By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Not only does the full-size heavy-duty pickup truck business continue to thrive, it is the last remaining vehicle category solely controlled by the domestic Big Three. To this end, the 2012 Ford F-Series Super Duty has only three opponents: the Chevrolet Silverado HD/GMC Sierra HD twins, and the Ram 2500/3500. Not to say that the Super Duty has it easy, especially when it comes to bragging rights for the most torque or highest tow ratings. While the new Ram seems to be ahead of the pack (as least as far as towing and horsepower go), the differences are not miles apart, and the Ford Super Duty series can more than pull its own weight in every category. If you want a cool truck for light work and play, get a nice F-150 or Ram 1500. But, if you have real work to do, the kind that gets you and your truck dirty from head to bumper, then a 2012 Ford Super Duty is what you'll want to be driving.
All the big HD trucks can tow and haul heavy loads, and the Super Duty is no exception. But, beyond its workhorse credentials the 2012 Ford Super Duty offers an impressive array of comfort and technology features aimed at maximizing efficiency on the open road and at the job site.
If you're looking for the image a big, tough pickup truck conveys, but you're not moving anything heavier than the occasional sofa or some dirt bikes, you'll be just fine with a nice half-ton like the F-150.
The 6.7-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel gets a bump up in horsepower and torque, and a gooseneck hitch is now available on 6.75-foot box.
Driving Impressions Truck owners know that after horsepower and torque, a truck's body strength is its most important feature, which is why Ford has given the 2012 Super Duty the stiffest chassis...the company has ever produced. Featuring fully boxed front frame rails, and thick C-channel frame rails and crossmembers, the Super Duty's rigid frame helps it avoid flexing and twisting as well as improving towing ability. A few days in the Texas outback revealed a truck that is stable, sturdy and easy to drive. The cabin is quiet, the steering firm and direct, and the brakes strong. When equipped with the PowerStroke diesel engine, the 2012 Ford F-Series Super Duty can tow up to 17,500 pounds with a conventional hitch, and 24,500 pounds with a fifth wheel.
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
Ford's latest 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel is a true dynamo, with torque and towing figures near the top of its class.
Although the 2012 Ford Super Duty is all about working hard, you wouldn't know it from the truck's interior. XLT and Lariat trims are very nice indeed, with plush covering for the seats and door panels, plenty of upscale trim on the dash and a number of comfort and convenience upgrades. The King Ranch package pushes the Super Duty's cab into the realm of Lincoln-like luxury, offering an interior so inviting you'll probably have your mud-covered work crew hitching a ride in the truck's long bed. For those who understand that the nature of their work is going to trash the truck's interior no matter how well it's put together, Ford builds the base XL truck with a pretty Spartan interior that can take a beating and cleans up easily.
You'd have to be half blind or 50 yards away to mistake the 2012 Ford Super Duty for any other truck, but just to be 100-percent certain, Ford stamps "SUPER DUTY" in huge capital letters across the truck's massive 3-bar chrome grille. The Super Duty's grille is not just for show; it serves as the air inlet for the truck's engine and transmission cooling units as well as the intercooler on the turbocharged diesel models. Remember, the cooler its moving parts stay, the better the Super Duty performs. It will probably live a lot longer, too. Other useful exterior features include available telescoping side trailer mirrors, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels and a host of bed add-ons.
Ford knows truck owners are an independent bunch, so they've installed a front step bumper to make under-hood checks a bit easier to perform. Around back, the 2012 Ford Super Duty trucks include a hitch receiver matched to each model's capabilities as well as 7- and 4-pin connectors. On the safety front, every Super Cab includes Ford's Safety Canopy System with front-side and side-curtain airbags. Also standard is AdvanceTrac traction and stability control that includes trailer sway control and Roll Stability Control.
Those intending to tow with their 2012 Ford Super Duty truck will appreciate Ford's factory-installed TowCommand System. The system fully integrates the trailer brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS), TorqShift automatic transmission 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 – we hope – back again. Upscale options for 2012 include available heated/cooling 10-way power-operated front seats and lockable under-seat storage.
Ford offers two new engine choices for work, play or any combination of the two. The base powerplant is the new 6.2-liter gasoline V8 that features an iron block and aluminum heads, and is also E85 compatible. Those needing more power can opt for the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel that infuses the Super Duty with both "tow" and "go" capability. Both engines are teamed to a heavy-duty TorqShift 6-speed automatic featuring Ford's SelectShift manual shift control. Super Duty trucks with the diesel engine can be fitted with Live Drive Power Take Off (PTO). This setup allows the transmission to power auxiliary equipment such as a snowplow, a truck lift or cement mixer any time the engine is running.
