Ace of Base: 2020 Ford F-250 XL

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • JGlanton JGlanton on Jan 17, 2020

    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.

  • JGlanton JGlanton on Jan 17, 2020

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

  • Kosmo I, for one, and maybe only one, would buy a 5.0 L, stickshift variant of the sedan/hatchback that is Ford's "Not A Mustang EV" tomorrow.I'd buy the sportwagon version yesterday.
  • Akear I am counting the days when Barra retires. She has been one long nightmare for GM. People don't realize the Malibu outsells all GM EVs combined.
  • Redapple2 you say; most car reviewers would place it behind the segment stalwarts from Honda and Toyota,........................... ME: Always so. Every single day since the Accord / Camry introduction.
  • Akear GM sells only 3000 Hummer EVs annually. It is probably the worst selling vehicle in GM history.
  • Amwhalbi I agree, Ajla. This is theory, not reality - hence my comment that Americans don't like hatchbacks. But one of my neighbors bought one of the last Regal hatchbacks that were available for sae, and it is a darn nice car. I still think the idea makes sense, even if history is proving me wrong. And my sister does have a Legacy, which rides a bit higher than my Sonata, and that also is an excellent driver. Even if the general public doesn't concur with me.