By on December 3, 2010


With Dodge decidedly losing the torque-war in the heavy duty pickup truck segment, it’s up to Ford and GM to battle out the pickup truck war of the decade. In this corner we have the 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty Diesel sporting the lightly retuned 6.7L turbo engine that is currently king of the pickup truck hill at 800ft-lbs. For 2011, Ford decided to drop the problematic 6.4L Navistar diesel engine in favor of an all-new, all-Ford 6.7L twin turbo V8 cranking out 400HP and an incredible 800lb-ft of torque. Connected to the ground via Ford’s 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission, the amazing feat of engineering is not that the engine can make this much twist, but that the transmission can take it.

From the surface the F-250 strikes a very bold presence. This truck is seriously large. I parked next to two older Fords during a jaunt to Lowes and ye olde F-250 and F350 look like Tonka trucks in comparison. Matching the curb presence of the Superduty is the super-duper price tag. Starting at $28,020, our tester tipped the scales at $54,605. And diesel lovers will need to have especially deep pockets to see the King, depending on option packages the diesel is at least a $7,835 option. As Mel Brooks said: “it’s good to be the king.”

When you step inside the F-250, you realize that while Ford is spending big bucks improving the quality and feel of their passenger car interiors, relatively little is being spent on work vehicle interiors. Sure the interior of the F-250 looks butch, but for a vehicle that can easily cost more than any Lincoln it’s a pity that the F-250, even in decked-out King Ranch trim, still sports the same hard and nasty plastics on the inside as a Chrysler. That being said, there is a reality that a work truck needs to be capable of being ridden hard and put away wet, so perhaps an interior “Made Like Rubbermaid” finally does have a place. In all honest truth the Ford interior is just as good as the Dodge 2500, but somehow I expected more. King Ranch buyers beware; your edition doesn’t get any better dashboard components. While function over form may be good for most aspects of the interior, the steering wheel scores low marks with my personal scale. All the right functions are available on the steering wheel, but the controls surfaces are angled awkwardly making their use uncomfortable in the long term. In comparison, the GMC 2500HD has a very carlike interior, cheesy-fake-wood and all. While I appreciate the car-like styling, it both clashes with the work theme of a truck for me and yields no positive tactile feedback.

Before we delve into cargo hauling we should explore what exactly truck numbers and models mean these days. Once upon a time a truck shopper had really three options: half-ton, three-quarter-ton, or a one-ton pickup truck (F-150/F-250/F-350 in Ford nomenclature). The name refers to the payload capacity of the truck, and of course in our automotive world progress has meant that shortly after the names were coined, payload capacities started increasing every year. You can now expect a half-ton pickup to be rated to safely carry three-quarters of a ton or more in this century. Ford’s own three-quarter-ton F-250 when properly spec’d out will haul over two tons (4,080lbs), the F-350 with a single rear axle will haul over two tons (4,700lbs). If duallies are your thing, the F-350 will bring home some serious bacon with a whopping three-and-a-half tons (7,070lbs) of cargo hauling capacity. Counter-intuitively, the F-450 delivers a modest two-and-a-half ton (5,200lbs) cargo capacity as it is tuned primarily for towing.

Class leading payload and towing numbers are great, but the little known detail about these ratings is that it all depends greatly on what options you tick when you’re in the showroom ogling your future cowboy Cadillac. Our tester F-250 sported a much lower cargo capacity of 2,006lbs according to the door label due primarily to the 4WD option, short bed, crew cab and large shiny chrome wheels. Buyers keep in mind that the tire selection often has more to do with your cargo capacity than other options so if you need to haul some crap, you’d be best served with the small boring wheels and lots of rubber. Of course as with most drivers I didn’t look at the door label until we’d overloaded the F-250 with 3,360lbs of concrete. Oops.

