Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo-Diesel 6.7L V8
Power:
440 HP / 860 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Seating:
2+3
Base Price:
$40,720
As Tested Price:
$70,000 (est)
What weighs 30,000 pounds? Big Ben's Westminster bell. A navy ship anchor. Or as we found out during our first drive program for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, seven pallets of cinder blocks loaded onto a dual-axle gooseneck trailer. The test was part of a raft of towing demonstrations that showcased the new Super Duty's impressive tug capacity, which maxes out at 32,100 pounds. That's 1,200 more than its nearest rival, the Ram 3500, when equipped with its upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. Such is the heavy-duty pickup truck business, a diesel-fueled game of one-upmanship with only three players: Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and Ram. And in this game, the one with the most torque wins.

Until 2014, Ford was the one to beat, with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel bringing 400 hp and a massive 800 lb-ft of torque to the table. Then last year, Ram did exactly that, serving Ford with a beefed-up Cummins turbodiesel inline-six in its freshened Ram Heavy Duty truck line with 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to tow up to 30,000 pounds. But Ford claims it had designed its engine to be relatively easy to upgrade when the time called for it, so for 2015, Ford bolted a larger turbo to the Power Stroke, bringing output to an insane 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of twist, all without reducing fuel efficiency. Maximum tow capacity rises from 24,700 lbs to an incredible 31,200 lbs for the F-450 dually.

As for GM's HDs? They lag behind the lot with their 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, producing 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, you know things are serious when the trucks with 765 lb-ft are the knock-kneed wimps of the lot.

Yet all this one-upmanship isn't as crystal-clear as the spec sheets would have you believe. Ford and Ram are currently involved in a pissing match over how these tow ratings are calculated, and the solution might not be arrived at without legal intervention. We prefer firsthand drive impressions over spec-sheet bench racing (towing?), so we headed to West Virginia to saddle up and ride.
2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

The diesel's power upgrade comes courtesy of a larger turbocharger.

If you're looking at the pictures, trying to sniff out what's new compared to the 2014 models, don't bother; nothing has changed on the outside, save for commercial-grade 19.5-in wheels on the F-450 and some new paint colors for the King Ranch versions.

Indeed, the Super Duty itself hasn't changed much since its last redesign back in 2010, and most of what we said back then about the interior styling and such still applies, too, except that now it looks even more dated. Back in 2013, the Super Duty received the MyFord Touch screen-based infotainment system in its Platinum model, and that system is now available in other trims. Furthermore, a nice new leather treatment has appeared inside the fancy King Ranch model for 2015. Otherwise, it's the same solid truck it was before, offering such niceties as power telescoping trailering mirrors, a backup camera, dash-top storage, a lockable storage area under the rear seat, a clever integrated tailgate step with assist post, and unlike the GM trucks, a good, on-center driving position.

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

The Ford maintained highway speeds better than identically burdened Silverado and Ram HD models.

So this is, more than anything, a diesel story (Ford didn't even bother bringing its gas-powered 6.2-liter V8 Super Duty, which gets by with a comparatively paltry 385 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque). The diesel's power upgrade comes courtesy of a larger turbocharger tucked into the valley of the reverse-flow SOHC 32-valve engine, as well as new fuel injectors. The increased airflow also allows for improved exhaust braking, which is achieved through backpressure in the turbo, and is now selectable via a button to the right of the steering column. What's more, the amount of exhaust braking can be reduced if desired by steeping lightly on the accelerator pedal, a neat trick that is unique to the Power Stroke, says Ford.

So does it work? Of course it does. It's got 860 pound feet of twist, fer cryin' out loud. Ford structured a number of towing tests, including the aforementioned F-450 towing test, and similar tests for the three-quarter and one-ton models, each loaded up to its trailering max, or very close to it, and sent us on our way along a very steep, 4.6-mile grade with a 1,420-foot elevation change to see if they would perform as promised. Not surprisingly, the Fords did quite well, maintaining highway speeds better than identically burdened Chevrolet Silverado and Ram HD models, which huffed and puffed and lost more speed during ascent. The Ford's six-speed TorqShift transmission with manual gear selection on the gooseneck shifter and upper gear lockout likewise proved less prone to gear-hunt than the others.

