Ford dealers may need to build earthquake-proof showrooms soon.
The 2023 Ford Maverick Tremor is the last of the brand’s pickups to get the geologically named off-road option, completing the lineup.
The compact pickup joins the F-Series Super Duty, Ranger and F-150 with the Tremor upgrade, which is aimed at improving its ability to pound ground.
The Tremor isn’t a standalone Maverick model, but a package that can be added to the trucklet’s XLT or Lariat trim.
It includes unique 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires and an , fully independent suspension that together increase its ground clearance an inch to 9.4 inches. It’s only offered with the Maverick’s 250 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, not the entry-level 37 mpg hybrid powertrain, but matches it with a special all-wheel-drive system borrowed from the Bronco Sport Badlands.
The Maverick and Bronco Sport share a basic platform, and the front-wheel-drive-biased system can be locked in all-wheel drive and has a locking rear differential for maximum traction on slippery surfaces. When the rear differential is left open, it uses a twin-clutch unit to distribute torque from side to side as needed for grip or control.
The Maverick Tremor also gets Ford’s Trail Control low-speed cruise control for use off pavement and has a traction management system with settings for a variety of surfaces, including mud, sand and snow.
Prices start at $31,665 for the XLT I tested, which features unique Tremor cloth upholstery, and $35,165 for the Lariat, which has synthetic ActiveX leatherette and unlocks available features like satellite radio and adaptive cruise control. Both trims come standard with automatic emergency brakes and a reverse camera.
The rear seat bottom has a waterproof storage compartment underneath it, and the 4.5-inch "FlexBed" has two pre-wired 12-volt 20 amp plugs near the tailgate for installing power accessories.
The Maverick Tremor does have the bones of a budget truck, and the engine is a little buzzy under acceleration, but quiets down while you’re cruising in the top gears of its eight-speed automatic transmission. The increased ride height and other changes result in a drop in combined fuel economy from 24 mpg for other all-wheel-drive Mavericks to 21 mpg.
The engine is plenty strong, though, and the Maverick Tremor is rated to tow 2,000 pounds, but it can’t be equipped with the 4,000-pound towing package you can get on other all-wheel-drive trims.
It’s still not a serious rock-crawler, but the modifications and redesigned bumpers do noticeably improve its dirt road capability, and the new suspension means you can spend more time on them without worrying about it breaking much.
As with many of these new rugged packages showing up on trucks and SUVs these days, it also makes for a better ride on pavement, which is often rough these days, right? It feels more like a crossover than a truck on the street, which is exactly what it is, and prevents tremors rather than causing them. At least on the inside.
2023 Ford Maverick XLT Tremor
Base price: $31,665
As tested: $32,490
Type: 5-passenger, 4-door, all-wheel-drive pickup
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Power: 250 hp, 277 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
MPG: 20 city/24 hwy