Out on the road, the F-250 is a confident vehicle. While adjectives like sporty will never be applied to any large pickup, the F-250 was surprisingly agile on the road, loaded or not. Unladen, the F-250 and F-350 exhibit more jounce on uneven road surfaces than the GMC 2500HD, but with some weight in the bed the truck feels more “planted” than the GM.

As our test truck was equipped with a factory Class IV receiver with integrated trailer brake controller and both 4-pin and 7-pin trailer plugs, we decided a home improvement run was in order. Our hauling test included the F-250, 2,880lbs of concrete and a mixer in the bed, a 1,680lb trailer loaded with 3,360lbs of concrete and 2,100lbs of cinder blocks plus yours truly behind the wheel. This all adds up to 16,758 which is as close as we could get to the rated 20,000lb GCWR of the F-250. For a vehicle combo that weighed in at over 8 tons, the F-250 accelerated briskly with not so much as a harsh shift to accompany the linear thrust. Ford cites the extremely low 3.96:1 first gear as the reason take-offs with a heavy trailer are so effortless, after a week in GM’s 2500HD I am inclined to believe Ford (the GM Allison’s first gear is 3.1:1 in comparison). While I would hesitate to call the F-250 fast (our tester ran to 60 in 9.0 seconds), adding a few tons in the bed does little to dampen the feeling of the vehicle. Turbo lag is almost absent, unusual for a large diesel V8 which makes the Ford diesel feel faster than the GM despite the GM 2500HD running to 60 slightly faster.

Owners that frequently haul large loads will appreciate the amount of control Ford allows over the new 6 speed automatic transmission. In addition to the requisite “full-manual” control you can also limit the gear range, or just cause the dash-display to show your current gear, a feature I found particularly handy. It’s these small features that make the Ford F-250 a great work companion, the integrated step in the tailgate, auxiliary switches in the dash for your electrical equipment, and a wide variety of Ford warranted accessories to choose from. As this is essentially a new transmission for Ford, reliability is an unknown especially with the stump-pulling torque the Scorpion V8 can dish out.

During our week with the F-250 we averaged 18.2MPG, slightly higher than our week with a similarly configured Ram 2500 and GMC 2500HD under similar conditions. The downside to the Ford diesel’s mileage numbers is that the Ford is the only three-quarter-ton truck that uses urea injection to reduce NOx emissions adding an extra layer of expensive and complexity to the picture. That being said, when the job is finished, it’s hard to go wrong with the F-250. The combination of class-leading power, excellent payload numbers and the often-lauded Ford SYNC system, the F-250 is a great truck to drive to work every day, whether that’s in the city or on a construction site.

Readers who are following TTAC on Facebook were given the opportunity to ask reader questions of the F-250. If you would like to ask questions of car reviews in progress, or just follow TTAC, checkout our facebook page. FB fans, here are your answers: David B: The transmission is a willing dance partner. Soren L: Fairly long. Richard S: Urea consumption is hard to figure, I am told that you should estimate an additional 2% on-top of diesel to compensate for the urea. Jake T: better; you run over the baddies. Tony J: Nope, this diesel is totally smoke-free and the exhaust doesn’t even really smell “diesel.”

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of diesel for this review.


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62 Comments on “Review: 2011 Ford F-250 Diesel...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is urea injection what it sounds like? The only thing I think of when I hear urea doesn’t sound like anything that should be combined with vehicles unless you’re “watering the tires.”

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Concentrated and purified, but yes, it is exactly what it sounds like…

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Forgive my ignorance, but how does putting urea reduce NOx emissions? I’m not a big chemistry person so I have no clue about the process.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      I don’t know the specific chemistry either, but my understanding is that it provides the “bad chemical” molecules something to combine with, producing a “benign chemical” output.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Back when I worked in the UK for a trucking firm, some of our drivers would run out of the urea solution whilst out on long hauls. To stop the truck computer from bleeping as it warned you that the Urea solution was low, our mechanics suggestion was to ‘Pee in the urea tank’. Needless to say this led to some funny looks, especially as some of our drivers were female.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Now I’m imagining a female driver who would have difficulty situating herself so she could do that walking up to a random guy on the street and asking, “Could you please pee in my truck?” Kinda gross, but funny nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar
      EEGeek

