Looking at the line-up of the current Ford Ranger models you’ve got a version for almost every genre. From the basic but brilliant XL to the mad and menacing Ranger Raptor. 

What has been missing is a sensible, off-road enthusiast’s version. Something for the adventurous, something with purpose, but also poise. 

Ford has finally delivered on that with the Tremor. It’s a purposeful pick-up, powered by the 2.0-litre twin turbo but it has an ace up its sleeve – or rather under its wheel arches. That’s because, like its sister model the Wildtrak X, the Tremor gets Bilstein dampers as standard, which promise to upgrade the off-roading potential of the truck.

Before you start to think this is a Raptor without the price tag, it’s important to note that it’s based on the XL trim. That means it gets the smaller touchscreen and none of the fancy leather bits. That doesn’t mean it’s in any way an entry-level model, this is still premium pick-up, but the money is going towards the underpinnings.

The bespoke Bilstein dampers are designed to give the truck more bite when it comes to off-roading, while the Tremor pack is a more no-frills approach in comparison to the Wildtrak X, which is the luxury option.

As a basic, but badass pick-up, it gets the entry-level engine but still with 205hp. It also gets the 10-speed automatic that is dominating the Ranger line-up. Together they not only make it a great combination for effortless off-roading but also an economical on-road combo too.

While much of the Tremor suggests its off-road prowess, it is still the same great truck to drive on the roads. Drive back-to-back between the standard Ranger with coil front suspension and leaf-sprung rear and Tremor with its Bilstein dampers and you’ll notice very little difference in the on-road manners. It feels marginally more planted at the rear and there’s slightly less rebound at the front when you thump in and out of a massive pothole, but apart from that it’s the same comfortable, sure-footed ride we’ve come to expect from
the Ranger.

Off-road it’s a slightly different story. It’s noticeable that the suspension is different but it’s hard to say that it’s dramatically better. This is a suspension set-up designed for the extremes. It’s for the final 10% of terrain. The stuff that in an ordinary Ranger you might think twice about, or that might be so bone rattlingly uncomfortable you decide to do it at a crawl. The new dampers turn the dial up to 11 and allow you to tackle off-road tracks with a confidence the standard Ranger can’t. It’s in that final 10th you notice more of the finesse the Bilsteins give the setup. You get more steering feedback, you get to feel what is going on beneath you. If in the regular Ranger you’re hitting the limits of the suspension with a crash, with the Tremor’s suspension you’re not. If extreme gravel tracks, horrendously rutted paths or even deeply furrowed fields are where you need to cross then maybe that extra performance is what you need. For most other Ranger owners, their wheels don’t get all that muddy, so that additional performance benefit is irrelevant.

It’s not just about the suspension, though. There’s also an aesthetic appeal to the Tremor. It’s available with the conquer grey paint, previously reserved for the first-generation Ranger Raptor. There’s also matte black details like the roll hoop in the loadspace. As you’d expect with a full-blooded off-roader there’s also additional underbody protection.

It’s not overflowing with goodies, but it’s certainly not lacking. The 10-inch touchscreen does everything you’d expect of it – namely smartphone mirroring for CarPlay – and you’ve got the exact same interior as every other Ranger just without the leather of a Wildtrak or the wood dash finish of a Platinum. Most importantly, it’s still a proper commercial vehicle with a one-tonne payload which means you can reclaim the VAT – unlike with the Raptor. It doesn’t come with a Raptor price-tag either. Prices start from £34,550 ex-VAT which is about £5,000 less than the equivalent Ranger Wildtrak. For that money you get a proper working truck with adventure suspension. What’s not to like about that?

Ford Ranger Tremor 2.0-litre EcoBlue 10-Speed auto

Price (ex VAT) £34,550 

Price range (ex VAT) (tested) £34,550

Insurance group tba

Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls 

Service intervals 2yrs/12,500mls 

Load length 1,564mm 

Load width (min/max) 1,224mm

Load bay height 511mm

Gross payload 1,035kg

Load volume n/a

Engine size/power 1,998cc/203hp

Combined fuel economy 27.2mpg

CO2 273g/km