NewsArts & Culture / August 21, 2020

2020 Ford F-350 Tremor, Chevy Trail Boss Offer Alternatives For Extreme Capability

2020 Ford F-350 Tremor, Chevy Trail Boss Offer Alternatives For Extreme Capability

2020 Ford's Super Duty F-350 Causes A Tremor

Almost nobody needs a Super Duty pickup that’s capable of towing a small yacht or taming the roughest terrain, but it sure is comforting to know you have that capability.  A truck like that is especially tempting when it’s dressed up for a night on the town while kicking out its boots as if it really just wants to be home on the range.  Almost nobody needs a truck like the Ford F-350 Tremor, but a whole party of people are sure going to want it.

I mean, look at it.  That is one big bruiser, all jacked up for off-roading on its black 18-inch wheels shod in off-road tread.  It looks radiant in Velocity Blue paint and Tremor logos, too.  The front is familiar with Ford’s big chrome grille, and the Crew Cab gives it visual length, but the off-road package really adds saunter wherever it roams.  Flip down the tailgate and pull out the embedded steps to leap into the bed, which is fortified with spray-in liner, LED lighting, and deployable ramps for lofting motorbikes or wheelbarrows.

Climb down and step inside.  The Tremor is the next thing to a full luxury truck stoked with heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and thumping B&O audio system.  Three can ride in the back with legs outstretched.  Bluetooth, 4G Wi-Fi, and 110v household outlet ease device connections while navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a power steering column add convenience.  An intuitive touchscreen makes everything easy.

But, there’s more tech to lighten hard work and enhance safety.  An in-dash brake controller and trailer backing assistant maneuver trailers like a pro.  Given its luxury leanings, the Tremor fits the bill with a full suite of safety gear:  Adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with auto braking, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection.  Cameras show every angle – quite helpful when trying to dock this vessel.

The Tremor has the soul of a muscle car, but its 7.3-liter V8 is there to working, not sprint down backroads.  The big engine delivers 430 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque through a 10-speed automatic transmission.  Link it all with four-wheel-drive.  At least until the 34-gallon tank evaporates, the truck can pull 15,000 pounds (20,000 pounds with a gooseneck).  Fuel economy is N/A for heavy duty pickups, but the Tremor surrendered its tank at an alarming rate. 

You don’t have to drive very far to realize this truck is not designed to haul a load of mulch.  It has solid axles front and rear, beefy brakes, and off-road shocks to absorb anything you can throw in its path.  And, if things in your path reach up or throw back, skid plates repel them.  Just understand this is a serious truck with serious capabilities.  It’s not one for commuting back and forth through tight city traffic or to pick up groceries.  But, I think you probably already knew that.

I don’t need this truck, but I sure like it.  All dressed up in the Tremor package and fortified for trail and toil, it’s ready to bound over hill and dale when not working hard.  So, what does all of this heavy duty coolness cost?  The Ford F-350 starts at $35,550 stripped down, but came to a hefty $70,120 as tested.  Competitors include the Ram 3500, Chevy Silverado 3500, and GMC Sierra 3500.

 

2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss Is A Lighter All-Terrain Alternative

There’s no doubt the Ford F-350 Tremor is one extremely capable and stylish worker bee, but not everybody needs a “one-ton” pickup to get to impress the neighbors on the way to their favorite fishing spot.  If you’re looking for all of the Tremor’s coolness in a more livable package, the 2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss should make you happy.

It looks the part of a warrior with its big black grille, 18-inch black alloy wheels, off-road tires, black window trim, and dual exhaust outlets.  Body color air blades on the front aid aerodynamics while connecting the Silverado to sportier Chevys like the Camaro.  I was no fan of this truck’s design when it debuted a couple of years ago.  Elegant, it is not.  But, there’s a toughness in the big façade, sculpted fenders, and chiseled hood that I’ve come to appreciate.  The longer cab looks good and provides ample rear passenger space. 

Designers deleted step bars because they tend to bang on rocks and logs off-road, but they would certainly make for an easier climb inside.  Once there, critics might say Chevrolet didn’t do enough to update the interior during the most recent redesign, but others will point out it works pretty well.  The infotainment touchscreen plus auxiliary climate and audio controls are housed in a center cluster that looks like a Star Wars mask.  It’s all easy to use, though.  Proper volume and tuning knobs add convenience.

Tally the luxuries.  Heated seats, automatic climate control, and navigation are appreciated – as are the crisp Bose audio, thick leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a dance floor’s legroom in the back.  My daughter was enamored with the power sliding rear window.  Despite all of the amenities, the truck still has the feeling it can be easily cleansed after a hard day at play…or to keep viruses from taking up residence.

Let’s keep moving.  There’s an optional 6.2-liter V8 for the Trail Boss, but ours came with the smaller 5.3-liter V8 that delivers 355 horsepower, 383 lb.-ft. of torque, and 16/21-MPG city/highway.  Fuel economy is optimized by the smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and auto stop/start that pauses the engine while at rest.  I don’t love stop/start, but it can be defeated with a switch on the console.

Underneath, monotube shocks, skid plates, locking rear differential, and push-button four-wheel-drive are part of the real deal.  All of that gear may seem like overkill for the daily commute, but the thick off-road tires and shocks do a great job of soaking up potholes and rough pavement.  You can drive it with near reckless abandon and know it is up to the challenge.

It’s reassuring to know you’re driving a vehicle that can do almost anything.  From its enhanced all-terrain capability to its roomy bed, powerful engine, and comfortable interior, the Silverado Trail Boss is prepared for the worst while looking its best.  Silverados start at $28,300, but our big boy came to $55,040.  Compare it against the Ram Rebel, GMC Sierra AT4, and Ford F-150 Raptor.

 

Storm Forward!

Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

 

2020 Ford F-350 Tremor

  • 5 passengers, 4WD Pickup
  • Powertrain: 7.3-L V8, 10-spd auto trans
  • Output: 430 hp/475 lb.-ft. 
  • Suspension f/r: Solid axles
  • Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc                  
  • Must-have features: Luxury, Towing
  • Fuel economy: Chug-a-lug, baby!
  • Assembly: Louisville, KY
  • Base price/As-tested: $35,550/70,120

 

2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss

  • 5 passengers, 4WD Pickup
  • Powertrain: 5.3-L V8, 10-spd auto trans
  • Output: 355 hp/383 lb.-ft. 
  • Suspension f/r: Ind/Solid axle
  • Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc                  
  • Must-have features: Style, Capability
  • Fuel economy: 16/21-MPG city/hwy
  • Assembly: Fort Wayne, IN
  • Base price/As-tested: $28,300/55,040
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