Inside, the Super Duty feels ergonomically outdated and far more plasticky.

Unfortunately for the Blue Oval, the back-to-back comparisons also gave us a chance to appreciate the differences in cabin comfort and sense of interior quality among the three, and in this respect, the Ford feels ergonomically outdated and far more plasticky, despite offering a competitive suite of technologies. That said, in terms of seat comfort, the trophy goes to the F-Series, hands down.

Ford also allowed us to drive untethered F-250 4X4 models, one laden with 1000 pounds in back, and another empty. Two surprises here: 1) Regardless of payload (which admittedly was less than a third of those particular models' 3,250-lb payload max) we could feel virtually no difference between the two in terms of handling and braking; and 2) Both proved eminently drivable. Certainly, with that much torque heading to the rear wheels, some wheelspin is inevitable when hammering the throttle from a dead start, but we had to work a bit harder than we expected to in order to make that happen – that's a good thing. This isn't a Mustang, after all, and when it comes to three-ton-plus trucks, grip is more important than tire smoke.

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

The luxury rigs we sampled averaged about $70K, which might surprise the average car shopper, but won't alarm the towing/hauling crowd.

At speed, the unladed ride quality is also decent – at least in F-250 form – with less shivering and quaking over rough pavement and good body control in corners. Steering is direct, if slow, and feel through both the steering and brakes is pretty much nil, but that's to be expected in this class of vehicle. The emphases for heavy-duty trucks is and should be on stability and predictability, and the F-250 exhibits both, even from a seating position well above standing height if you're not Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Prices for the 2015 Super Duty starts at $32,240, though the cheapest model with the Power Stroke is the base $40,720 XL grade. Most of the cushy King Ranch and Platinum-grade rigs we sampled averaged about $70K, which might surprise the average car shopper, but won't alarm the towing/hauling crowd. Besides, if that seems steep, just think about it from a torque-per-dollar standpoint, and it seems like a damn bargain.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 66 Comments
      Zaki
      • 5 Months Ago
      860 lb ft of torque comes in handy when pulling your island closer to the mainland or when you want to rotation of the Earth to increase or decrease depending on your mood.
        Luke
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zaki
        I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.
      mikeybyte1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Is the new 860 lb-ft engine available in the F-350? If not then I think Ram is correct in claiming the Ram 3500 is tops in the class. Ford is quoting the F-450 here. AB, you have an entire article on this issue, which also highlights the fact that Ram uses the new SAE J2807 towing standard and Ford does not. Ford uses their own internal rating system. Shocker that an internal rating magically beats an industry standard one. Kind of like their EPA ratings, huh?
        Jon Bowen
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        yes, it is the same 6.7l you get on any super duty diesel
        Dean Hammond
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I'll be shocked if the SAE testing confirms anything different.....
        Tom
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Considering the F450 is not the same as the F350, which is in the same class as the 3500s from Dodge & GM, it's not "The same" other than the engine (if the engine is the same). Ford is using questionable tactics to barely get under the 14,000 GVR for that "Classification" on a truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 16,500 pounds, which is technically Class 5 territory, and it doesn’t have a pickup bed. Just like Ford uses its own towing standards, it's pulling the center consoles out to game the system.
        Humberto Yi
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        the pissing match isn't regarding the engine, it's regarding the max towing of the vehicle in a certain class. The Ram is a class 3 truck, the F450 is as well.....kinda.... after removing stuff from the vehicle like jack/spare tire/center counsel to keep it's payload up, and it's GVWR under 14,000 lbs. Ford claims the F450 has a GVWR of 14000 lbs, exactly. Dodge disagrees, saying that it is actually a class 4 truck, so they state "best towing in class".
          XT6Wagon
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Humberto Yi
          GOOGLE GVWR. When you are done please come back and explain how removing wieght from a truck can alter the GVWR when the two have nothing to do with each other?
          Carpinions
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Humberto Yi
          The pissing match *at the moment* is over towing and who is correct, but trust me, Ford will turn the discussion toward maximum torque at some point in the next few months, if not next week. There will be at least one commercial touting the SD's increased power and how much more authority it will allow buyers to command over the loads they haul. They can't sell the F-250 and 350 as being most tow-capable in their class, so they will most certainly use the "most powerful in its class" argument.