      I had to look the reaction up:
       
      4NO + 2(NH2)2CO + O2 → 4N2 + 4H2O + 2CO2
       
      NOx + urea + oxygen converts to nitrogen, water, and CO2.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Anyone who thinks they can just take a whiz into the DEF tank to refill it is sorely mistaken. Urea/DEF has a pH level of 9 and is slightly alkaline. Urine on the other hand is acidic with a pH level of 6.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Just to try and connect this story with one a bit further down on the page, shouldn’t trucks of this size be fitted with back-up-cameras in the front grille? You can easily hide a compact in front of one of these things without the driver noticing, not to mention, with 800ft-lbs, he wouldn’t notice it even after driving off either…

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      I once got fed up with an unmoving (for months) full sized van in my “hard to find a space after 5 pm” neighborhood. Put the front bumper of the F350 on its back bumper (they matched up perfectly) and let out the clutch. It sat unmoving for another month and a half after that, but at least it wasn’t taking up two spaces any more.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      Shouldda pushed it in front of a fire hydrant and anonymously called the cops :)
       
      (Seriously, no, not really.)

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I really struggle on the Super Duties.
     
    I am a big fan of the regular old V8 F-150.  I find its interior more than adequate, it does what it needs to do, and it holds together.  Its just a truck that is pleasant to use, comfy to ride in, and nearly makes you forget your in a truck.
     
    The Super Duties on the other hand still look nearly identical to the 2004 F350 my boss had.  The door cuts look the same.  The door handles, etc.  The interior on the new ones looks “uprgraded” in that it isn’t as bland as the old one.  I haven’t sat in a new Super, but in photos, it looks more gaudy and tacky.  maybe it feels a little nicer, I don’t know.  But I know I just don’t like it.
     
    Its really funny, because I’m nearly certain if I needed a regular V8 truck, I’d head straight to the Ford dealer for a F150.  But if I’m going Super Duty, I’m pretty sure I’d struggle to get the Ford.  The Chevy and GMC are a bit bland, but they are for the most part classy on the outside, very pleasant on the inside, and the Duramax doesn’t make you wonder like the Ford diesel.  I honestly think I’d go GM on a heavy duty.  Dodge…seems nice, never driven the new one.  Hated the old Ram 1500s.  They look nice.  But I also have trust problems with Dodge, so there ya go.
     
    Just still can’t figure out why I like the F150 so much and almost detest the Super Duties….

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      I agree completely.
      I had a 2000 F-350 SD, with a very nice interior. When it came time to replace it a couple years ago, I planned on just getting a 2009 F-250, since I was so happy with my 2000. But when I saw the interior I high-tailed it away from the Ford dealership, and straight to the Chevy dealership.
      I ended up with a Chevy 2500HD. The interior reminds me of my old Ford. Understated and functional.
      Whichever designer they let loose on the Superduty ruined it.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The interior shot above isn’t from a $50,000+ truck, it looks like a midrange XLT model, the King Ranch trucks and Lariats are much nicer.
       
      Interior preferences certainly vary person to person.  The Super Duty interior design is chunkier and more rugged looking than the GM HD truck interiors, but both can be had in very high quality trim at the upper level.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinx

      I don’t detest the F250, but it is just too big for me.  The F-150 super-crew is about the right size but it doesn’t come with the diesel option.  If Ford put a turbodiesel in the 150, I would consider one.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I worked for a company that had a fleet of primarily Ford vehicles a year ago. Talking to the mechanic who maintained them, it seemed like each new generation of Ford medium duty diesels brought new catastrophic failures and built in flaws. Rather than developing the engines while they were in production to resolve the issues ruining their reputation, Ford just brought out new designs with new problems, claiming their new engine was  the way forward once there was no way anyone would buy another 7.3 or 6.0 or 6.4. Now they say they’ve got the expertise that their diesel engine partner lacked? That begs some questions by itself. I will say that I don’t recall any transmission problems for the Ford trucks, which was a contrast to the Panthers.

