By KBB.com Editors
Despite Toyota and Nissan's incursion into the half-ton pickup market, those who need serious towing and hauling capabilities still rely on the domestic manufacturers to supply them heavy-duty power, and no truck does it better than the 2009 Ford 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 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 people – not 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 New for 2009
Two new trims, the Harley-Davidson and Cabela's editions, join the Super Duty line-up. Also new are an available spray-in bedliner, an integrated trailer brake controller and Ford's Work Solutions program that offers such unique features as in-dash Internet connectivity.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 motion – enhanced by lengthened rear leaf springs – to interior quiet, the Super Duty impresses as one highly refined tool, and not merely a "truck."Favorite Features
King Ranch Trim
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 appealing – overtly – to 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 with last year's introduction of the new 6.4-liter version, 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.