By KBB.com Editors
In a year in which the big newsboth literally and figurativelywas presumably focused on Toyota's launch of its new Tundra, Ford arguably trumps Toyota's thunder with its debut of an all-new Super Duty. Constituting some 40 percent of Ford's F-Series sales, the Super Duty is intended to secure the most profitable segment of the pickup market. Ford stakes its claim to "best in class" with improved platforms, upgraded drivetrains and dramatically enhanced capability, particularly with the availability of the new F-450.You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you're into commercial construction, agriculture or recreational towing, if you use a truck as a truck you'll benefit from the Super Duty's enhanced capability, refinement and convenience. And while the custom-spec car may have died a long time ago, the variety of permutations available from Ford's Louisville truck plant gives the Super Duty customer a chance at real customization, seemingly with more content variables than the U.S. tax code.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a pickup (especially in Crew Cab configuration) as a substitute for your SUV, you'll quickly realize the Super Duty's principal mission: Hauling things and peoplenot just people. To be sure, both Extended and Crew Cabs accommodate passengers quite comfortably, but if you're not regularly hooking up to a 10,000-pound trailer or loading an eight-foot bed with more than a couple of two-by-fours, you've overbought what Ford has overbuilt.What's Significant About This Car?
Ford may throw its "Bold Moves" tagline at everything in its lineup above the Focus, but few things are more deserving of the description than Ford's new Super Duty. From its enlarged grille to the tailgate, everything on the new Super Duty has been redesigned or aggressively tweaked. Despite a familial resemblance to its predecessor, this is more than just a "freshening." Rather, it's a full-scale attempt to retain market leadership with a slew of class-exclusive features both inside (Quiet Steel dash panel) and out (power telescoping and folding trailer tow mirrors).Driving It Driving Impressions
In most recent redesigns much is made of a "stiffer structure." Ford's design team complies, with higher-strength front-end structures, fully-boxed front frame rails, thick C-channel frame rails and crossmembers secured by, according to Ford, a "method that optimizes frame capability." The end result, enjoyed over some two hundred miles of south Texas roadway, is a truck offering the maximum in capability while still providing a full measure of comfort and control. This is a big truck but, from steering, to braking, to ride motionenhanced by lengthened rear leaf springsto interior quiet, the Super Duty impresses as one highly refined tool, and not merely a "truck."Favorite Features
King Ranch Trim
In an era of $70,000 Cadillac Escalades, a $50,000 pickup shouldn't be cause for alarm. A King Ranch-equipped Super Duty, however, will raise eyebrows not with its window sticker but, rather, its level of refined "tough" luxury. Constituting both interior (Chaparral leather) and exterior (PowerScope mirrors) upgrades, the King Ranch enhances over-the-road comfort with material, workmanship and appointment upgrades, adding immeasurably to the Super Duty's attractiveness. And, unlike some luxury pickups, there's no intention of appealingovertlyto the Country Club set; this remains a work truck and not a work-in-progress.
Power Stroke Diesel
With its 6.0-liter predecessor, the clattering came from both under the hood and consumer websites. But now Ford has created a diesel offering more power (350 horsepower) and torque (650 pound-feet), along with a cleaner burn, quieter operation and better throttle response (via dual sequential turbos). Add a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for peace of mind and you've got a segment-leading package.
With the debut of the current F-Series, Ford established a benchmark for pickup interiors. In the new Super Duty the benchmark is moved upward in available choices, functionality and appointment. The XL interior provides feet-on-the-dash utility, XLT and Lariat trim levels give the customer more expressive design and the King Ranch package coddles you in highly refined Chaparral leather. All trims benefit from new materials, surfaces and accents. Lariat and King Ranch owners will enjoy dual-zone climate control. All audio systems are MP3-capable, so download your Toby Keith collection.Exterior
A walk-around with Ford's head of truck design, Pat Schiavone, begins with the grille. The Super Duty's corporate three-bar opening is flanked by expansive vertical inlets and topped by "SUPER DUTY" in big capital letters. The expansive grille is for more than simply showit fronts a confluence of cooling capability for engine, transmission and the intercooler that serves the diesel's two sequential turbochargers. Better cooling means, of course, bigger towing. Beyond the imposing edifice are new fender-mounted vents, available telescoping mirrors and optional 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. When compared to the previous Super Duty, the grille and hood blister provide the main visual differentiation.Notable Standard Equipment
We'll start at the front, where Ford has located a front step bumperunder-the-hood checks are made easier when the step-stool is built-in and not something you need to carry with you. In back Ford includes a hitch receivermatched to each model's capabilitieson every Super Duty, along with seven-pin and four-pin connectors. Given the importance of towing capability to the Super Duty mission, the receiver is a standard feature any owner can appreciate.Notable Optional Equipment
As noted, the Super Duty order form provides a wealth of choices for virtually any commercial or recreational use. Those intending to tow with their Super Duty trucks will appreciate Ford's factory-installed TowCommand System. The system fully integrates the trailer brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS), TorqShift automatic trans and tow/haul mode into one safe, capable towing platform. Functional enhancements include a foldable bed extender, which improves load utility when in place and stays out of the way when not needed. Accessing the bed is made easierand saferby the why-didn't-they-think-of-this-before tailgate step option. And for those venturing off into the Great Unknown, an optional navigation system should get you there andhopefullyback again.Under the Hood
Ford offers three engine choices for work, play or any combination of the two. Base powerplant is a 5.4-liter Triton V8 offering 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. For those seeking more from the gasoline side of the Ford family, the 6.8-liter Triton V10 should satisfy, putting 362-horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque under your right foot. Finally, there's the aforementioned 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel, infusing the Super Duty with both "tow" and "go."
300 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
365 pound-feet of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
362 horsepower @ 4750 rpm
457 pound-feet of torque @ 3250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
6.4-liter V8 Turbo Diesel
350 horsepower @ 3000 rpm
650 pound-feet of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
Regardless of budget, Ford builds a Super Duty model to fit it. At a base price of $23,305 (the diesel is a $6,895 add) the two-wheel-drive F-250 Regular Cab will serve most fleet and commercial needs, while the diesel-powered Crew Cab F-450 in the XL trim level has a base of $40,130 and, depending upon trim and options, can top out at well over $50,000. The pricing of an early-release 2008 Ford Super Duty is fully competitive with what Chevrolet and Dodge are marketing for the 2007 model year. Chevrolet prices its regular cab at a $24,575 base; the diesel is an additional $7,195. Dodge has a base of $26,805, while offering $3,000 immediately off the top; the diesel is an additional $5,605. And while 48-month residuals of Ford and Chevrolet (49 percent and 47 percent, respectively) are similar, Dodge is pegged at only 42 percent, reflecting that it's nearing the end of this particular product cycle.