  • avatar
    That guy

    FYI:  The Duramax also uses DEF (do you guys NOT read each others’ work?)

    That said, if the PSD holds up over time, then this is the HD truck to get if you want to really do some hard work.  The chassis and suspension is much more durable than that in a GM HD or Ram HD. The Cummins is still the durability leader, but it is thoroughly outclassed by the power of the new Ford and GM engines. Plus the Dodges seem to like to chew up ball joints. THe GM trucks are great tow vehicles. The Duramax is strong and proven, but the front suspension (especially 4X4s) is a ticking time bomb and the drop belly frame makes it useless in the farm fields or on a rough construction site.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Options *double* the base price of the truck? Does anyone else find this ridiculous?

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      Have you never bought a truck before?  This can be said of every full size except for maybe the Titan (it’s the only one w/o a stripper model).

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      I’ve bought two trucks in this class. A 2000 F-350SD that stickered for $44,000. I paid $36K. Then a 2008 Chevy 2500HD which stickered for $42,000 and for which I paid ~$32,000. There’s a *lot* of room to negotiate on these prices. I imagine this $54K truck could be had for $40K if you’re patient.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Great photos of Ford’s understated front grille.

  • avatar

    That first photo certainly captured the spirit of the vehicle. well done.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    :[==]:

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Options *double* the base price of the truck? Does anyone else find this ridiculous?
    this is where they really plow in the dough. U wanna play u got to pay.
    In Canada a loaded dsl truck can run u upwards of 80 Gs.
    But what do i know?
    Used to live up northern BC, everybody and his cousins do own a 4X4 of some sort.
    If u really needed a work truck Rubber Maid will be your only choice, as your frequent work place wont be cut pile 30 oz shaggy carpets.
    The Toyotas were above rubies if u work in the wood works literally and come home once every few wks, it will run unless u totally forgotten about gas & fluids.
    One guy work in the bush had a Dodge dsl 4×4( i am pretty sure a dodge ) , he had to change it back to gas engine, as gas is lighter so it can take the pounding punishment.
    When u’re out in  middle of no where u need a truck thats is totally reliable or could find u there next Spring went he snow thaws out.
    Ford’s diesel reliability was nothing to write home about, they had issues after issues, always claim they had it all in the bag, is not a good thing once u burned the customers they ‘ll never come back.

    Dodge may not be in the HP race but the Cummins was not a slow poke either, with the emission nowadays they’re forced to add frivolous things either to make it run with less power or suck more gas.

    I hope this Urea thing is not a proprietary thing u can only buy ounces at a time from the Ford nazis. And only they have the know how to install it on your behalf.
    Mercs was like that the light will lite up on the dash to warn u that u have a few more tanks to go before come back to the stealership and be a good little boy Kow tow to the service guy explain eloquently as what u have been doing during the extended absence.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      DEF/Urea is a standardized product and is available at most truck stops in bulk or bottles. It’s really no big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The DEF tank should hold enough for between 4,000 and 10,000 miles depending on driving/operating conditions.  Ford recommends use of Motorcraft brand DEF, which is much more affordable than the Mercedes stuff, but really any DEF should work.  A refill should cost somewhere between $30 – $80 depending on where you have it done.

  • avatar
    red60r

    “… F-250 is a confidant vehicle. While adjectives like …”
    Speaking of adjectives, that one needs a patch.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    I like the comparisons with the GM and Dodge trucks in this review.  Any plans to do reviews of the other two, or have you done those already and I missed them?
     
