By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 2016 Ford Super Duty is the big brother of the best-selling vehicle in America – the F-150. Where that light-duty truck's capabilities end, these heavy-duty ones begin. Available as the F-250, F-350 and F-450, the F-Series Super Duty trucks are built for heavy towing and professional applications. In other words, these are trucks that thrive as being workhorses rather than mere family haulers or office commuters. Even so, while many of the basic models will live their lives as work trucks in fleets, a 2016 Super Duty can be outfitted with luxury-car levels of features and amenities. The F-Series line of heavy-duty pickups comes in a wide variety of cab and bed configurations, offered with stout gasoline or diesel engines.
If you need a truck with a payload capacity of 7,000-plus pounds and the ability to tow up to 31,200 pounds – the Ford Super Duty is ready to work. In addition to gasoline or diesel engines, these trucks can be outfitted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane.
If you don't intend to use the Super Duty for super tasks, save yourself money and fuel by going with the half-ton Ford F-150. If a manual transmission is on your list of must-haves in a heavy-duty truck, look to the Ram lineup.
KBB Expert Ratings
After receiving an upgraded 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 last year, the Ford Super Duty gets only minor changes for 2016. Among them are optional 4-corner LED warning strobe lights and a rapid-heat supplemental cabin heater in cold-weather states.
As you might expect from a truck that can tow gargantuan loads, everything about the F-Series Super Duty is big and brawny. This extends to its experience on the road....
... From the moment you fire up the Super Duty's massive gasoline or diesel engine to the time you climb down from the oversize cabin, this truck can make everything else feel small. This is helpful when pulling 10-plus tons, but it also can make the Super Duty a handful in more confined spots. This is further highlighted if you go with the top-dog F-450, which comes with a crew cab and dual rear wheels on each side. In parking lots, it can feel like a battleship. On the open road, however, the Super Duty glides about as smoothly as you could hope. Acceleration is also what you should expect, as this engine's massive torque is for towing trailers, not burning rubber.
That's the fifth-wheel towing max of a properly equipped Ford F-450. And while the latest Ram 3500 Heavy Duty just topped that number by 10 pounds, Ford's hauling ability is nothing to scoff at.
Even the most roughened rancher can appreciate soft leather, a ventilated seat and heated steering wheel. Heck, his calloused hands will appreciate it more than most of us. While the Ford Super Duty can come with few frills, for those with the means it can also be equipped like a luxury car.
As you might expect in a vehicle whose trims and prices range so widely – from just over $33,000 for a basic F-250 XL trim to over $70,000 for an F-450 Platinum edition – the 2016 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, while premium leather is offered 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, which have not switched to an aluminum-intensive body like the F-150, can be configured with 6-3/4-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. Even the smallest of the Super Duty models is large. A regular-cab model, fitted with an 8-foot bed, is 227.6 inches in length, while the longest comes in at 263 inches.
As noted in the Interior section, the 2016 Ford Super Duty spans a broad swath in what you get. At its most basic F-250 XL form, you'll still have to crank your own windows and will be limited to a 2-speaker AM/FM radio. In that model, designed as a basic work truck, even cruise control is optional. Moving up models brings far more creature comforts. All Super Duty trucks feature trailer-sway control and roll-stability control. On the F-250 and F-350, the gasoline-powered 6.2-liter V8 remains standard, while the F-450 gets the recently revamped Power Stroke 6.7-liter diesel V8.
If you're hauling or towing with your 2016 F-250 or F-350, then step up to the brawnier 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. Other options vary with trim level. Models with the diesel engine 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. Lest you think the Super Duty is all work and no play, creature comforts abound, such as climate-controlled seats, navigation system, Sony premium audio and the MyFord Touch infotainment system.
The 2016 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 (4WD is standard on the F-450). The gasoline engine runs on regular unleaded and is E85 compatible. An option package can make the gasoline engine capable of running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum (propane) 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: NA
6.7-liter turbocharged diesel V8
440 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm
860 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
With so many models, bed and cab sizes, and trim levels, the 2016 Ford Super Duty can fit an array of budgets, from a landscaping business on a tight budget to a wealthy horse owner seeking sublime transportation. As a basic work truck, a 2016 Ford F-250 carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $33,000. A top-line F-450 starts over $70,000. In reality, most buyers will find a Super Duty truck that meets their needs somewhere in the middle. At these prices, Ford's heavy-duty trucks are in line with those offered by GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, while the Ram 2500 undercuts the Ford by a couple thousand dollars. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new truck. Historically, the Ford Super Duty has had fair-to-good resale value, depending on configuration.