        GO CARDINALS
        • 4 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Join the discussion...yes its available in the F-350 just bought one.
        Omologato
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        F-250, F-350, F-450; same Super Duty chassis, different options
          Carpinions
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Omologato
          Um, no. If that were the case then the F-350 SRW would be no different than the F-250, and all three could tow the same amount, which is demonstrably false. The difference between them is more than a tow package.
      Justin Campanale
      • 5 Months Ago
      DAMMIT AUTOBLOG why isn't the best/new button working? Anyway, I hope than with the next generation of Super Duty, Ford will use aluminium the same way they did with the F-150.
      Piekar
      • 5 Months Ago
      The Ford 6.7 diesel is not a SOHC engine, it is a cam in block pushed engine.
      Bombdefuzer
      • 4 Months Ago
      6.7 Cummins is a really really good engine. I put a lot of miles on mine towing long distances and never had a single problem with the I6. Matter of fact, I never had a single problem with the Ram parts of the truck either. I know everyone has their opinion, but I'd have more confidence in Ford if I hadn't owned a 6.0 PSD. It will take years for me to get past that experience. If I could have a Ford with 6.7 Cummins in it I'd be a happy camper-tow'r.
      brent
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is getting nuts! At what point will these require a CDL?
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @brent
        Many states require a CDL beginning at 30,000 lbs.
        Hunter White
        • 5 Months Ago
        @brent
        If the combined GVWR's is greater than 26K pounds and the trailer's GVWR is greater than 10K pounds then it requires a CDL. The trucks with a dual tandem dovetail trailer require a CDL. If they claim the GVWR is less than 12K pounds for the truck, then the dual single axle 14 KGVW trailers are legal to pull without a CDL as long as they are not overloaded.
      Revis Goodworth
      • 5 Months Ago
      In all due fairness, Ford is not calling their 2015 HD series new. The new product, when it comes out in a year or so, will be new - unlike what Chevrolet and GMC tried and failed to pass off as new - their lame LD's rebadged as HD's and now offer third rate everything. The all new Ford F-Series HD will be a huge game changer - up to 700 pounds less of the truck to start with which will instantly increase what can be towed; of course since the truck will be all new, it will have the commensurate changes to the interior. Unlike Government Motors which tarted up the interior in their old truck and added a few more dents in the sheet metal and passed it off as new, Ford upgraded what matters and left the tarting up to be part of the all new truck. The leader leads and the pretends continue to cross dress.
      Caleb
      • 5 Months Ago
      This truck will be perfect for taking my kids to soccer practice and picking up groceries! Maybe I will put a lift kit on it and roll coal on unsuspecting Eco-mobile drivers haha
        jauffins
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Caleb
        You took the words right out of my mouth. I've got my $70,000 pick-up truck, now let's head on over to Walmar to buy two bags of groceries.
      Karfreek
      • 5 Months Ago
      I would still take the Ram. The beautiful clatter of the Cummins combined with a dashboard that does not look like it was made in the Little Tikes factory.
      lokestreachery
      • 5 Months Ago
      If something is bad, just say it. The interior; bad. The styling (inside and out); bad. The haphazard build quality; bad. For the price, you'd expect the truck to not look so cobbled together, or to use carry over components from the very first generation for crying out loud! For the price, why do the doors sound like the panels are going to flop off every time you close them? I'm glad Ford finally has their stuff together with their heavy duty powertrains, but they need to throw out the old bones of this truck and start from a clean slate for once. This truck is the new benchmark for "long in the tooth."
      404 not found
      • 5 Months Ago
      $70k. Please let this be a joke.
        scottyyyc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @404 not found
        While it may be inconceivable to you, there are people who work for and run businesses that need to haul stuff. My company has hundreds of F150, 250, and 450's because we're hauling trailers full of equipment non-stop. Sometimes, very heavy trailers. While I'm not a huge fan of them for personal transportation, they serve a purpose.
        Jarda
        • 5 Months Ago
        @404 not found
        breathe in, breathe out, you gonna be alright little one
        XT6Wagon
        • 5 Months Ago
        @404 not found
        $70K will buy you an entry level luxury SUV in the X5, Cayenne, RR size class. None of those will tow a 20K lbs gooseneck trailer with ease. Yes, they are nicer inside, but just on a feature list basis they don't have any real advantage.
        jonnybimmer
        • 5 Months Ago
        @404 not found
