Class: Large Pickup Truck
Miles Driven: 619
Fuel Used: 50.5 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 12.2 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 25% city, 75% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: NA
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $53,970 (not including $1695 destination charge)
Options on test car: 7.3-liter V8 engine ($1705), all-weather floor mats ($135), Tremor Off-Road Package ($3975), stowable loading ramps ($695), adaptive cruise control ($740), Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($1600), fifth-wheel hitch-prep package ($500), roof clearance lights ($95), adaptive steering ($1000), windshield wiper de-icer ($165), wheel-well liners front and rear ($325), Tough Bed spray-in bedliner ($595), Lariat Ultimate Package ($3495)
Price as tested: $70,690
The great: Outstanding interior space; smooth, strong powertrain
The good: Comfy cabin boasts clever storage solutions; generous level of standard equipment
The not so good: Steep prices; fuel economy; off-road tires increase on-road noise
Hey, Ford, what’s shakin’?
The zinger comeback to that cheeky question would be Tremor, a new off-road equipment package for 2020 F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups. Other things that might rock the big-pickup buyer’s world are the introduction of an available 430-horsepower V8, a new 10-speed automatic transmission, and revised cosmetics inside and out.
All of this turned up in one tidy package that was dropped off on Consumer Guide’s doorstep wrapped in a Velocity Blue F-350 crew cab with 4-wheel drive and midlevel Lariat trim. Base price for an F-350 Lariat 4×4 crew cab is $55,665 with delivery, but Tremor gear, the new 7.3-liter gas V8, and 11 more options ran the bottom line on the test truck to $70,690.
The big pushrod V8 is a $1705 upcharge from the F-350’s standard 6.2-liter V8. It kicks out 430 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 475 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. In our tests it moved a truck that weighs close to 7000 pounds with authority, if not exactly cloisterlike silence. The 10-speed trans works smoothly and efficiently, with alert kickdown to aid merging and passing. However, there’s not much it can do about fuel economy. This driver recorded just 9.05 mpg after driving the truck for 61 miles, in city-type driving 46 percent of the time—always unladen, and always in 2-wheel drive. Change any of those factors and the quaking will be in your gas budget.
What about hauling and towing? As a “short” crew cab (159.8-inch wheelbase, 6.75-foot-long cargo bed) 4×4 with the 7.3 engine, the test truck’s payload rating was 4460 pounds. Its conventional towing limit is 15,000 pounds, with a fifth-wheel/gooseneck-hitch rating of 16,200 or 20,000 pounds, depending on axle ratio. Note that for the most pulling power in an F-350 there’s the extra-cost Power Stroke 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8, newly beefed up to 475 horsepower and 1050 lb-ft.
Either of those optional powerplants is required in order to add the Tremor package to a Super Duty, and it’s available for the XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels. The $3975 option group outfits the truck with 35-inch off-road tires (and matching full-size spare), 18-inch low-gloss black-painted wheels, springs that raise front ride height by two inches, an electronic-locking rear differential, limited-slip diff for the front axle, twin-tube performance shock absorbers, low-profile running boards, skid plates to protect the transfer case and fuel tank, modified front air dam for improved approach angle, water-fording vent tubes for the transfer case and axle, and traction-enhancing Rock Crawl and Trail Control modes. The package rounds out with body-color wheel-lip moldings and Tremor identification on the sides of the cargo bed.
The specialized underpinnings bring on a firm but not terribly brittle ride. There’s some highway noise from the big rubber with its off-road-attuned tread, but about the “worst” thing you’ll experience on paved roads is a steady low-key vibration felt through the steering wheel. The last time we drove an F-350 from this generation it was a long-bed crew cab with a “dually” rear axle, a truck that required great care and forethought for lane changes and other maneuvers. The more, ahem, compact dimensions of our 2020 Tremor made it a little nimbler to handle, but the big power trailering mirrors with parabolic lower portions are indispensable assistants for expressway driving, especially with the driver perched so far up in this high-riding rig.
That tall stance also has an impact on cabin and cargo-bed access. The running boards will be virtually indispensable to passengers for entry and exit. In back, the open tailgate rests 40 inches above flat ground, which complicates loading and makes it a real challenge for a person to climb into the bed. The Lariat Ultimate Package ($3495) that was added to the test truck included a retractable step and handgrip post built into the tailgate. They help, but even then, the step is still 26 inches from the ground.
The other elements that make an F-350 Lariat crew cab what it is are pretty much what they have been since the current Super Duty models bowed for 2017. Legroom, shoulder room, and headroom are exceedingly generous, and large windows offer a commanding view of the surroundings. The cabin sports leather seats and steering-wheel wrap, and some woodgrain highlights. There’s a brushed-metal look to the air-vent bezels, steering-wheel arms, and console trim, but there’s a plasticky feel to them. Seats are long-drive comfortable, and the cushions in the 60/40-split rear bench flip up to clear room for a very large interior storage space. (A panel in the floor can be raised to pop open a long storage bin that can then be hidden under the seat cushions.)
Front-row storage for personal items falls to dual glove boxes, an immense covered console box, and long door pockets. Rear passengers get pouches in the backs of the front seats and door pockets. There are cup holders in the front and back of the center console, and two more pop-out drink holders in the pull-down center armrest.
Standard equipment includes a power sliding rear window, power tailgate lock, tow hooks, trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, satellite radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, remote keyless entry, and convenient Sync3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. Electronic safety minders consist of blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping warning, reverse sensing, and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking. Some of the things included in the considerable options load were loading ramps that stow in the cargo bed, spray-in bed liner, navigation, and heated and ventilated front seats.
Every few years in the life cycle of a vehicle line the manufacturer has to shake things up a little. The Tremor is how Ford is doing it with the big F-350 pickup.
Click below for enlarged images
2020 Ford F-350 Tremor Gallery