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Auto review: Tremor carries Ford Maverick pickup to higher ground

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

HOLLY OAKS, Michigan — The base hybrid-electric Ford Maverick is one of the best bargains on the auto shelf. For just $23,670, you get pickup utility, SUV-like headroom, rad steely wheels, cool interior, digital screens and 42 mpg in town. How can you beat those specs?

Well, let’s start with 250 horsepower and all-wheel drive.

BWAAAAAHHHHH! I stomped the gas of the rugged Maverick Tremor and it slung dirt across Holly Oaks ORV Park’s 175 acres. Whump! Armed with a steel bash plate, the front chin bounced off a mogul and kept on truckin’.

That’s right, the popular Maverick trucklet has a Tremor model for 2023 just like big brothers Ford F-150 and Ranger. Call it Maverick’s Top Gun — at least until they release a Raptor model (please?). It’s as compelling as the base model (the 2021 Detroit News Vehicle of the Year).

Where base Mav offers pickup utility with the gas mileage of a Prius, Tremor expands the truck’s playground with a growly, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-banger mated to all-wheel drive that is not available in the standard trim.

You’ll know it by its orange tattoos.


There are orange grille highlights, tow hooks and wheel cutouts. This isn’t your average Maverick. For an extra $2,995, Tremor comes armed with some serious hardware in addition to its upgraded drivetrain. There are all-terrain tires, front bash plate, upgraded shocks and twin rear clutch packs. Holly Oaks is a convenient metro detour to play with Maverick’s new weapons. This place is a treat.

Boy, how I wish I could just roll up to Waterford Hills Raceway off U.S. 24, hand over $30 and take hot laps in, say, the affordable Toyota GR sports car. That’s the opportunity Holly Oaks offers to anyone — not just those with purpose-built dirt chewers or $70,000 Bronco Raptors. Holly Oaks may be public, but like private M1 Concourse-like car clubs, it’s a community of enthusiasts. You can walk up to anyone to tell tales — or get pulled out of the swamp that just swallowed your 4-wheeler.

I picked up my favorite Uncle Joe’s chicken in Southfield and hoofed it 40 minutes up I-75 on a crisp December weekend. I attached an off-road flag, bought my $30 ticket and had a sprawling sandbox at my disposal. But first, lunch.

From Badger Head (one of Holly’s highest spots), I enjoyed my chicken and Texas toast while watching Jeeps, 4x4s and motorbikes crawl like ants over the trails below. I took in the nifty Tremor interior — this is no generic, plastic truck cabin.


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