Ford’s F250 Super Duty is a serious work truck. It’s a heavy-duty pickup unlike what most of us mere mortals would ever drive.
Make no mistake, it looks like the ubiquitous F150, the best-selling pickup in the land that every urban cowboy and his brother drives. But the F250, and its even more bodacious brethren, the F350 and F450, are beasts of burden. They haul what nothing else will.
Mine was dark metallic gray and equipped with Ford’s Power Stroke diesel V8 that adds more grunt than the Green Bay Packers’ entire linebacker corps. It also adds more cost, $8,595, to the price tag. By the numbers the diesel packs 440 horsepower and a massive 925 lb.-ft. of torque.
RELATED VIDEO: Hop in and go for a ride in the F250.
So coupled with the F250’s heavy duty suspension and chassis, this bad boy will tow an impressive 30,000 lbs. By comparison, equipped with its standard 385-horse 6.2-liter gas-powered V8, the truck will tow 21,000 lbs. In case those numbers still don’t impress you, a standard F150 is rated to tow 13,200 lbs.
Let’s stick with the Ford’s truck-centric benefits. That bed in back is protected by a spray-in liner that looks good and appears durable. It costs $495 extra. But the test truck had a power tailgate that can be lowered via a giant key fob as you approach the truck. Sadly it does not power back up.
There’s also a fold-down step in the tailgate and a handle that can be pulled up to help a person climb into the bed. It’s a ways up there and in fact there’d be virtually no way for someone less than 6-5 to crawl into even the cab if the truck’s power running boards failed. They fold down as soon as a door handle is released.
Other work features include extendable side mirrors that power out about 2-3 inches to help the driver see around a large trailer if one is being towed. The mirrors also will power flat against the truck’s sides to make it more “compact” in tight quarters, such as a parking garage.
The F250 also has seven cameras on board that combine to give the truck a 360-degree view, which can help with trailering. And there’s a power sliding center rear window in front of the bed, just in case you’d need to extend some long cargo through the window.
As for driving, well, the F250 has plenty of power and its six-speed automatic transmission works well, providing smooth shifts.
Ride is tuned mostly for a work site, and the F250 handles off-roading with ease. It has 8.2 inches of ground clearance, which helps, plus the huge space between the tops of the tires and fenders is substantial. Still the ride is bucky on our rough area roads. While the ruts and potholes aren’t punishing, there is a rock and roll ride here. You feel the truck is constantly moving, swaying and bucking.
Handling is OK, but steering is typical truck vague. The F250 is easy to control on the highway, but requires a little more effort in town as the wheel needs more frequent turning to get you where you want to go.
Pulling into a parking lot spot is easy enough though, and all the cameras helped when backing out. But with a vehicle that’s 250 inches long you’ll want to park where backing space is plentiful and you’ll be away from other vehicles.
If you want easier parking effort Ford also offers adaptive steering, an electric variable ratio unit, for $685 extra.
Ford has done a nice job quieting the pickup’s interior, which is big and roomy enough for five adults. The test truck also added the Platinum Ultimate package that upgrades the trim and adds a twin-panel sunroof, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping alert system, plus those cameras to help in trailering. It costs $2,785.
Seats here were a maroon leather that carried over to the dash and doors with black lower trim and brushed aluminum accents. The seats felt soft but supportive and were relatively flat and wide, for easy entry and exits. Everything was powered up front and those seats also were heated and cooled, while the driver’s seat has three memory settings. Rear seats also are heated.
The tilt/telescope steering wheel is powered and there are power brake and accelerator pedals that can be adjusted to help drivers of all sizes get comfortable. Door sills are lighted and there is good outside entry lighting too.
Sadly the F250 has a somewhat small radio/nav screen, especially considering the overall size of the truck and width of it dash. That could use an upgrade.
Overhead is that big sunroof, plus large visors that slide, a HomeLink system and good overhead lights. The test truck added a panel of toggles overhead that can be used with trailer attachments and for other functions.
Now because this is a work truck, not for us daily office workers, there’s no EPA fuel mileage rating required. That may be a good thing if low numbers scare you. I managed just 13.8 miles per gallon in a week’s driving, about 70% city. That even after Ford chopped hundreds of pounds from their pickups, which now use military grade aluminum in the bodies, vs. steel.
In any case, if you cruise mostly on the highway between work sites, the diesel mileage may improve somewhat. But note too that diesel fuel is roughly $3 a gallon now compared with $2.35 for regular gas in southeast Wisconsin.
All this power and trucky goodness comes at a pretty steep cost, never mind the fuel prices. The test truck started at $63,305 including delivery. With the diesel added and the Platinum package and a few other options, the test vehicle hit $77,015.
A base F250 XL with gas-powered V8 and 2-wheel-drive, starts at a more approachable $37,425, while 4-wheel-drive pushes that to $40,225. Moving up to the 8-foot bed only adds $205.
There also are XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. Each is pricier than the one below it.
If you need an even heavier duty truck to tow a commercial load, the F350 and F450 may be for you. But you’ll need a fatter wallet.
FAST STATS: 2017 Ford F250 Super Duty 4×4 Crew Cab
Hits: Big, roomy, powerful work truck with luxury interior and amenities. Good off-road, huge ground clearance, big sunroof, power down tailgate, spray-in bed liner, power-down running boards, heated/cooled seats, mirrors extend for trailering and fold flat. Big visors slide.
Misses: High cost, bucking ride, low mpg, small dash screen, and huge step-up, if power running boards ever fail. Diesel costs more than unleaded.
Made in: Louisville, Ky.
Engine: 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8, 440 hp
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Length: 250 in.
Wheelbase: 159.8 in.
MPG: Rating not required (EPA)
MPG: 13.8 (tested)
Tow: 30,000 lbs.
Cargo: 64 cu.ft.
Base Price: $63,305 (includes delivery)
6.7-liter diesel V8, $8,595
3.55 electronic locking axle, $390
5th wheel hitch prep package, $370
Rear inflatable seat belts, $185
Trailer camera and tire pressure monitor, $725
Upfitter switches, $165
Spray-in bed liner, $495
Platinum ultimate package (Twin panel power sunroof, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping alert, trailer tow camera), $2,785
Test vehicle: $77,015
Sources: Ford, www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage