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2023 Ford Maverick Tremor
Maverick Tremor does well in slop.

2023 Ford Maverick Tremor Tougher Than It Looks

The '23 Ford Maverick is small, but the Tremor package makes it a useful value for those who venture off the beaten path.

Driving the '23 Ford Maverick on road is a pleasant enough experience. But in the Maverick Tremor, taking a turn onto a rutted dirt road, even in muddy or snowy conditions, is done with total confidence.

And so goes the usefulness of this friendly, tough-ish, roomy, comfortable small pickup. Ford sold more than 75,000 Mavericks through October this year. Not bad considering there were Ford executives who privately doubted there was much of a market for the truck.

The Tremor is more than a graphics and tire package. And while some may doubt that a small pickup built on the same platform as the Ford Escape could be deserving of the Tremor moniker, the Maverick Tremor does a lot with its less-than-brawny size.

Maverick Tremor is not a standalone model. It is a package that builds off the FX4 Off-Road package and can be added to either the Lariat or XLT trim. So, before the Tremor-izing begins, it starts with the standard powertrain of the model lineup: a 2.0L 4-cyl. mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. That pairing produces 250 hp and 277 lb.-ft. (376 Nm) of torque.

2023 Maverick Tremor_14.jpg

The Tremor package includes several upgrades to make it better going offroad when it is summoned to do so:  1 in. (25 mm) of higher ground clearance; stronger half-shafts; skid plates; addition of springs to complement the shocks; tow hooks; locking rear differential; and software programming that provides several drive modes to handle mud and ruts and sand.

Despite the small stature of the Maverick, the front cabin is roomy for drivers who could legitimately be mistaken for an NFL offensive lineman. Indeed, it feels roomier and more comfortable than the front cabin of the larger Ranger pickup. Acceleration for passing and merging onto highways is more than adequate.

The adequacy of the Maverick bed — 54 ins. long (1,372 mm) – is up to the owner to decide. With the tailgate down, it is sufficient to tie down dirt bikes or mountain bikes. For fishing and camping gear, the optional tonneau cover would be our choice to protect gear from the elements.

We drove the Maverick off-road onto a rutted dirt area in southeast Michigan and switched on the Mud and Rut mode. And we intentionally drove into some of the muddier areas made so by a recent rain. It’s difficult to say whether the standard AWD Maverick or Escape would have taken it with equal footing and aplomb, but what we can say is that the Tremor did not hesitate or struggle with any of it. We also did not need to engage the locking rear differential, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

We did try the offroad trail control, which is like highway cruise control, but for controlled slow going on a trail that is either heavily rutted or especially compromised with snow or mud. One can easily imagine this package being a great choice for people who regularly journey to fly-fishing holes that require off-road driving or those who have a remote country cabin with a long dirt drive to get there.

A 110V outlet in the bed is handy for tools on a jobsite, or appliances at a campsite.

Sales of the Maverick are more than respectable, especially in comparison with other Ford models. Consider that Ford has sold more Mavericks in 2023 through October than the entire Lincoln brand. Having a legitimate Tremor package not only gives the wee truck a reason for weekend off-roaders to look at it, but also is a bit of a halo for anyone needing a useful, value-priced work truck.

Cons? The Tremor package only allows 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of towing, half of the towing package available on the rest of the line with a tow-package option. That said, 2,000 lbs. is enough capacity to tow two snowmobiles and trailer or a bass boat and trailer. It’s also enough to pull a landscaping trailer and equipment.

Cargo volume is rated at 33.3 cu.-ft. (943L) and the truck is 53.3 ins. (1,354 mm) wide, which shortens to 42.6 ins. (1,082 mm) at the wheel wells. If you want to load the bed with gear, it can hold up to 1,500 lbs. (680 kg).

The Maverick comes with a 4.2 in. (11-cm) instrument cluster screen, 8 in. (20.3-cm) center screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, two 12V power points, and rotary gear shift.

Maverick pricing starts at $23,400. The Lariat edition, top of the line for the regular Maverick, starts at $34,855. The Tremor package is $2,995, so that can drive up the price past $38,000.

Of course, if you buy a Tremor, you want people to know it. The appearance features include blacked-out Ford logos, headlamps and taillamps, orange tow hooks, an updated fender vent and a new grille, as well as the Tremor signature on the tailgate.

TAGS: Vehicles
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