By on January 16, 2020

Occasionally, the Ace of Base award will be trotted out not because a particular vehicle is the most desirable in its range, but because of the remarkable amount of kit or capability it offers for its entry level price. The truck you see before you definitely falls into the latter category.

Consider this: a base model F-250 serves up a 385 horsepower V8, 78.5 cubic feet of space in its 8-foot cargo box, and the ability to tow up to 13,300 pounds — all for less than the price of a loaded Camry.

That’s a serious amount of mechanical aptitude for CamCord money. The 6.2-liter V8 is lashed to a six-speed automatic (no ten-cogger at this price) and makes the aforementioned 385 ponies plus a hearty 430 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t that long ago those numbers were the domain of noisy and smelly diesels. Entry-level XL Super Duty trucks are two-wheel drive, of course.

It also wasn’t that long ago that base trucks were work tools to be flung into a construction pit during the week and hosed out for a date on weekends. If it was blessed with a headliner, it was made out of cardboard. While the F-250 XL does lack things like power windows and cruise control, the level of refinement and tech would make trucks of yesteryear blush with embarrassment.

Air conditioning is standard (thank you, economies of scale and consumer demand), along with a trailer hitch receiver and a tailgate-mounted rear-view camera so you can see astern while hooking up to a camper or boat. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes while providing buttons with which to control the stereo.

Like the trucks of old, you can — to a point — hose this thing out because it comes standard with carpet delete and a black vinyl floor. Note that the gray bench seat is also vinyl, unless you choose to pay $100 for cloth covering. Both extreme heat or extreme cold causes a vinyl bench to become as comfortable as falling down a flight of stairs.

We know a lot of people complain that the era of cheap trucks has gone the way of the dinosaurs and drive-ins. However, it’s hard to argue the sum of $33,705 for this Super Duty given the feats of strength it can accomplish. An F-150 with similar power numbers (375/470 from the big EcoBoost) is just $720 less expensive and much less capable in terms of towing.

When examined through that lens, handing the 2020 Super Duty XL an Ace of Base trophy is easy.

[Images: Ford]

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58 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Ford F-250 XL...”


  • avatar
    KevinB

    If it comes with traction control you really don’t need 4wd. At least 95% of us don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Ehh, even with a limited slip rear end, which I’m sure this has as a base feature, it’s not hard to get a truck with no weight in the rear stuck.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      The base equipment is an open rear diff, only duallies get LS

      For $400 you can get a locking rear diff that will actually replace 4wd in a lot of situations.

      Traction control isn’t going to do much by itself

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Most dealers aren’t brain dead. They stock these “strippers” with locking rears and power windows/locks. They’re basic requirement for even the toughest of cheapskates. And it’s a win/win for dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Id say at least 50% do. Anything from heavy snow, to launching a large boat, to pulling a large trailer on an unpaved surface generally warrants 4wd. A limited slip diff in no way compensates the need for front wheel traction when needed.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      not really

      traction control merely applies the brake to a wheel that’s spinning, it doesn’t add traction

      cars get stuck all the time because of traction control – they wind up burning up the brakes as they barely more

      it’s meant to keep people from losing control, not aid traction

    • 0 avatar
      monkeydelmagico

      Pffft. Can get a 2wd open diff pickup stuck on flat lawn with wet grass. It’s pathetic.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Yeah dang pickups should all have standard rear-lockers, especially 2WDs. But set the parking brake on the first click.

        Or try pumping the brakes rapidly (“poorman” traction control) to get moving. It’s basically the inverse of the poorman ABS we used for controlled stops, in the days before ABS became standard, or required equipment.

        Mostly you want to keep the wheel with the least traction from spinning as much as you can. Yeah it’s not always going to work for every situation, even when used in conjunction with the parking brake, but it helps greatly.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    3 Things.
    1) I forgot the 1st thing.
    2) Vehicles without cruise control will teach you a lesson on being a cheaparse. Never Again.
    3) $34,000 is NOT cheap for a truck with no options, while I’m sure there will be $10k of discounts, $34k is a ridiculous sum for a no options pickup truck. Particularly when accounting for inflation compared to 30 years ago.

    Oh I remember the 1st thing, that tiny screen is horrible to use, a traditional interface would be a step up.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    For the same capability and price I secured a 2015 Chevy 2500HD WT Crew Cab with electric windows (XL had roll up). Power windows and shorter front seat center fold down allowing my long femur to man spread sealed the deal.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The existence of these really underscores how much profit the manufacturers are getting / how little value the consumer is getting from the money trims. They did put in the ‘f you, cheapskate’ touches that they could get away with – Gameboy radio, crank windows, vinyl seats that don’t adjust, ugly wheels, etc – but all of the mechanical and structural content is there.

    That said, not checking off the box for the 7.3 OHV V8 would be a crying shame even if it does hurt the value proposition a little bit .

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “ That said, not checking off the box for the 7.3 OHV V8 would be a crying shame even if it does hurt the value proposition a little bit .”

      +1

      I was in a junkyard a week back and noticed a ~2008 F250 that wasn’t wrecked, it piqued my curiosity being so new and having a decent body, I walked over to it trying to figure out why it was there before I noticed the emissions sticker that had the 5.4L V8.

