

The long list of addition options includes:

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • MyFord technology/6 speakers/SiriusXM
  • Power six-way passenger seat
  • Remote start
  • Reverse sensing system
  • Roof conversion - low opening (likely a removable roof; low opening may refer to a lesser amount of headroom, a common feature of sunroofs)
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Wireless charging
  • Cargo mat
  • Cargo management system
  • Engine block heater
  • Front license plate bracket

The Bronco Sport can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

A Class II Trailer Tow Package is listed as available. Class II hitches are rated to carry up to 3,500 pounds of gross trailer weight. This is the same capacity as the 2020 Ford Escape.

One size wheel and two types of tires are available.

Ford lists the tires as 225/65R17 A/T and 235/65R17 A/T. The 225/65R17 tires are the standard tires on the 2020 Ford Escape S, SE, and SE Sport. The others come on the Limited and XLT grades.

The form shows that the Bronco Sport rides on 17-inch wheels.

There are two engine choices.

It looks like the Bronco Sport will come standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is also available. Both engines are likely paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Automatic start-stop engine tech is standard.

This may be the most disappointing Bronco Sport news. However, it's not unexpected.

Cloth seats are standard. Leather-trimmed seats are available.

It looks like the cloth seats will be available in the Active Orange or Area 51 colors while there are also Ebony leather-trimmed seats. The good news is that these likely aren't the only options, just the options shown with the particular paint color the Ford spy chose.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is likely going on sale later this year.