    Does the Ford diesel also have the soot trap in the exhaust that catches any soot and later burns it?  Dodge had that on the 6.7L diesel and I heard it was problematic, at least when it first came out.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Yes, all modern diesels now have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) or “soot trap”, and in the hi-temp regenerate mode (wherein extra fuel is injected to raise the filter temp to burn off the soot) some interesting things can happen – there are videos online of the earlier Ford diesels shooting flames out the tailpipe while parked and idling.

  • avatar
    Kelster

    Didn’t you review this last week? It’s still ugly, it’s still a dumb Ford and it’s still not as good a worker as the Silverado.

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      Let me guess, you think the Silverado is the “bestest looking truck ever”.  Too bad it has Pep Boys brand louvers tacked on the hood and an exposed drop belly frame that make it look cheap.  Then there’s the overblown fender flares made to make it look like it’s capable off road, even though it is the worst off pavement truck on the market.  The whole thing is a mess. 

  • avatar
    jimbowski

    Just remember, the Cummins engine is only a straight 6, doesn’t use UREA in the exhaust, and has a factory exhaust brake.

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      I’d still prefer a Cummins diesel over the offerings of Ford and GM despite the “lack” of power, it’s just too bad the “rest of the truck” is made by Dodge.  I previously owned a Dodge truck, complete junk.
       
      If Ford was smart, they’d offer a Ford truck with a Cummins diesel and an Allison transmission.  People would be lined up around the block to buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulieWalnut

      The Cummins makes less power and gets worse milage.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Is everyone drinking early today, or did punctuation and proper spelling leave the room?

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    At work, I drive a Freightliner, with a 6.7L Cummins mated to an Allison automatic. Let me tell you, it is absolute and utter crap. In the fleet of about 40 trucks, at least 5 are always being repaired, despite the fact they’re only 3 years old and all have less than 50,000 miles on them. Common problems include the transmission generating an ‘unknown error’ code, and then stops working, the engine constantly losing power, the regen system fails to work, or is on continuously (and a couple trucks have caught fire because of it.) Plus, every couple months, a transmission decides to grenade into several pieces. And these are the common problems. And the mechanics can’t figure out why these problems occur – they just replace something, and hope it works, even Cummins and Allison can’t figure it out.
     
    So, if anyone ever offers me a truck with a Cummins and an Allison, I’ll just as soon use a horse and buggy.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    Ugh, that cartoonish interior complete with the “Super Dooty” logo emblazoned across the airbag door in 1″ high letters is the absolute epitome of hideous. I’m not sure what year Dodge you’re comparing it to, but the new Ram has a pretty nice interior on everything other than perhaps the base strippo model – soft touch I/P top, soft touch on the door trim panels and just a generally pleasant appearance/layout make the Ram interior a much nicer place to spend time than this abomination.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s gotta hurt how this “abomination” absolutely slaughters the Ram in sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Ram has essentially always been in 3rd place. While I’m sure they’d love to sell more, they’re probably making a tidy profit on each one and that’s nothing to be “hurt” over.

      What’s really gotta hurt is investing a ton of money in a platform and a powertrain and not gaining enough traction to make a dent in the market at all…I’m looking at you Toyota and Nissan. Granted they don’t make a 3/4 ton (or larger) truck, but based on their success (or lack thereof) in the 1/2 ton market they should save their money and leave Ford/GM/Chrysler be.  

  • avatar

    Easily the worst looking fullsize truck on the market inside and out.  It was obviously styled by someone who was blind. 

    That interior (and it’s materials) are straight out of 1999 and completely kill the rest for me.  But the really sad thing is that the standard F150 isn’t a whole lot better.

    I’d have a Dodge or GMC heavy duty over this any day, both do not gouge your eyeballs out to look at and are handsome inside. 

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The article talks about a loaded King Ranch truck, and shows pictures of a basic mid-level XLT that costs $10,000 less.  The base model GM and Dodge interiors aren’t any better, nor do they need to be, in base to mid trims these trucks are work vehicles, and the interiors need to reflect that by being durable and damage resistant.
       
