By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
Sometimes you just need to tow a 5th-wheel trailer, yank a house off its foundation, or pull that pesky canyon closed. For that, you need a heavy-duty
pickup like the Ford Super Duty. A new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel offers up 440 hp and an incredible 860 lb-ft of torque, the most in its class.
The more powerful engine is a direct response to competition from the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500, both of which have ramped up their trucks' capabilities. The Super Duty has a loyal following that could never be seduced by the competition, but these improvements put the Ford trucks back on top in capability, and may even convert a few Ram and Chevy owners in the process.
If you're looking for a full-size, super-capable pickup that's also comfortable and – dare we say – luxurious, the 2015 Ford Super Duty serves it up.
If you like the big-truck look, but don't need or want that much capability, then the half-ton Ford F-150 offers similar styling and features with a much lower price tag. Manual transmission fans will have to look to RAM to meet their needs.
KBB Expert Ratings
With its upgraded engine, the 2015 Ford Super Duty handily trumps Chevy and Ram. With the new engine, stronger frame, and upgraded towing package, the 2015 F-350 can tow up to 26,500 pounds. Not enough? The even bigger 2015 F-450 can haul an amazing 31,200 pounds.
The name "Super Duty" sounds like something out of a comic book, and its capabilities put it in the league of superheroes. The Power Stroke diesel engine gets more power...
... and torque this year, allowing the big-daddy Ford F-450 to tow and haul a combined weight of 40,000 pounds.
But, to paraphrase a comic, with great torque comes great chassis strength. The new Super Duties have that, too. The 2015 F-350 now has an optional high-capacity towing package that strengthens the chassis to the point where it's as tough as last year's F-450. The new 2015 F-450 adds industrial-strength 19.5-inch wheels and tires, plus an upgraded suspension and an increased capacity for towing a gooseneck trailer.
Yet this is no uncivilized work truck – add the new King Ranch trim and you're surrounded by soft leather and premium features.
SYNC WITH MYFORD TOUCH
Ford's SYNC is more than just an easy way to organize music, navigation and cell-phone calls, it also lets the driver do all that while keeping his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. If you're hauling as much as these trucks can carry, you'll want to avoid distractions.
A full-size heavy-duty cargo-and-trailer hauler isn't where you'd think to find luxury, but with soft leather, a heated steering wheel, and cooling front seats, the 2015 Ford Super Duty truck is an unexpected pleasure.
As you might expect in a vehicle whose trims and prices range so widely – from just over $31,000 for a basic F-250 XL trim to nearly $70,000 for an F-450 Platinum edition – the 2015 Ford Super Duty's cabin ranges from Spartan to luxurious. In regular-cab form, seating is limited to three passengers. Crew cab and super cab models can seat up to six passengers, or five when equipped with two individual front seats and a center console. Lower-trim models have basic vinyl seating that can take a beating and clean up easily, while premium leather can be had on the other end of the Super Duty spectrum.
Ford's Super Duty trucks exude their big and brawny nature, from the massive front grille to the equally large tailgate stamped with "SUPER DUTY" on the bottom. These trucks can be configured with 6-and-3/4-foot or 8-foot beds, and with regular, super cab, or crew cabins. F-450 models come with two pairs of rear wheels that enable it to carry extreme loads. It's safe to call even the smallest of the Super Duty models large. A regular-cab model, which is fitted with an 8-foot bed and qualifies as the shortest, is 227.6 inches in length, while the longest comes in at 263 inches. At nearly 22 feet, that latter model is nearly seven feet longer than a Honda Civic. If you plan to park this truck in your garage, take some measurements first.
Chassis and engine improvements aside, the Ford Super Duty trucks are largely carryover when it comes to standard equipment. Base XL models are strictly for work, offering vinyl seats, manual-control air conditioning, and an audio system limited to an AM/FM radio with two speakers. All Super Duty trucks feature trailer sway control and roll stability control. On the F-250 and F-350, the standard 6.2-liter V8 remains standard, while the F-450 gets the new Power Stroke 6.7-liter diesel V8. Step into nicer trim levels and you'll get heated and cooled seats, a navigation system, and an upgraded audio system.
If you're hauling or towing with your 2015 F-250 or F-350, then step up to the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. Other options vary with trim level, and many are geared toward the duties you have planned for your truck. The F-350 has a new heavy-duty towing package that makes it practically as strong as last year's F-450. Models with diesel engines can be equipped with a Live Drive Power Takeoff to run auxiliary equipment such as a snowplow, truck lift, or cement mixer, and the diesels can be equipped with a "Jake brake," just like a full-size semi.
The 2015 Super Duty is available with two V8 engines, a 6.2-liter gasoline unit that is the base powerplant or, for those needing maximum power, a 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel. Both are fitted to a 6-speed automatic transmission and can be had in 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Models with the gasoline engine run on regular unleaded and are also E85 compatible. An option package can make the Super Duty's gasoline engine capable of running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), but does not include the fuel tanks or other equipment. In diesel models, Ford says nitrogen oxide levels are reduced more than 80 percent vs. previous generations. The EPA does not give fuel-economy ratings for either of these engines.
385 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
405 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
6.7-liter turbocharged diesel V8
440 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm
860 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
With a wide variety of models, bed and cab sizes, and trim levels, there's a 2015 Ford Super Duty truck to meet virtually any budget.
The least expensive 2-wheel-drive F-250 XL with the shortest bed and regular cab has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at about $33,000. Step up to the F-250 Crew Cab long bed in Platinum trim, and you're looking at about $57,000. The F-350 and F-450 are even higher, with the F-450 Platinum at around $70,000. The diesel in the F-250 or F-350 adds an additional $8,000. Those high-sounding prices are still competitive with rivals from Chevrolet and Ram.
Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what other contractors in your area are paying for the 2015 Ford Super Duty. If you're thinking resale, think diesel, as those models tend to have better resale then their gasoline counterparts.