      Yep that makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Manufacturers do not exist to give you the value you crave – that is your job to find. Profit is the only reason manufactures build jack. A wise decision by you buying a late model used pickup will give you all the value you think you deserve without having to jump off your soapbox for profit reasons. I actually bought used a year ago because I didn’t want to pay the outrageous Honduh and Toyoduh tax that is being charged for products of the same caliber as the car I bought. And mine is just as likelly to hit the 200k mile mark as those outrageously priced Dush sister cars.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    In the Midwest, this truck with 4WD is a snow plow truck, what the larger snow ploy companies buy for their fleet. Slap a plow mount on it and away they go. In the summer they tow around a landscaping trailer.

    They (from what I can tell) just buy the cheapest truck with 4wd, as they are going to get destroyed from having a plow on the front and rust.

    • 0 avatar
      lstanley

      “In the Midwest, this truck with 4WD is a snow plow truck, what the larger snow ploy companies buy for their fleet. Slap a plow mount on it and away they go. In the summer they tow around a landscaping trailer.”

      +1. This guy Midwests……

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      I work for a municipality and we have 4 2008 F-250’s just like this for plowing. We use them for alleys, smaller parking lots, and dead ends.
      As I found out last week, when the 4WD on my truck took a powder, you can’t plow even and inch of snow without it. I might as well have been plowing with a Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I look at the grills of 4-5 of this exact combo of truck at the neighbor’s lot every morning. By 7:30 am, I’m looking at just the fence. None of these trucks are more than five years old. It’s been that steady rotation for 20 years.

      I forgot to add that at this time of the year, half of the grill is hidden by a stainless steel plow.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    With heavy-duty trucks I think it’s more interesting to consider the truck with capability-improving options only than as an Ace of Base.

    So that nets the following selections:
    – 8′ bed
    – 4×4
    – 7.3 V8 (at this point, diesel is for suckers and compensators)
    – 4.30 locker
    – Heavy service front springs
    – Dual battery
    – 397 amp alternator
    – Engine block heater
    – PTO
    – Skid plates
    – Tailgate step
    – Integrated trailer brake controller
    – Upfitter switches

    With the right hitch, that’s a $42k truck that can carry, pull, or power damn near anything.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It’s not really an “AoB” but I’d much prefer the Cattleman Edition

    https://carbuzz.com/news/2020-ford-f-150-cattleman-edition-is-an-honest-truck

    Man these dealerships are getting creative (but I mean that in a good way.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      $44K for your basic 4X4 F-150? Nice looking, though

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The article says they’re slapping a $4000 discount on them to hit just over $39K. If you were the guy who was going to add a brush guard, leveling kit, 35 in tires, speedometer recalibration, spray in bed liner, etc and you priced all those things out independently… You’re probably still ahead.

        The dealer has the advantage of being able to do all those things essentially “at cost”.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          You never, ever come out ahead on those DIO packages, they’re for the lazy and impulsive who don’t bother to figure out what they cost on their own (20%) and people with chit credit who can only get approved for that stuff when it’s rolled in to the car loan (80%)

          “4K off” a 6K DIO means they’re shooting for 2 over sticker on a truck that should be going for 5 under. That’s 3000 in parts retail and maybe another 1500, 2 tops, to put it on if you count the tints and liner as labor.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s the Goldilocks or trucks. It lets you add a wide array of XLT standard equipment, while the XLT won’t let you opt out of carpet, chrome exterior overload, and others. The aftermarket does the rest.

    Then there’s the STX splitting the difference (but still an XL). My dealer had a red V8 STX 4X4 SC with stuff not standard on the XLT, like fog lights, rear sliding glass, plus other and of course red color-key bumpers and grill surround, not available on the XLT.

    So I had to get it. I had already decided to get the base/base F150 SC 4X4 V8, then hit the aftermarket for the rest, but this dealer knows its customers.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    One is MUCH better off with the 6-speed transmission anyway. The new 10-speed is a nightmare.

    I suppose I agree with the Ace of Base assessment on this one. It would need 4WD and Cruise to be useful to me, but the rest is already there.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      You’ve driven a 2020 Super Duty?

      This is not the 10 speed from the F150.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      Jeep: What issues is the 10-speed experiencing?

      Jack: What is the difference between the F150 10-speed and SD 10-speed (gas)? I was under the impression they were the same platform, just tuned differently for their applications.

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I don’t know all the technical differences.

        The F150 transmission is the one co-developed with GM and used in the Mustang, Camaro, and other cars.