385 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
405 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.7-liter V8 Turbo Diesel
400 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm
800 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
By CLA on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Strong Motor, tows well."
Cons: "Too much maintenance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Bought truck with 20K on it. Have had in the shop 3 times to have front end worked on. Seems pretty excessive for a truck with only 55K on now. No problems with diesel motor. Mileage around 10-11 all the time. Doesn't matter if towing or not. Seems to be decent truck but not happy with the front end. Mechanic says this is a typical issue with the heavy duty fords."
By BN on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks great, tows great, tons of room"
Cons: "No rear seat heaters, diesel lags until turbo kick"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This has been a great truck. Nice to look at and I get compliments regularly on its appearance. It tows nicely and has some good features. The leather seats aren't all that comfortable, but they look great. The truck could have a few more features (stuff that Ford doesn't offer, but other American trucks do), but I can't really complain too much. The drive train seems solid and reliable, although I've only had the truck for about a year."
By Franklinbean on Monday, January 13, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Pros: "Beautiful truck, great features, very comfortable"
Cons: "Doesn't actually run."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Bought brand new F-350 diesel, "Dooley" double cab long bed 4x4 Platinum. Nearly every option available. Truly top of the line. After 6 mo./6400 miles, started operating at reduced capacity and Ford advised me to get it off of the road. That is where it has been since. The dealership could not repair because no available parts. FMC assigned case manager and even case supervisor. But neither would ever contact me, let alone find a solution. Finally sold off the carcass at a great loss. Do yourself a favor. Steer away from FMC at all costs."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JR on Thursday, January 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Big capable truck - will pull anything!"
Cons: "Big truck, park in back, avoid parking garages"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this truck to tow a backhoe and handle cargo. I got a gooseneck trailer hitch installed and have pulled 10,000 pound loads routinely with no problems. It rides comfortably with a load on board, the seats are great, comfortable with easy to clean leather. Bad weather is not an issue so long as the ground will support the heavy truck. You are above most traffic and so have great visibility even in road mist. Hauling tools and pulling the trailer with the backhoe cross-country I got 15 miles/gallon moving tons of cargo."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Andrew on Sunday, December 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "The truck looks good inside and out."
Cons: "engine is very bad"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"The 6.4 has so many problems it is worse than the 6.0. I have 15 trucks for my business and for sure this is the worst truck I have ever bought."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Husker on Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Manual 4x4 system, solid front axle, tailgate step"
Cons: "No manual transmission option, In-cab storage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought a gas engine Ford Super Duty for it's cheaper cost of ownership and it's reliablity over the PowerStroke diesel. I don't know if my 6.2L gas engine has the 316 hp/397 torque engine, or the 385 hp/405 torque engine, I can't get a strait answer, even through my own Ford dealership. The 6.2L gas engine is a little under powered for towing the heavier trailers, even with the 4.30 gears, but I don't tow everyday and the cost savings by not buying a diesel engine makes up for it. Like most new cars nowadays, the fit and finish is cheaply made, and the interior is mostly made out of plastic. The control knobs seem fairly cheap in quality also. My truck has vinyl covered seats and a vinyl floor mat which makes the truck's interior a lot easier to clean than carpet floors and cloth or leather seats. The vinyl seat in my truck are very comfortable, and I don't know why anyone would ever put cloth or leather seats in work truck. As a basic XL model, the storage inside my Super Duty's cab is terrible, that is why my comfort & convenience is only a 2. If you haul a dog or three people in my regular cab, you lose all your cup holders when the center seat- back is up. Also, there isn't any map pockets on the doors and the glove box is fairly small. Even when the center seat back is down, the center console is very smallish for putting items in it,it's just big enought for a pair of safey glasses and your cell phone. With an XL package, you can't get a factory installed satellite radio or a sliding rear window, why, who knows. Basically, if you are in the light duty truck market for pulling and hauling, Ford is a great choice. Overall, I'm happy with my 2013 F350. I've had long lasting Fords in the past, my family and friends had reliability problems with their PowerStokes, and hope I can get at least 15-20 years out of my new truck."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful