Should You Take the 2021 Ford F-150 Off Road?

All 2021 Ford F-150s have the ground clearance and 4WD necessary for off-roading, but the Tremor and Raptor are built for getting off the beaten path.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
When equipped with four-wheel drive (4WD), any 2021 Ford F-150 is good to go off-road, but if you’re looking to blaze your own trail, you’ll want to pick up the Tremor or the Raptor—the F-150’s off-road-oriented trail boss trims just begging to get dirty. 
Choosing the right vehicle for your next off-road adventure is about more than just good tires and 4WD. To make sure you have all the information you need before you hit the trail,
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, has also built the perfect guide to the 2021 Ford F-150’s off-road specs.
From ground clearance to torque and tires to drivetrain, we’ve included all the off-roading specs you need—and even a few alternatives to consider if the F-150 isn’t for you.

Can the 2021 Ford F-150 go off-road?

Yes, especially the Tremor and
editions. There’s a reason the Ford F-150 has dominated U.S. vehicle sales for decades—actually, there are a lot of reasons, but not least among them is the truck's impressive ability to get you there, no matter where there is.
Base XLs start for as little as $38,695, and the top-of-the-line Limited won’t go for less than $72,870. But to get the upgraded powertrains and suspensions needed for a serious off-road experience, you’ll need either the Tremor, which starts at $51,200, or the Raptor, which starts at $65,840.
That said, there are several factors that make the 2021 Ford F-150 a great option for getting off the road, so let’s take a closer look at the specs.

Ground clearance

Ground clearance, also called ride height, plays a big part in both off-road capability and on-road handling, so it’s a good thing the 2021 Ford F-150 has plenty of it. Simply put, ground clearance is the amount of space between the ground and the bottom of your car’s undercarriage. Too little, and you can’t get over rough terrain and obstacles—too much, and your vehicle will handle like it’s on stilts on the highway.
F-150 models offer ground clearances from 8.5 inches on the XL to 9.4 inches on the Tremor and 12.0 inches on the Raptor. The bare minimum for maximum off-roading capability is 8.5 inches, so any F-150 can competently leave the track. Still, real off-road aficionados prefer 8.8 to 10.8 inches of clearance, making the Tremor and Raptor your best options.


Ground clearance may give you the height you need to get over obstacles and uneven terrain, but torque—especially low-end torque—is what gives you the power to get up, over, or through whatever’s in front of you. We usually associate torque with towing, but it’s just as important when tackling tall obstacles or steep terrain.
F-Series trucks are known for their best-in-class towing capabilities, so they’ve all got a good deal of grunt. Base models start with at least 265 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm, which is more than respectable, but the turbocharged V6s—especially the Raptor-specific 450-hp 3.5L turbocharged V6—develop 510 lb-ft of torque at a mere 3500 rpm


Torque won’t matter if your truck’s tires don’t have the tread to hang onto the terrain. Of course, you can outfit any model F-150 with whatever tires you want, but their original equipment can tell you a lot about what the manufacturer expects the vehicle to be doing after it leaves the line.
XLs and XLTs get Goodyear Wrangler Fortitude HT all-season tires—great for long tread life, but not so great for grip. Lariats, King Ranches, and Platinums give buyers the option of all-season or
all-terrain tires
, so you can make your truck into what you need it to be. The luxe Limited gets snazzy Pirelli street/sport Scorpion Zero Asimmetricos—perfect for on-road performance.
Now for the good stuff—the F-150 Tremor comes factory-equipped with 18-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch General Grabber all-terrain tires. Raptors are outfitted with 17-inch wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain T/A K02 tires, but upgrading to the Raptor 37 Performance Package gets you 37-inch Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear All-Terrain Adventurers. We bet you can guess what the Blue Oval expects you to be doing with these two trucks.
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Off-roading requires at least all-wheel-drive, but there’s a reason why people call serious trail tackling 4-wheeling. 4WD is designed specifically for off-road and extreme scenarios in which you’re more concerned with continuing forward, up, or over than maneuverability. All 2021 Ford F-150 models have available 4WD, but both the Tremor and Raptor feature it as standard equipment, and two-wheel-drive isn’t even an option on the Raptor.


Last but not least, let’s talk geometry. All the specs we’ve mentioned so far are important when you’re headed off the asphalt, but without good angles, you won’t get very far:
  • Approach angle refers to the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference. 
  • Departure angle is the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference.
Like ground clearance, you want your angles to be on the high side for serious off-road antics. The 2021 Ford F-150 offers varying angles of approach and departure across its many models:
Approach angle
Departure angle
F-150 XL and Limited
21.8 degrees
22.9 degrees
F-150 Lariat
21.2 degrees
23.9 degrees
F-150 XLT and King Ranch
24.3 degrees
25.3 degrees
F-150 Platinum
24.0 degrees
26.3 degrees
F-150 Tremor
27.6 degrees
24.3 degrees
F-150 Raptor
31.0 degrees
23.9 degrees
Staying true to form, the Tremor and Raptor offer the best geometry for off-roading, but when outfitted with 4WD and all-terrain tires, any 2021 Ford F-150 is ready to take on the trails.

Off-road rating: Trail Boss

Let’s see how the 2021 Ford F-150 rates on
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The 2021 Ford F-150 earns a T rating. Especially in its Tremor and Raptor configurations, the Ford F-150 is an excellent option for your next off-road adventure. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2021 Ford F-150

There’s a lot to love about the 2021 Ford F-150 when it comes to off-road capabilities, but if you’re still shopping around, or you just want to weigh your options, here are some alternatives you might consider:
Best alternative for daily driving
It may be dedicated to off-roading, but the comfortable and surprisingly-quiet cabin makes it a great option for everyday use.
Best affordable alternative
All the excitement of the F-150 Tremor for $20,000 less. You’ll sacrifice a bit of size, but the Ranger’s off-road chops are no less impressive than the F-150s.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
The master of the slow-speed crawl, the Colorado ZR2 easily navigates tricky terrain, like steep inclines and even rocks.
MORE: Cheap off-road trucks
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Serious off-roading brings serious opportunities for vehicle damage, which is why you may find yourself paying more for car insurance on a trail-ready truck or SUV. But don’t worry—a few minutes with
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