2004 F-350 New Car Test Drive
The 2004 Ford Super Duty pickups look like serious big rigs, and they are. The F-250 and F-350 are willing and able to pull their weight. When you need haul more than 3000 pounds, or tow more than 9900 pounds, then even the best-equipped F-150 isn't quite up to the job. That's where the Super Duty trucks come in, with payload capacities of up to 5500 pounds, and the ability to tow up to 14,200 pounds.
The Ford Super Duty F-250 competes with the other heavyweights from Detroit: the Dodge Ram 2500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500, and GMC Sierra 2500. The F-350, with its optional dual rear wheels, competes against the 3500-series models from GM and Dodge.
The Super Duty pickups feature first-class powertrains. The standard 5.4-liter V8 gas engine was revised for 2003 for quieter and more refined operation. For 2004, the 6.0-liter turbo-diesel V8 has been recalibrated for lower emissions. A 6.8-liter gasoline V10 is also available.
The Super Duty trucks are not the latest in truck design and don't offer the level of chassis sophistication of their counterparts from GM and Dodge. So they don't ride or handle as well.
However, Ford continues to update its Super Duty pickups to make them more family-friendly. The base interior was recently upgraded and a power sliding moonroof is available for crew cabs. Several other new interior features further enhance comfort and convenience for 2004. Ford sells more pickups in the over-8500-pound GVWR range than GM or Dodge.
Like most domestic pickups, the Ford Super Duty is offered in more configurations than any normal human can count. Ford offers more than 30 variations on the F-250 (the so-called 3/4-ton). And nearly 60 iterations are available in the F-350 (or 1-ton size). Any one of them can pull heavy loads. They offer more truck most consumers will ever need. (And when they aren't enough, Ford builds bigger F-450, F-550, F-650, and F-750 trucks for the commercial market.)
F-250 and F-350 are available in regular-cab, extended-cab (SuperCab) and Crew Cab configurations. Crew Cab versions come with four full-sized doors, and are the most passenger-friendly models. Both two- and four-wheel drive are available as well. Four-wheel-drive models offer either manual-locking or shift-on-the-fly auto-locking hubs.
Short-bed (6-3/4 foot) and long-bed (8-foot) versions are available. Wheelbase lengths include 137 inches (regular cab), 142 inches (SuperCab short-bed), 158 inches (SuperCab long-bed), 156 inches (Crew Cab short-bed), and 172 inches (Crew Cab long-bed).
All F-250 models come with single rear wheels. F-350 models are available with single rear wheels (SRW) or dual rear wheels (DRW). The latter, often called 'dualies,' are great for towing as they offer higher tongue-weight ratings.
Four trim levels are offered: standard XL, mid-level XLT, luxurious Lariat, and ultimate King Ranch. XL models are pretty basic, with only a two-speaker stereo and fixed-interval wipers. Air conditioning ($805) is optional. XLT models are equipped more like the average passenger car, while luxurious Lariats come with an overhead console, leather seats with six-way power, and aluminum wheels. King Ranch models, available only with the Crew Cab, come with four leather captain's chairs, extensive leather appointments, and unique paint and trim.
Four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS are standard on all Super Duty models.
Base prices range from $21,750 for a two-wheel drive XL regular cab up to $41,705 for a long-wheelbase, four-wheel-drive King Ranch Crew Cab with dual rear wheels.
Stand-alone options include a reverse proximity sensor ($245) for XLT, Lariat, and King Ranch (a great feature on these big trucks); and a power driver's seat for XLT ($290). Power telescoping trailer mirrors are available on XLT ($220) and standard on Lariat and King Ranch; they feature heated glass and integral turn signal repeaters. Manually telescoping mirrors are available ($125) on XL. A power sliding rear cab window is available on late-2004 models. A Sport Package ($895) for XLT SuperCabs and Crew Cabs adds chromed tubular step bars; body-color grille, bumpers, and door handles; sliding rear cab window; fog lamps; privacy glass; an exclusive twill cloth 40/20/40 split-bench front seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The FX4 Off-Road Package ($225) adds skid plates, Rancho shock absorbers, and a steering damper. Skid plates ($100) are also available as a stand-alone option.
Harley-Davidson Editions of the 4WD SuperCab and Crew Cab are also available. They come with all the King Ranch goodies plus 18-inch aluminum wheels and unique Harley-Davidson design cues inside and out. Color choices consist of black, black and orange, and black and gray. Prices range from $39,340 for a short-wheelbase F-250 SuperCab to $42,800 for a long-wheelbase F-350 Crew Cab.