        The Super Duty transmission is Ford only and is not gas specific. The F250 with 6.2L is the only place you can still get a 6 speed, the 10 speed is standard on F250 with 7.3L or Powerstroke, and F350 with all engines. This mirrors the 2017-19 trucks where the F250 gas got a 6 speed developed from the F150 transmission, and the F350 gas shared the diesel 6 speed.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I purchased a ’19 F350 XL last year off the lot and agree with some of the commenters that a diesel is not really necessary if towing 16k or less. The 6.2 mentioned in the story is plenty (I wouldn’t touch that new 7.3 for a couple years until the inevitable bugs get worked out – it took Ford until 2017 to get the 6.2 correct). There were several “Ace of Base” on various lots for around $34k – $35k sticker (hard to find any without locker rear end and power windows/locks) but I was instructed by my wife to purchase one with a few more unneeded options and the “right” color (I found out that red trucks are for farmers and fishermen). These are definitely trucks, built heavy, and drive a bit heavy but, for me, does its job pulling very well. It took a bit to get accustomed the 12-13mpg unloaded (my old 7.3 diesel averaged 19-20mpg).

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      Interesting about the red. I searched out an HD Silverado used and it had to be red. But I guess with the change in pickup buyers over the years the colors have changed too. Most LD are black and most HD are white.
      I prefer the GM WT as there is no vinyl. And as mentioned no snow plowing without 4wd. And honestly if you are going to tow you will probably need it for that too unless you are sure you will only be on level pavement.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        @whynotaztec – Oh, there was a red ’19 F350 available with all that I required to tow my trailer (and several $k less OTD) but my wife stood her ground… NO RED TRUCK!!! LOL!

        • 0 avatar
          whynotaztec

          Too funny, when I was looking the truck had to be red, period. And I have always wanted to be a farmer, so maybe she is on to something.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I hate red too. Except my it’s my favorite color of truck to own. Plus from the inside, I hardly notice.

          Red hides grime and light scratches like no other. My dogs have put literally a million scratches on it, and they’ll rub out just with the natural oils in my hands. It’s the same with trail pinstripes.

          If you’re not going to use a truck for “truck things” then yeah I agree.

          And bright red hides minor dents like no other color. It must be the glare, but the entire lower half of the right/rear door got pushed in and it’s hardly noticeable. So it’s been there for about 2 years and it took one friend/co-worker a year+ to notice it, after constantly riding in the truck, and being around it hundreds of times.

          Also I don’t use detergents to wash it, just water and mitt in a bucket as normal. Plus the truck never blends into the scenery or background like most.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I always hated silver cars, and then I ended up with three of them in a row, always because I was looking for something rare and silver happened to be the right car at the right deal.

            Now after owning them I love silver cars, because they forgive almost any paint abuse. They can look brilliantly shiny with just a wash and wax, and you’ll never see the scratches or swirls.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I personally think I’d go for something subtle like this:

      tinyurl.com/rgut7xy

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Unless it’s a badass special edition that only came in Yellow… No I still don’t know. But the thing about bright red, yes it’s eye pollution, but from dusk to dawn, it just looks really sharp.

        I’m the one that painted a commercial truck with the brightest red I could find, used white primer, color sanded to a mirror finish, and wow that thing would cook your eyeballs.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Both of the cars I’ve bought new have been painted the brightest red offered by the manufacturer.
          In general anything I buy new will be a color out of a Skittles bag.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    A few things:
    One feature it has which is a huge plus : column shift and no console.
    That’s about it.
    No power windows? Do you realize how much of a pain in the arse that is?
    Note to Ford: how is it possible that steelies can look so awkward. Oh yes it’s the “argent “ silver that looks awful and has for years on fords.
    Oh, one last thing: why does the 2020 ford truck dashboard look like my 2012 Dodge Ram dashboard?

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      mENAR

      Car companies make the wheels ugly on low trim on purpose. Same with the black grill and fog light blanks and blanks on the dash.

      It is to make you Consciously or subconsciously want to buy a higher trim.

      • 0 avatar
        Menar Fromarz

        totally understand! funny tho, bugs wash off the PP black plastic grills a million times easier than chrome plastic. And on a work truck, thats a good thing.
        Re: the painted rims. Honda civics in the 1970’s had color keyed rims the same quality finish as the car, and domestics have looked like crap in this regard since the 1960’s, early 1970’s. Steelies CAN look awesome, ie: gen 1/2 VW Jetts/golfs. OEM alloys are the new steelies, as nothing rides on steel rims anymore, unless its one of these cheapies. Good for winter tires though and keep the alloys nice for the good seasons!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The wheels/tires on these are obviously rated for the job but they look so small…

  • avatar
    Ryannosaurus

    Have you ever wondered what the fleet price is for these? I work for a Forestry company and am in charge of ordering about 20 of these every year. This year we are purchasing F-250 XL in the extended cab with 8 ft bed configuration. The only options we added were the FX4 package (4×4, locking rear end, skid plates and off-road tires) and the Power Package (power doors, tailgate, windows, and mirrors). MSRP is $42,740, fleet price from Ford $34,549. $10,000 is an average discount. We have been very happy with Ford, the only complaint I get is that they ride stiff.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    My GF had one of these, but in crew cab, and it was so great to have around because it could move anything. It was pretty much a moving truck and I didn’t care if it didn’t have luxury and power features. I just put on the AM radio and moved furniture and motorcycles. The only problem was that she lived on an island and that thing was so long she got 6 dents and scrapes in the narrow alleys.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I priced it in my area and the MSRP is $34,745. Average sale price is $32K.

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