Ford F-250: Massive Capability for 2017

By Frank A. Aukofer, January 21st, 2017

The 2017 Ford Super Duty pickup truck -- the first complete makeover of this burly hauler in 18 years -- will be hailed by truckers.

It's gigantic and luxurious. At the same time, from a trucking standpoint, it is state-of-the-art, can carry a ton of stuff, tow prodigious loads while delivering luxury-car amenities and comfort.

For the purpose of this review, we tested a Ford F-250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab with the King Ranch trim and Ford's 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 engine, which quietly delivers 440 horsepower and, more importantly, a mind-boggling 925 lb.-ft. of torque, or twisting force.

Specifications tell part of the story. The Super Duty Crew Cab 4X4 measures almost 21 feet long with the short (6-foot, 10-inch) cargo box. At 6.5 feet tall, it requires driver and passengers to step up to a high running board and then step up again into the cabin. Once there, they get a commanding view over lesser vehicles.

Curb weight is nearly 4 tons and the Super Duty can carry a payload of 2,039 pounds. It also can tow a trailer that weighs up to 15,000 pounds. If that doesn't cut it, get up to 32,500 pounds with the heavier-duty and more-expensive F-450 model.

The tested F-250 likely won't be the choice for your local handyman, who uses his truck for work every day. It's more for ranchers in wide-open spaces, no doubt the reason the Texas Auto Writers Association named it "Truck of Texas."

Driving it, especially on narrow rural roads or clogged freeways and city streets, is not for the faint of heart. It demands the driver's full attention despite the luxury ambiance. The ride is pickup-truck choppy because its suspension system was designed to handle even heavier loads than the actual rating because customers sometimes overload their rides.

Maneuvering in a shopping center parking lot is something akin to walking on eggs. Spaces barely accept the Super Duty side-to-side but are too short. Backing in works best, which is when the optional outside view cameras come in handy -- you can order as many as five for different uses like hooking up a trailer. Most people will more likely park far away and get good exercise by walking to the store.

The Super Duty has a Darth Vader-like presence on the highway. If you're tooling along in your Hyundai Accent, watching one bear down on you from behind can be intimidating.

If you have some interest in trucks and are the sort of person who enjoys solving puzzles, then you might enjoy an afternoon sit-down where you sort out all the various iterations of the new Super Duty.

Because the government classifies it as a commercial vehicle, the Super Duty does not publish fuel economy ratings. Yet even with the usually more economical diesel engine, the F-250 is way thirsty -- as the choice of 29- to 48-gallon fuel tanks can attest.

Like its lighter-duty brother, the F-150, the Super Duty is now constructed of high-strength aluminum, albeit with a beefy steel frame that extends the entire length of the truck. Ford uses this military-grade aluminum alloy entire body and cargo box.

With the $2,950 King Ranch package and other options, the tested F-250 Super Duty came equipped with safety, convenience, and comfort items that would do justice to any number of luxury cars and SUVs.

Features include plush leather upholstery, adaptive steering and cruise control, lane-keeping alert, blind-spot warning, large outside dual mirrors with power telescoping for trailer towing, heated seats, an off-road package with skid plates, a preparation package for fifth-wheel towing, twin-panel sunroof, spray-in bed liner, and 20-inch cast aluminum wheels.

None of this, of course, comes inexpensively. The tested F-250 Super Duty carried a base sticker price of $55,455. With all the options, including $8,595 for the powerful diesel engine, the bottom-line suggested delivered price came to $73,170.

Specifications

Base price $55,455 (as tested: $73,170)
Curb weight 7,961 lbs.
Displacement 6.7-liter
Engine type 32-valve Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8
Horsepower (net) 440 at 2800 rpm
Overall length 250.0 in.
Payload capacity 2,039 lbs.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 925 at 1800 rpm
Towing capacity 15,000 lbs.
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 6-passenger heavy-duty 4x4 crew cab pickup
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