      If you look at photos of an actual top level F-250 compared to the Chevy or Dodge equivalents, the Ford is just as nice if not nicer.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Nullo,

      I respectfully disagree – the materials in a top-line Ford are no nicer than a similar Ram, and the shapes and textures in the Ram are much more tasteful and understated. Don’t forget Ram has a “King Ranch” style package of their own on it’s way and it looks pretty impressive, even if it’s overtly “western” in it’s execution, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering the target market.  

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Wheeljack -
       
      I actually like that new Dodge western themed interior.  The Dodge may have more soft touch material, and it may make a better Cowboy Cadillac, but Ford intentionally went with a different design aesthetic with these trucks.  The Super Duty interior and exterior design is certainly full of bravado and overblown themes, and you either like it or you don’t.
       
      Ford changed the leather in the King Ranch trucks a couple years ago.  It used to be a very natural saddle hide that was beautiful, soft, smelled great, and needed regular conditioning and upkeep.  Too few people were willing to care for it, and complained that when they got in and out sweaty all day, left it baking in the sun, and never bothered to rub any product into it that it hardened and faded.  The Dodge interior looks great now, but how will it look after five years worth of exposure to a work site?  The Ford doesn’t use as much soft touch material, but to be fair, this isn’t a Lincoln or a luxury vehicle, this is a work truck, and the interiors are still very nice for a work truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Nullo,

      I guess the biggest thing for me with the Super Duty is all the silly cartoonish shapes and textures (i.e. the corrugation in the glovebox door) that now look so dated…what was “fresh” in 2004 on the F-150 now just looks tired.

      The hard plastic isn’t that much of an affront to me, after all I own a 2002 and a 2006 Wrangler, both with hard plastic. The difference with my Wranglers is the basic, restrained shapes and tasteful graining they chose that renders the hard plastic inobtrusive and not as cheap looking as the 2007 Wrangler (or the subject Super Duty, for that matter) that replaced my model.

      It’ll be interesting to see if the leather in the new uber-deluxe Ram requires the same upkeep as the original King Ranch leather or if the leather manufacturers have some new trick up their sleeve to give that premium look and feel without the all the fuss.  

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I must be the luckiest Dodge owner ever.  Having owned an F250 7.3 diesel and a Dodge with the cummins, I would have a hard time ever going back to the Ford. 
    The dodge was quieter, had zero failures in 7 years (except for two minor recalls which were handled at time of basic servicing), and once broke in got 20 mpg on the highway all day long. 
    The F250 rode very hard and guzzled fuel. 

    @ That Guy: the ford has been known to eat ball joints as well, similar to the Dodge.  I think this mostly due to the weight of the engine.  Awfully hard to make a passenger car hold up to a motor that is now equal to what you could get in a Kenworth in the 80′s.

    Nice truck though in the long run.  I am quite certain this rig will suit most folks fine for 200k miles of heavy duty use with minimal issues and reasonable comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      I’m also a satisfied Dodge owner here, in my case a 1994 RAM2500 with the Cummins 12-valve.  Currently has 218000mi and still lots of life left in the engine and the rest of the truck.  I wish it was an extended cab, but otherwise no complaints.  I’ve had to replace the balljoints once.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “But the really sad thing is that the standard F150 isn’t a whole lot better.”

    The F150 was a nice looking truck until they mucked it up by styling it like a Super Duty. What a mistake. 

    My biggest complaint with every SD Ford I’ve driven is that the steering wheel always felt like it was attached to the chassis with a rubber band. Maybe they’ve finally fixed that.

  • avatar

    All of you cynics don’t appear to have experience behind the wheel of these babies. My daily driver at work is the 350 Dump truck with the 350 p/u being used by me personally about once a week. These trucks are meant to be functional. And that is the number 1 priority, and they do it phenomenally well. The diesels are strong, the transmissions shift smoothly all the time and the radio is more than adequate. The paint holds up against chips, scratches and fade from the pounding sun. Its a great work partner. I had a 2006 Dodge 3500 before and I prefer the ford I have now. Its a MUCH better truck.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Nice review Alex, other than the pictures not matching the truck in the description.
     
