2017 Ford Super Duty: New Levels of Superiority

By Sue Mead, September 3rd, 2016

The event was a two-day pickup truck camp. And, being a truck lover, I was a happy camper.

Manufacturer photo: The 2017 Ford Super Duty has 17 new class-exclusive features, and up to 925 lb.-ft
Manufacturer photo: The 2017 Ford Super Duty has 17 new class-exclusive features, and up to 925 lb.-ft

For this camping trip Ford packed its all-new 2017 Ford Super Duty to Colorado, along with its heavy-duty class competitors -- Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram models.

Exercises included maneuverability comparisons while hauling a weighty payload, acceleration and braking assessments against the competitors, and driving routes into the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to experience the Super Duty's new technologies in real-world towing evaluations and in off-road settings.

Ford says the 2017 Super Duty is the "toughest, smartest and most capable" over-8,500 GVWR pickup ever. It is also user-friendly with more safety, competence, comfort on the road -- and off the pavement.

What's the biggest news for 2017? There are 17 new class-exclusive features, and up to 925 lb.-ft. of torque on board. The new pickup cab and bed are built with high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy, with high-strength steel underneath. The weight savings of up to 350 pounds was reinvested into stronger components for increased towing and hauling, and higher horsepower and torque.

Manufacturer photo: The 2017 Ford Super Duty has 17 new class-exclusive features, and up to 925 lb.-ft

The all-new, fully boxed frame is more than 95 percent high-strength steel and up to 24 times stiffer than the previous version, while the aluminum-alloy body shared with the all-new 2016 Ford F-150 has proven to be more dent- and ding-resistant than the steel body it replaces. The pickup's bed is larger, and has been upgraded, as well.

Super Duty shares the half-ton's cab from the A-pillar rearward and wears a familiar family face up front. Other significant upgrades are a new transfer case, bigger axles and brakes and larger fuel tanks on the heftiest of the models.

The new Super Duty comes in rear-wheel-drive and 4WD, with three engines: a 6.2-liter V-8 gas; 6.7-liter V-8 diesel; and 6.8-liter V-10 gas; all are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. There are three cab choices; five trims; and different frames, engines and drivelines. The 2017 Ford Super Duty starts at $32,535 (F-250 XL) and tops out at $77,125 (F-450 Platinum).

We drove a variety of the trucks and found that new driver assistance features make the pickup truck feel safer and lighter on its feet: adaptive cruise control accelerates and slows to keep pace with traffic using preset distances and adds brake support -- even when tugging a trailer that weighs in at more than 32,500 pounds. Adaptive steering reduces steering input needed for slow speed, smooths steering at higher speeds and is helpful for towing stability; and Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage uses signals in the outside mirrors to provide cross-traffic alert, detecting objects behind your truck and trailer.

Among the takeaways from our drive was the ease of access to get in and out of the Super Duty with deployable running boards, the ergonomics of reaching pedals (adjustable pedals are available), as well as controls and knobs (they've been designed for use with gloved hands) and the comfort of the upgraded interior with multi-contoured seats.

Manufacturer photo: The 2017 Ford Super Duty has 17 new class-exclusive features, and up to 925 lb.-ft

There are seven cameras available for driving guidance, including a 360-degree view. Side-view mirror cameras and rear cameras work in tandem to project images onto the interior monitor to information.

At the end of Ford's truck camp, our biggest impressions were the driving and towing technologies that enhanced the overall feeling of more capability and safety on the road; the bigger cabins with features that provide a higher level of creature comfort and creatively crafted stowage to convert the truck into a rolling office for powering laptops, goods, and gear.

Specifications

Base price $32,353
Curb weight 5,683 lbs.
Displacement 6.2-liter
Engine type SOHC V-8 (gas) w/SEFI
Epa mileage rating N/A
Fuel capacity 29 gal.
Horsepower (net) 385 at 5750 rpm
Overall length 238.2 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 430 at 3800 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 3-passenger 4x2 Regular Cab pickup
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