2020 Ford F-350 Tremor Brings Back Pushrods

Ford has taken the truck game to new heights. No, literally. This F-350 Platinum with the Tremor off-road package and the new 7.3-liter V-8 is 81.3 inches tall. While this measurement isn’t much taller than the competition, it is taller. And it feels taller both when looking at it and when looking out of it. This nearly seven-foot-tall truck towers over all but NBA forwards. If you’re not 70 inches tall yourself, the tailgate has a good shot at knocking out your teeth should you walk into it. This is a factory brodozer, and it’s wonderfully executed.

That height comes from a lifted suspension with 10.8 inches of ground clearance. To that the Tremor package adds skid plates and 35-inch all-terrain tires. The skid plates are almost unnecessary considering how high the Tremor sits off the ground. Ford is nice enough to offer power running boards as a no-cost option. They could make a good profit adding them as an option. If any readers purchase a Tremor without running boards, please bring it to our office so that we can film our staff trying to summit Mount F-350. Our TikTok account could use the help.

HIGHS: Factory-built brodozer, comfortable interior, great new engine, crafty active steering.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Ford fans may be saying, “Seven point what?” right about now. Dubbed Godzilla, this all-new pushrod V-8’s two valves per cylinder and port fuel injection are simple, but the engine is graced with displacement and an old-school pushrod valvetrain. Ford killed off its pushrod engines—the famous Windsor and Cleveland V-8s—in favor of the overhead-cam Modular V-8s in the ’90s. The Super Duty’s base engine is still a SOHC 6.2 V-8 with 385 horsepower, but the pushrod is back at Ford. With its cam tucked away in the block, the 7.3 is compact—it looks downright toylike in the vast engine bay—and powerful with 430 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. Someone should put one in a Mustang.

Godzilla isn’t going to disrupt the diesel’s top position on the Super Duty totem pole, but it does make a strong case for gas power. Paired with the 4.30:1 axles and standard 10-speed automatic transmission, this engine is rated to tow 15,000 pounds off its bumper. Tack on another 5200 pounds if you have a gooseneck hitch. While well short of the massive 37,000-pound maximum a diesel F-450 can lug, the diesel is a $10,495 upcharge. The 7.3 is a relatively reasonable $1705 premium.

LOWS: Not as quick as the GMs, ascending to the cockpit is a CrossFit experience, isn’t aluminum supposed to be lighter?

Michael SimariCar and Driver

The Tremor wasn’t never intended to be a work truck. To get the off-road package and the 7.3 requires spending for the Lariat-trim F-350, which makes the starting point of this truck $61,345. Our Platinum-level test truck came with $78,960 window sticker. We’d say we got sticker shock, but it’s not really possible to see the window sticker if it’s stuck to the glass.

Aside from the climb into the cab, Ford makes this F-350 livable and pleasant to drive. Most trucks with stick axles and recirculating-ball steering require a near constant minding of the steering wheel, a sort of back-and-forth sawing reminiscent of driving in an old movie. In Platinum trim, Ford’s Adaptive Steering is standard, and it works to remove that slop. Historically speaking, Car and Driver has never been a fan of active steering, but an HD pickup with a proclivity to wander in a lane seems like a perfect application.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Unfortunately, the engine works against 7394 pounds of aluminum body and steel frame, which results in a 7.5-second run to 60. General Motors’s HD pickups are about a second quicker to 60. The last Chevrolet Silverado 2500 we tested, which lacks the aluminum body and bed of the F-series, was lighter than the Ford. Which makes the fuss about the aluminum seem like just that, a fuss. But keep the Ford clean, and it won’t look like swiss cheese in 15 years. Fortunately, the 7.3 feels powerful and the acceleration is strong for something this massive.

Even in Platinum trim, the Ford lacks the eye-catching touchscreen of the Ram. As much as we like the new powertrain, the Ford can’t match the quickness of GM’s twins. But, the interior is better looking than the Silverado and Sierra’s, and the new engine is a strong value. We’d venture to guess that the F-350’s pushrod 7.3 with the aluminum body will last a long time. Just make sure the power running boards stay greased.

Specifications

Specifications

2020 Ford F-350 Tremor 7.3 4×4

VEHICLE TYPE

front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

PRICE AS TESTED

$78,960 (base price: $61,345)

ENGINE TYPE

pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement

445 in3, 7298 cm3
Power

430 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque

475 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

TRANSMISSION

10-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension (F/R): live axle/live axle

Brakes (F/R): 14.3-in vented disc/14.3-in vented disc

Tires: Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac, LT285/75R-18 129/126Q M+S

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 159.8 in

Length: 250.0 in

Width: 80.0 in

Height: 81.3 in

Passenger volume: 136 ft3

Curb weight: 7394 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 7.5 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.7 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.9 sec

1/4 mile: 15.7 sec @ 91 mph

Top speed (governor limitedm): 95 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 238 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.71 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 11 mpg

75-mph highway driving: 14 mpg

Highway range: 470 miles

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

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