    The Chevy HD truck might be a little faster, but the wider gear range on the Super Duty does help off the line acceleration, especially with a load, and overall fuel economy, both of which you saw in your test.
     
    The interior of the Super Duty is designed around functionality, which is has in spades over the competition.  The center console is lockable, and is designed to easily accommodate a laptop computer or handing file folders, great for a mobile office.  Ford offers a built in 110volt AC outlet, something GM doesn’t, which again, is great for a mobile office.  The available Work Solutions in dash computer with tool tracking and fleet tracking and telematics capability also give a great edge for someone working from his truck all day.
     
    Ford’s dominance in the heavy duty pickup market really shines through in the little details – the trailer tow mirrors are power extending and contracting, something the GM doesn’t have, as well as powerfolding.  The standard LCD productivity screen in upper trim levels has a trailer memory function that lets you set up profiles for various trailer loads and easily calibrate mirrors and trailer brake control assist to your given load with the touch of a button.  The trailer sway control is standard across all Super Duty models, and can asymmetrically brake to stop a greater range of trailer motions.  The factory upfitter switches are a Super Duty exclusive, which combined with the live-drive PTO option that allows PTO equipment to run even when the truck is in park or idling gives Super Duty owners who need it far greater flexibility.  The Super Duty is the only truck in the segment to offer a factory installed 5th wheel/gooseneck prep package that allows for an easy lock in/lock out Reese hitch to be popped in when heavy loads need to be hauled, or easily pulled out when a flat bed floor is needed.  The Super Duty offers a greater ratio of gear ratios, all the way up to 4.30 on a diesel vs. GM’s top end of 3.73, giving the Super Duty much greater towing capability when properly equipped.
     
    The Silverado HD is the closest competitor to the Super Duty, and the Duramax/Allison combination do bring brand recognition.  At the same time, Ford has had some diesel issues in the past (though they are not nearly as widespread or as serious as is overblown on most forums).  Ford took it upon themselves to do it right this time, and that’s what will make the difference with this motor – no need to meet the needs of both medium duty commercial vehicles for Navistar and traditional HD pickups for Ford, this engine is designed for Ford pickup duty only.
     
    At the end of the day, while a proven powertrain combination does hold sway with some buyers, the usability and design superiority features of the Ford will sway a lot more.  The Super Duty already holds close to 50% of the heavy duty pickup market on its own, with Dodge and GM sharing most of the remainder.  Ford knows that customers want more than just a name brand on a powertrain, and that’s why no details were skipped over on this truck – for someone who is going to use this as more than a grocery getter, nothing else comes close in terms of features that make day to day life easier and work more productive.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      FYI – I think the new Ram chassis cabs now have “upfitter” switches as well…I would imagine they will trickle down to the non-chassis cabs sooner rather than later or perhaps be offered as an accessory though the parts division ASAP if they’re smart.

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      @NulloModo

      You’re spot on here.  If people weren’t happy with Ford’s HD trucks, they wouldn’t hold more than 50% of the market.  The problems with the 6.0L PSD were widely overblown, especially the later 2005-07 models.  It’s mostly the GM and Dodge guys that make wild claims about PSD’s being problematic, jealousy is a wicked creature. 

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The biggest problem for most of these modern HPCR diesels is all the aftermarket “go-fast” goodies like programmer boxes that push the engine and drivetrain beyond it’s design limitations. I don’t know how many diesel engines in these trucks that I’ve seen destroyed thanks to these “hot rod” software flashes. Another big problem I’ve seen time and again is engines that are dusted out thanks to those so-called “cold air intakes” or high-flow air filters that do little in the way of actually filtering the air. The weakest of the bunch (Ram) has 650 lb. ft. of torque – c’mon people, how much more do you really need?

