2014 Ford F-150 Tremor Review: A Tale of the Tape – or stickin’ it to ’em

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

Ford’s F-150 Tremor – if you haven’t seen it…and you probably won’t.

North Texas – This, ladies and gentlemen, is Truck Country (make that ‘TRUCK COUNTRY’). And with that, the highways and byways of Texas’ Truck Country are  littered with the pick’em-up truck: Home Depot’s delivery drive looks like a staging area for the Texas Auto Writers, while mall parking lots are liberally ‘malled’ by the F-Series, Silverado and – increasingly – Ram crew cabs. The pickup is the vehicle for all seasons, populating the Texas landscape as far as the eye can see. Unless – and this is noteworthy – you’re scanning the landscape for a Tremor. Ford’s F-150 Tremor is one truck even a seismologist couldn’t find…

2014 F-150 Tremor

Tremor: Regular cab, exceptional performance.

Admittedly, the Tremor’s marketing team isn’t shooting for traditional F-Series volumes. There is – we’re told – one F-Series sold in America every 42 seconds. And based only on the anecdotal evidence supplied by our own search, we’re guessing a Tremor is sold once every 42 years. That said, combining a regular cab/short bed F-Series with Ford’s EcoBoost V6, 6-speed automatic, 20-inch wheels and the FX2 appearance package makes for a compellingly attractive combination…if you like tape-sourced graphics. And while we like ‘em on Ford’s Raptor, where the graphics actually promise less than the 4X4 can deliver, the Tremor’s graphic package – while racy – doesn’t begin to meet the Raptor’s standard. The ‘Tremor’ nametag is pure marketing-speak. On the road it’s as composed as you’d hope a truck might be; there simply isn’t (thankfully) a whole lotta’ shakin’ goin’ on.

Of course, the Tremor’s regular cab recalls a day when all trucks boasted nothin’ but the regular cab. Blessed with a vinyl bench, three could sit semi-comfortably and – before our penchant for Fast Food – it’d fit a family of four in a pinch. If you were taking close friends or distant relation they went in back, and who would argue with that? In lieu of a bench, the Tremor came with semi-reclining, semi-comfortable buckets, flat enough to easily access and – in hard cornering – flat enough to fall out of. Storage space behind them is necessarily limited, and access to that storage is unnecessarily difficult. We’re not sure why the passenger seat can’t have an easy way of sliding fully forward; maybe it does, but we never found it.

Behind the wheel there’s little to disguise the Tremor’s width, but the steering is reasonably direct, braking is confident, and acceleration is pretty much everything you’d want from almost 5,000 pounds of truck. The EcoBoost V6 has been roundly criticized for not delivering the real-world mileage consumers have been led to expect, but we hit the EPA city figure of 16 and could imagine seeing the 22 highway if driven prudently. The kicker? It’s tough to be prudent when behind the wheel of something called ‘Tremor’.

If the regular cab won’t serve as a regular depository of ‘stuff’, the 6.5-foot bed makes a completely credible attempt at being useful. We took a pass on the weekend garage sale, but the spray-in bedliner would have been golden, as would the built-in tailgate step Ford conveniently provides. The short bed also benefited from a bed extender, no small deal when the Road King needs to visit your Harley wrench. As it inevitably will…

In that this is an overpriced Ford (MSRP, with destination, is $42,210!), it comes equipped with Navigation, remote start, rear view camera and a host of convenience items. The audio/ventilation combo is almost intuitive, but that doesn’t change our preference for old-school knobs – especially in an F-Series. Of course, if one took out the $7K of Tremor, Tremor Plus and FX Appearance package you’d be back at $35K. And while that’s a lot for a pickup, the EcoBoost engine, 6-speed auto and well-connected platform would make a pretty compelling argument for biting off sixty easy monthlies.

What gets us is seeing a regular cab/short bed XL on the road, and knowing it could be had for a transaction price of under $25K. The Tremor may deliver more flash and panache, but the difference between $42K and $25K would buy you a nicely equipped Fiesta or late-model Mustang. Upcoming is the aluminum-bodied F-Series. And that, with the EcoBoost V6 and similar suspension tuning, could be ‘Tremendous’. Here’s hoping they drop the tape job, and the old-school marketing hype it speaks to.

Specifications follow…