The opportunity to review a heavy-duty truck (Super Duty in this instance) is a rare occurrence. So rare in fact that I’ve actually only ever driven one RAM HD (back when it was called a Dodge RAM HD), and that was years ago when I partook in the launch of the then new GM Heavy Duty trucks. Despite that, I am by far most familiar with the Ford variant.
And I love it. Problem is that I’m partial to Ford trucks, and have been for a long time and will likely be for a long while yet, especially when I have two Ford pickups lined up as future projects (1969 F-100 and 1950 F-68). Be that as it may, I’m not blind to the fact that the Super Duty is old, and its age is beginning to show.
The Ford Super Duty powers on into 2015 with the most powerful engine and some of the highest capability ratings; however, with these stats come a design that is, although tough, starting to show some of its grey hairs as well as a frame and suspension setup that has fallen behind its competitors.
King of the road
The KO of trucks was once the Ford, but that perception has changed. In fact, reality and advancements have made it so. On the surface, the Super Duty still looks the part although the basis of the truck’s styling dates back to the very end of the 20th century. I still love all that chrome, but more does not mean “more.”
Trims play a huge role here especially when King Ranch and Platinum levels are selected, but a heavy-duty truck is about more than aesthetics.
I do know that the arrival of the new F-150 signifies that there’s a strong chance the updated Super Duty is right around the bend, and it won’t come soon enough especially where the truck’s cabin is concerned.
Behind the times
Should Ford reps be reading this, they won’t be surprised to see that I find the cabin to be dated, as well. The dashboard’s layout is functional, however, materials and fit and finish have fallen behind the likes of the RAM and GM twins.
The seats are comfortable; the cab is incredibly roomy, capable of entertaining five full-size adults and a fair amount of gear. The thing is that these trucks have evolved into oversized luxo-super trucks, and the Ford’s passenger quarters are not up to snuff.
Where the snuff is…
Under the bonnet. Power Stroke is not some random name given to some little engine that thinks it could. No, it belongs to a 6.7L diesel-burning turbocharged V8 that pounds pavement or dirt with 440 horsepower and 860 lb-ft of torque.
This kind of power, mated to Ford’s TorquShift 6-speed automatic transmission, makes for some spirited acceleration times, and the ability to do 11s should you feel like it.
This time around, the road test was short and I was unable to use the Super Duty for towing or hauling duties. Be that as it may, I can tell you that the Ford truck is well suited for daily to-and-fro job commutes. In fact, unladen the F-250 handles quite well thanks to its big-job suspension. Steering is a little wayward, however, the brakes are immensely powerful.
Getting the job done
Depending on the job, the Ford will deliver every time. Towing capacity, when properly equipped, is 6,350kg (14,000lbs) and payload is just shy of 1,500kg (3,300lbs).
Although these numbers are impressive, a number of specialized automotive media have tested and deemed that the Ford Super Duty’s rear suspension and chassis are lacking in the “heavy duty” department. Once loaded, the rear leaf suspension squats rapidly relieving the front wheels of weight thus making steering very light. I suspect that Ford is aware of this shortcoming and will address it with the coming of the next generation SD.
At $37,199, a 2015 Ford F-250 XL Super Duty is a tool for the working man or woman. At the other end of the spectrum, an incredibly well healed and highly capable F-450 Platinum has a starting sticker price of $83,449.
As tested, my F-250 Lariat crew cab 4X4 with FX4 package and more retailed for $75,000. A princely sum for a truck, but they’re far more than just that today.
For this amount, a RAM 3500 Longhorn with the Cummins diesel is easily attainable and is a better overall truck, at least for the moment. In this price range, and given the importance these vehicles hold with their owners, making the right choice is key.