  • avatar

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think that perhaps a country in such dire economic straights as our might have very little need for $50,000 18 mpg luxury vanity pickup? I mean it’s a nice unit and all, but it seems like overkill. Given that we have such an oversupply of residential and commercial real estate on the market, who’s going to buy this thing?
    By the way, sales figures for the F-series have been declining steadily since 2005, which suggests consumers might be ready for something smaller and simpler
    like the 1966 F100
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:F100rear.jpg
    Calendar Year Total American sales
    1999[39] 869,001
    2000 876,716
    2001 823,681
    2002[40] 813,701
    2003 845,586
    2004[41] 939,511
    2005 901,463
    2006[42] 796,039
    2007 690,589
    2008[43] 515,513
    2009[44] 413,625

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Is it just me, or does anyone else think that perhaps a country in such dire economic straights as our might have very little need for $50,000 18 mpg luxury vanity pickup? I mean it’s a nice unit and all, but it seems like overkill. Given that we have such an oversupply of residential and commercial real estate on the market, who’s going to buy this thing?

      Dire economic straits in this context means a slowly growing GDP and 10% unemployment. The other 90% of people didn’t suddenly take 50% paycuts. Someone who made $250,000 a year in 2008 and still has his job is probably making $250,000 a year now, and – shock – can still afford a $50k vanity vehicle.

      Dire economic straits does not mean, “Nobody in the country has any money anymore”. The market for fairly expensive stuff like this has probably not been compromised nearly as much as that for the less expensive stuff, since by and large people making that kind of money weren’t the people hardest hit by job losses – obvious localized financial sector exceptions aside.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    While I would hesitate to call the F-250 fast (our tester ran to 60 in 9.0 seconds), adding a few tons in the bed does little to dampen the feeling of the vehicle.

    What a difference some time makes – in 1993, the F-250 would have held its own against a 325i… which wouldn’t have been a hell of a lot better on gas, either. In the early ’80s, 9 seconds was pretty serious sports car territory.

    And you definitely can’t haul 6240lbs of concrete and and 2,100lbs of cinder blocks in a 325i. So here’s the question – if you went for an older 3-series instead of the peppier 9-second version, how far back would you have to go before an F250 *towing* a 3-series would beat another of the same 3-series to 60mph?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      A 1993 325i had 194 hp and did 0-60 in 8 seconds with an automatic, about 7 seconds with a 5-speed. Even an ’88 325is could leave a 1992 F250 for dead. That one I’ve witnessed. You’d basically need a 318i automatic of E30 or E36 generations to get the outcome you’re looking for. There are all sorts of cars, even enthusiast cars, from 20 years ago and more that weren’t as quick as the latest F250, but the E36 325i wasn’t one of them. You would really have to be driving badly to get less than 24 mpg in one too, with over 30 mpg being an 80 mph highway reality.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Ah. The mileage numbers I saw must have been pessimistic – perhaps the 0-60 times too. The point remains, though – in another 25 years, are we going to be asking 5500lb crew cab pickups to do 60 in 4.9 while getting 35mpg?
       
      I sure as hell hope so!

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Did you try opening the hood fully? And then try to reach up and close it? Give it a try. If you are under 6 feet tall you probably cannot do it.

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    Nice review. Interesting comments.
    Me ? I have a ’89 F250 4×4, 5-speed manual, XL, strippo version, no a/c, crank windows, and a noisy 7.3L IDI non-turbo engine. Best thing going. Will pull anything. Go thru anything. A lot less stuff to break down.
    It sure wakes the neighbours up when you start on a cold day !
    I am amazed at how loaded up these “work” trucks have become.
    The other amazing thing is how expensive diesel trucks are to repair. I do most of my own work. But the price list at the dealer for regular mtce stuff is exhorbitant. Ouch.


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