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.
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, Cabela's Edition and Lariat trim levels give the customer more expressive design and the King Ranch and Harley-Davidson packages coddle you in highly refined leather and wood trim. Lariat and King Ranch owners will enjoy dual-zone climate control. All audio systems are MP3-capable, so download your Toby Keith collection.Exterior
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 show – it 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 last generation 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 bumper – under-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 receiver – matched to each model's capabilities – on 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
Those intending to tow with their 2009 Ford 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, and a spray-in bedliner. Accessing the bed is made easier – and safer – by 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 and – hopefully – back 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: N/A
362 horsepower @ 4750 rpm
457 pound-feet of torque @ 3250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.4-liter V8 Turbo Diesel
350 horsepower @ 3000 rpm
650 pound-feet of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Regardless of budget, Ford builds a 2009 Super Duty model to fit it. At a base price of just over $26,500 (the diesel adds about another $7,000) 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 price of about $43,000 and, depending upon trim and options, can top out at well over $61,000. The pricing of a 2009 Ford Super Duty is fully competitive with what Chevrolet and Dodge are marketing for the 2009 model year. Chevrolet prices its base regular cab around $27,000; the diesel is an additional $7,000. Dodge has a base of $30,000 and opting for the the diesel is an additional $6,000. As far as resale values, Ford's residuals are slightly higher than Chevrolet's when compared over time, and both trump those of Dodge.