Skip to main content

We tried out Ford’s new offroading tech in the F-150 Tremor, and we have thoughts

You can use cruise control offroad now

The Ford F-150 Tremor offroad
Ford

The 2024 Ford F-150 Tremor comes packed with features, including unique front and rear springs and shocks, special Tremor control arms, and an optional new front bumper. Under the hood, there’s a choice between Ford’s EcoBoost 3.5 Liter V6 and its 5 liter V8 — with the V8 offering more horsepower and the V6 producing more torque thanks to its accompanying electric motor. There are also a few special features that may make a difference should you take the truck on a trail.

Those features include new ways to turn, an option to drive without touching a pedal (or sticking to just one) and a pretty much industry-standard array of assistance tools that rely on the vehicle’s various cameras and sensors. To try it all out, Ford took me on a short offroading expedition on California’s Burns Canyon Trail. It wasn’t a particularly challenging route, but did allow the company to showcase many of the truck’s best features.  Here’s what I found.

Trail Turn Assist and Trail Control are the standout features

Ford F-150 Tremor offroad with dust
Ford

Of the new features Ford is offering in its 2024 F-150s, Trail Turn Assist and Trail Control with one-pedal driving are the two that stand out the most from an offroading perspective.

Trail Turn Assist

Trail Turn Assist is a pretty simple concept. If you turn the steering wheel sharply and give it some gas, then the system will lock the rear wheel closest to the direction you’re trying to turn in. This essentially makes the truck almost pivot around that wheel and allows drivers to get around corners that would normally require a lot of difficult maneuvering on often challenging ground. Trail Turn Assist needs to be enabled before you use it, and you should really turn it off once you’re done with it.

In terms of potential, Trail Turn Assist has lots of it. It’s a system with a little learning curve, and in hindsight, I’d liked to have spent a bit more time with it, but there are obvious practical applications. The issue I had centered on activating it; I couldn’t work out exactly when that back wheel was going to lock and how much the truck was going to spin around as a result. It’s the sort of thing I’m sure comes with a bit of practice, and once you get a feel for the system then it’s going to be a valuable tool to have in your offroading arsenal. Just make sure you get to grips with it somewhere sensible and aren’t trying it out for the first time on a hairpin near a cliff edge.

Trail Control

Trail Control is essentially Cruise Control: Offroad Edition. You set your speed and the vehicle handles everything but steering input. So, your truck will climb and descend slopes at the steady pace you’ve selected. If you don’t want to go full cruise control, there’s also a related one-pedal option. So give it some gas, and you go forward; lift off the accelerator a little, and it will brake for you.

As with one-pedal driving on the street, and on the track, the Trail Control system may be a bit of an acquired taste. It’s something I’m personally not fond of using, but I’m certain plenty of people will try it, love it, and go on to swear by it. The cruise control function is similar. Giving up total control of the vehicle on a technical section seems a bit odd to me, but I can see it being handy if there’s a long and uncomplicated stretch you have to plod to before getting to the next technical bit. It’s there if you want it.

Ford’s best offroading feature has been around for a while

Ford F-150 tremor descending a slope shot from behind
Ford

Despite the new tech, Ford’s best offroading feature isn’t anything particularly new. The cameras dotted around the vehicle, particularly the one at the front, make navigating challenging areas of terrain fairly simple — even if you lack a spotter. There’s even an option to use the kind of “top-down” camera that may have helped you work your way into a parking spot. It turns out this feature, along with the 360-degree parking sensors the Tremor is equipped with, is equally useful when you’re navigating between boulders. “Offroad Mode” makes various adjustments that should prime the vehicle for an offroad environment and also pulls the front camera up on Ford’s easy-to-use 12-in. display. This is another example of how standard tech is very relevant in non-standard situations.

With that being said, everyone offroads differently, and you may find other bits of tech more useful. For example, if you get particularly good with Trail Turn Assist, then you’re probably going to be able to go to places you’d have struggled to reach otherwise. And that’s what tech should do. It should either open up new possibilities, eliminate something tedious, or just paper over the cracks in our skill levels. The Ford Tremor is also a solid choice if you’re going out on the trail. It didn’t struggle at any point, and it’s designed to take a metaphorical punch.

Editors' Recommendations

Dave McQuilling
Dave has spent pretty much his entire career as a journalist; this has included jobs at newspapers, TV stations, on the…
2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R has a whopping 720 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque
Ford F-150 Raptor R is basically a Lamborghini that can haul mulch
2024 Ford F-150 R airborne as it comes up a desert sand hill.

If you like desert racing trucks that go airborne at will, the 2024 Ford F-150 Raptor R will make you smile. The newest Raptor R puts out 20 more horsepower than last year's model from the desert stomper's 5.2-liter supercharged V8. The 2024 Raptor R's 720 horses also outnumber its most direct competitor, the RAM 1500 TRX, which pulls 702hp from a supercharged HEMI 6.2-liter V8.

Ford's first generation F-150 Raptor, from 2010 to 2014, used standard 5.4-liter or optional 6.2-liter V8s. After a two-year break, Ford launched the second generation F-150 Raptor 2017 with a turbocharged V6 engine. The 2024 Raptor's 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 cranks 450hp and 510 lb.-ft of torque.

Read more
Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, Tesla Model Y: These are the most popular cars in every state
Which vehicle has the broadest appeal?
2019 Chevrolet Silverado

When it comes to the popularity of cars and trucks in America, television ads would have us believe that somehow, in some way, every car and truck seems to be the best at this or offer the most of that in its class. Advertising, however, always has a way of being not-so-subtly subjective. But the objective truth lies in pure numbers and bottom-line results. Edmunds did the dirty work for all of us and collected retail registrations across the country, much in the same way we covered the most valuable colors for used cars some time ago.

Rental sales and government purchases were not included in this auto census, so the results are proof of what cars and trucks were the most popular in the hearts and wallets of the U.S. public for 2022. The following is a list of the most popular cars and trucks in every state (and territory) in the United States. Read on to see what your state drives the most...

Read more
F1 is already selling ‘deposits’ for the 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix – and we have one big question
Reserve your spot at the 2024 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix for $250
F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix grandstands Nate Swanner / DTMG

Before the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix starts, F1 will sell “deposits” for the 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Read more