Words: Mike Ryan
Photos: Ford Media
While Aussies have embraced the Ford Ranger, our American cousins have been less enthusiastic about it. That’s because the F-150 is still king in the USA. It didn’t help that the Ranger was discontinued for eight years, either. But the Ranger is back (reintroduced for the 2019 model year) and its following on the other side of the Pacific is growing. That was evidenced with the presentation of a customised Ranger dual cab at ‘Ford Auto Nights’ last November.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the annual SEMA auto aftermarket industry show to go virtual, Ford was one of many to adapt, presenting a ‘Ford Auto Nights’ online event.
Held over 19-20 November, the two-day broadcast included customer and celebrity superfan stories, interactive “vehicle immersion” sessions and more, but Ford didn’t forget to produce some actual tangible vehicles, including custom versions of the F-150 and Bronco, as well as the Ranger.
“From upfitters to outfitters, and from hot rodders to outdoor adventurers, our first-ever Ford Auto Nights SEMA Show Special keeps the customization and innovation going virtually,” said Kim Cape, director of Ford global brand and integrated marketing.
For Day One of the show, the customised F-150, Bronco and Ranger vehicles were unveiled in the “ultimate Ford garage,” while Day Two took a deeper dive into each build’s features and technical details, supported by Q & As with Ford designers, engineers and drivers (look for the video series on YouTube).
As you might expect, the Bronco and F-150 stole the show; the former because it’s new and the latter because it’s an American icon. Ford found some room for the Ranger, though, presenting a modified version of the ‘Tremor’ dual cab.
In the North American market, the Tremor is an off-road upgrade package, first offered on the F-Series Super Duty and F-150 before being added to the Ranger for 2021.
With lifted suspension and all-terrain tyres (with chassis tuning to suit), as well as special alloy wheels, side steps and identifying graphics, it’s more or less the same as the Ranger FX4 MAX available here.
Specifically, the Ranger Tremor features a 20mm suspension lift, FOX 2.0 shocks, retuned front coil springs and rear leaf springs to offer more suspension travel, a more flexible rear anti-roll bar, 17-inch alloys with 32-inch tyres and an electronic rear diff locker. Obviously, the suspension lift increases ground clearance, thus improving approach and departure angle, too.
To add durability to capability off-road, the Tremor includes front and underbody skid plates, as well as rear tow hooks. Traction control is recalibrated and there are four driving modes.
The Tremor also gets the same side steps and six-switch auxiliary power bank as the FX4 MAX, but while the FX4 MAX runs the Raptor’s 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, the Tremor uses the 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine with the Raptor’s 10-speed auto transmission.
Cosmetic touches include a specially finished grille and identifying graphics. And while every photo of the Tremor features the lairy black and red graphics, these are optional.
Ranger Tremor XLT Concept
Based on the Ranger XLT Super Crew (ie. dual cab), the Tremor concept isn’t really a concept as such; it’s more a showcase of how the Ranger can be personalised with products from the Ford Accessories and Ford Performance Parts catalogues.
Ford’s ‘Vehicle Personalization’ team who put the Tremor concept together say the collection of accessories complement the vehicle’s capability and “enable adventure seekers to not only get to the most remote trailheads, but also carry a mountain bike, kayak and all the gear needed.”
Starting with changes under the skin, there’s a Ford Performance by Borla Sport cat-back exhaust and a locking rear diff with a Ford Performance cover.
Other bolt-on parts include two Ford Performance by Rigid auxiliary light kits; one mounted off the bonnet hinges and the other in the front bumper’s integral foglamp mounts.
An ARB Safari snorkel adds an Aussie touch, with other ARB gear including a portable air compressor kit and a fridge/freezer in the tub with compatible slide, tie-down and wiring kits. The fridge/freezer’s mounted on a Bedslide full-width sliding drawer.
Above this, there’s a Yakima OverHaul heavy duty rack and accessory side bars, to which a Yakima SlimShady awning, FrontLoader bike mount and JayLow kayak mount have been added.
There’s also a Warn standard-duty off-road recovery kit in the cabin.
The Tremor presented at Ford Auto Nights is pretty mild compared to past concept and accessorised versions of the Ranger, but as the North American market for the mid-size pickup grows, expect Ford to produce more one-offs like this in the future.