The best-selling, heavyweight truck in America has been given an impressive makeover. Ford used the State Fair of Texas as the venue to reveal the 2017 F-Series Super Duty -- Ford's first-ever, heavy-duty aluminum-bodied pickup.
When Ford first brought the Super Duty to the market in 1998, it was the only player in the sandbox and just what buyers with tough work or towing duties needed. Ford leads the market with 55 percent of the segment, and, although the competitors in this segment of the market have grown fierce -- with substantial rivals from Ram, Chevy, and GMC -- Ford says it has engineered its second-generation Super Duty to outdistance the competition once again.
The all-new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks -- which include models that range from the F-250 up to the F-550 -- are lighter yet feature an all-new, fully-boxed frame comprising more than 95 percent high-strength steel that is 24 times stiffer than the previous frame. Ford builds on that with a high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy body; stronger axles, springs and suspension; and heavier-duty four-wheel-drive components, driveline, and updated towing hardware that will enable the most towing and hauling capabilities ever.
Ford says the upcoming Super Duty will also bolster its hauling and payload ratings as a result of its upgraded gasoline and diesel engines that will have increased horsepower and torque; on top of all these changes, the new models will have improved fuel economy. Built at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, these Super Duty trucks will arrive at dealerships in the fall of 2016.
The F-Series Super Duty will be available as XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models and with Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and SuperCab versions. New is a Platinum trim on F-450s.
The exterior of the heavy-duty series retains much of its iconic, utilitarian style, but looking a little closer, you'll notice that the body has been refined and refreshed to maximize aerodynamics. The rust- and dent-resistant, state-of-the-art aluminum-alloy panels have lightened the vehicle by 350 pounds. While the new Super Duty shares its cabs with the F-150, it has unique styling in front with an updated, more horizontal, "belt buckle" grille, a more raked windshield, cues that give it a more planted look, along with large, bold lettering for all badges. The hood appears flatter and the side windows slightly smaller.
The bed features a patented BoxLink system of cleats and brackets to secure cargo. For increased convenience and security, the tailgate can be locked, unlocked, and opened via the key fob. The tailgate has been updated with a next-generation step integrated into the tailgate to keep it clean and out of the way.
Inside, the cab receives a hefty makeover that brings increased legroom, newly contoured seats, and more stowage features including a two-tier lockable glove box and a lockable center console. There are up to two 400-watt power outlets and a 110-volt outlet in the cab. All three cab styles are longer and feature flat-folding second-row seats that make way for a flat load floor; new is under-seat lockable stowage. Massaging seats are available as are inflatable rear seatbelts.
Among the pickup's tech features are SYNC 3, which is Ford's new-generation infotainment system that includes enhanced voice recognition and a Smartphone-like 8-inch touchscreen with an easy-to-understand graphic interface; seamless integration of AppLink to control smartphone apps; Siri Eyes-Free capability; over-the-air software updates using Wi-Fi; and 911 Assist that provides subscription-free emergency calling.
The truck's updated and innovative camera system has a 360-degree bird's-eye-view camera, among others. Since up to 90 percent of Super Duty customers tow, cameras have been added to help customers see more angles and monitor conditions surrounding the truck, and provide better trailering.
Adaptive steering also helps make towing easier, giving a greater ease to navigating job sites and parking lots -- with or without a trailer. This technology reduces the amount of steering input needed to change direction at low speeds, while reducing sensitivity to steering input at higher speeds.
Under the hood of the next-generation Super Duty is collection of powerplants, including a second-generation Ford-built, 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel for pickups and chassis cabs; a 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 with a new TorqShift-G transmission for F-250s; and a 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine for the chassis cab lineup. All engines are mated to six-speed transmissions and the trucks have solid axles.
Ford says it has more Super Duty pickups on the road with 280,000 miles or more on their odometer. The new pickups promise improved durability and will undergo testing of more than 17 million miles.
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