2020 Ford Super Duty Trounces Ram's Torque and Towing, Rubs Competitor's Face in the Dirt

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

If you have less than one thousand foot-pounds of torque, are you even driving a truck? That seems to be the message Ford tried to convey during its spec reveal of the 2020 Super Duty line on Thursday.

In an event held on the sidelines of the State Fair of Texas, where attendees view all things large and powerful with the same rapturous admiration as a Ziplock bag of pills discovered at Burning Man, Ford detailed the output and towing capability of its revamped, third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. A diesel, Ford was proud to relay, that tops Ram’s torquiest Cummins by 50 lb-ft.

Yes, 1,050 lb-ft, besting the mill’s previous twist by 115 lb-ft. Horsepower is also up, from last year’s 450 hp to 475.

In comparison, Ram’s new-for-2019 Cummins comes in two flavors. The base diesel inline-six makes 370 hp and 850 lb-ft, while, for extra coinage on top of the existing diesel markup, buyers can gain a 400 hp/1,000 lb-ft version.

As you well know, Ford didn’t just bring an upgraded diesel to its revamped Super Duty line. It also developed a 7.3-liter pushrod V8 for diesel dissenters, with that mill making 430 hp and 475 lb-ft. Ram’s 6.4-liter V8, standard in 2019 HD pickups, generates 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. Ouch.

The Blue Oval mill also mates its grunt to a 10-speed automatic, versus Ram’s beefed-up Aisin six-speed. The lesser of the two Cummins gets the older Aisin auto.

It may not have much interest in courting low-end car buyers, but Ford’s willing to pull out all the stops when it comes to maintaining truck supremacy. What Ford’s now claiming is a sweep of all the brawny accolades foisted on heavy-duty pickups: best gas and diesel horsepower and torque, best payload capacity, and best towing capacity (conventional, gooseneck, and fifth-wheel). Ram enjoyed the top podium on several of those scores for a single year.

About that towing. While few owners will need the extra hundred or so pounds separating the max specs of two automakers jousting for the top spot, bragging rights are big in the truck segment. Inches and pounds and everything else matter for marketing.

The 2020 Super Duty line maxes out at 37,000 pounds of towing capacity, whereas Ram manages 35,100 lbs as a ceiling. Payload for the Ford line tops out at 7,850 pounds when chosen with the returning 6.2-liter gas V8 (385 hp, 430 lb-ft). The Ram HD? 7,680 lbs.

For those towing a fifth-wheel trailer, 32,500 pounds is the most weight Super Duty owners can hang off the rear. Conventional towing maxes out at 24,200 lbs, versus Ram’s 23,000.

To get that maximum conventional towing capacity, you’ll need to opt for the diesel crew cab F-450 in either 4.2 or 4×4 guise. Top payload comes with the regular cab, long box F-350 4×2 dually and 6.2-liter V8. And, for those with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel setup, the diesel F-450 regular cab 4×2 is your tugging champion.

With the aim of providing an alternative to Ram’s Power Wagon, Ford has a Tremor off-road package waiting for SRW 4×4 buyers, offering maximum conventional towing of up to 15,000 pounds, 21,900 pounds for gooseneck trailers when optioned with the diesel, and a 4,210-pound max payload capacity when equipped with the 7.3-liter.

The 2020 Super Duty line begins its journey to dealers late this year.

[Images: Ford]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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2 of 56 comments
  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Sep 27, 2019

    1,051, Bob.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Sep 29, 2019

    It's past time to remove the recreational exemption from the CDL requirement and make drivers of these things get some training beyond "the red thing with eight sides means stop." Towing 15 tons is serious business not just for the driver, but for everyone else on the road. And that's especially true when power-drunk owners trying to p!ss on the other brand insist on towing at 95 mph, as they do all too often on Western interstates. Failing that, let's have a non-defeatable 70 mph limiter that kicks in whenever there is a connection to the trailer harness.

  • MaintenanceCosts The symbol is the standard international sign for "controlled access highway." Presumably they are trying to evoke the Autobahn.
  • MaintenanceCosts Absolutely. Most old classics are not Boss 429s or Busso Alfas. Most of them have powertrains that are just crap by modern standards. I'd love to have a classic without the pre-emissions stinky exhaust or the need to futz around constantly with points and jets to maintain drivability.
  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.
  • FreedMike Depends on the used car. If we're talking a numbers-matching GTO or something like that, then hell no. But if we're talking about something like a six-banger '67 Mustang, it'd be cool to make it into an EV with modern suspension, brakes and electronics. Call it an electro-restomod.