        $70k is with all of the top-of-the-line options, not starting price. Would you look at a Cayman and see it as a $130k car? Besides, for those who really use these for hauling, they often spend trucker-like amounts of time in them frequently crossing states, so they're more than willing to cough up the extra coin for a nicer interior.
        teknishn
        • 5 Months Ago
        @404 not found
        Everything is stupid on the lot with no miles on the clock. What is more stupid is paying that..... unless you have money to blow of course. I just bought a used King of the Ranch with 100k miles for 16k (near mint condition). Original sticker was right near 60k. The engine is rated to 500k miles so this thing is just starting to break in.
      AcidTonic
      • 5 Months Ago
      If anything the bigger turbo helped fuel economy by not spinning up as easily under part-throttle light-load situations. I can't believe 70K either since I find people driving them like toys. People who you'd think after lifting the truck and putting decals and gun racks would realize they could have bought a real sports car. Just coming back from lunch today some massive F350 lifted to the moon was flying down the road trying to catch up to me. I enjoyed watching him continually go faster to catch me so I just kept speeding up until I had that truck going about 70mph in a 45mph zone. Whenever I'm in the Evo these big trucks just *have* to pass me as soon as they see me. Then a little burnout at the next light to show me their truck is superior..... As if I cared about their stupid truck in my sports car. Now I'm laughing to hear how they pay nearly $70K for that ride. hahaha.
        Carpinions
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Well, they paid double for something that starts stripped in the low 30s. You paid double for something that otherwise starts in the teens. Seems about the same to me.
          torqued
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Carpinions
          And all I see are two morons racing each other in a 45mph zone.
        Dean Hammond
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        you are lost arent you, try towing ANYTHING with your EVO and youll realize Trucks are deisgned for a different purpose....and for that reason they appeal to a different demographic....stereotypes are humorous, because YES there are some Truck drivers that fit your description...but you should look in the mirror and realize theres Stereotypes that fit some EVO drivers as well, one is they think they drive the baddest a$$ car on the road that nothing can comapare with...sound familiar?????
          Dean Hammond
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          @generic beer....because ALL of his comments are pretty much cut and paste...its ALL about the EVO....the satandard against ALL other vehicles manufactured are measured....even THIS beast...you must be new here...
          Dean Hammond
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          exactly how old are you?.....seriously.....
          AcidTonic
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          I get it if the truck saw me trying to tow something.... All I saw was a truck trying to be faster than a sports car..... As in he started it. I could care less about towing.
          Dean Hammond
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          @Acid, you SHOULD be worried ab out towing...whos going to come get you when the EVO implodes?......
        Bernard
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        A tow truck once tried to race my G37s coupe. I finally got tired and let him pass, then I tailed him until our paths diverged. He was furious that he couldn't shake me, and I was glad that he was clearing the path for me and looking out for speed traps. He shaved 15 min off my commute. There's no sense in racing a slower car, I may show them that I'm faster, but after that I'll let them make fools of themselves.
          Dean Hammond
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          only an idiot would think his truck would outrun a sports coupe, yet only another idiot would dignify his thoughts bt repaying the favor....seems BOTH parties couldnt ignore egos....
          BodyBlue
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          You do know only a degenerate dirtbag would street race right? Look into the mirror and look into the face of someone that needs serious mental help.
          AcidTonic
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          That's exactly the behavior I'm talking about. Lately I enjoy seeing how fast I can get them to go. Getting a big truck up to 70mph in a 45mph zone is quite amusing just because of how obnoxious they are.
        teknishn
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        You know, I own 2 F250s, at present.... and also a Lotus, and formerly an Evo IX, and 650bhp Mustang. It never ceased to amaze me that what you're talking about here happens to me quite often when Im in my 'fast' cars. I really don't get it. When Im driving my truck I have absolutely no desire to launch 7000lbs as hard as I can against cars with less than half the weight that will surely be faster. WTF is with these guys that do this? In the truck, I get a much bigger kick out of hauling a trailer up the mountains at 80mph without breaking a sweat while everyone else is laboring in the right lane.
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