2006 F-350 New Car Test Drive
The Ford Super Duty pickups benefit from a major chassis design for 2005 that improves ride quality, handling and maneuverability. Payload capacities and towing capability have been improved. Towing is greatly enhanced by a new integrated electric brake control. Not only is it elegantly designed right into the instrument panel, but it operates much better than aftermarket controllers, making it easier to modulate the brakes for smooth, accurate stops.
Fresh styling gives the 2005 Ford Super Duty pickups a more masculine, big-rig appearance. Inspired by Ford's Tonka truck concept, the new Super Duty trucks look like they're ready to get some serious work done. And they are.
When you need to haul more than 3,000 pounds, or to tow more than 9,900 pounds, then even the best-equipped F-150 isn't up to the job. That's where the Super Duty trucks come in. Payload capacities of up to 5800 pounds are available in the 2005 Super Duty trucks, with tow ratings of up to 17,000 pounds. The Ford F-250 Super Duty competes with the Dodge Ram 2500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500, and GMC Sierra 2500. The F-350, with its available dual rear wheels, competes against the 3500-series models from GM and Dodge. None of these, however, match the Super Duty's top payload and towing capacities.
The 2005 Super Duty pickups continue to feature first-class powertrains. Both of the V8 gas engines are upgraded for 2005. The standard 5.4-liter V8 is now based on Ford's modular V8 architecture and incorporates three valves per cylinder for better breathing, improved power delivery and cleaner exhaust. The 6.8-liter V10 also gets the modular-based, three-valve cylinder heads, giving it class-leading horsepower and torque. The V10 and 6.0-liter turbo-diesel now have electronic throttle control, expanding their utility in accessory applications.
Styling revisions for 2005 include a bolder, almost brutish front end and broader flanks. The frame is stronger, now boasting a fully boxed front section and thicker walls in high-stress areas. A reconfigured rear suspension improves the ride and load balance, and a new front suspension sharpens steering response and significantly tightens the turning circle.
The new Super Duty interiors feature increased use of higher grade materials, better assembly quality and more people-oriented amenities make for surprisingly comfortable accommodations, especially in the up-level trims. We love the King Ranch edition, swathed in rich cow hides that looks like they came right out of the tack room.
Ford Super Duty is offered in more configurations than we can count. Ford offers some 30 variations on the F-250 (the so-called 3/4-ton pickups) and nearly 60 iterations of the F-350 (or 1-ton size). All can pull heavy loads and are more truck than most consumers will ever need. Base prices range from $22,390 for a plain XL regular cab up to $41,830 for a long-wheelbase, four-wheel-drive King Ranch Crew Cab with dual rear wheels.
The F-250 and F-350 Super Duty models 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. Four-wheel-drive models offer either manual-locking or optional electronic, shift-on-the-fly auto-locking hubs ($185).
Short-bed (6-3/4 foot) and long-bed (8-foot) versions are available. Wheelbase lengths vary by body style: 137 inches for a regular cab, 142 inches for a SuperCab short-bed, 158 inches for a SuperCab long-bed, 156 inches for a Crew Cab short-bed, and 172 inches for 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, although they do give up an almost meaningless 300 pounds to the SRW models in fifth wheel/goose neck maximum towing capacity.
The base engine across the line is the new, 24-valve, 5.4-liter V8. The 6.8-liter V10 is optional on all models ($600), as is the 6.0-liter diesel V8 ($5,100). The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, with a 5-speed automatic optional ($1490).
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, AM/FM stereo and fixed-interval wipers. Air conditioning ($850) is optional, as are a CD stereo ($275) and seat upgrades, including a vinyl split bench ($400) and cloth buckets ($390). XLT models are equipped more like the average passenger car, with air conditioning and more stereo choices. Lariats come with automatic air conditioning, 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, a nice upgrade over older heavy-duty pickups with rear drum brakes.
Stand-alone options include a reverse proximity sensor ($245) for XL, 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 the Lariat ($185). A Sport Package ($1,085) 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 two-tone cloth 40/20/40 split-bench front seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other options include a moonroof ($995), adjustable pedals ($120), cruise control/tilt steering column ($385), roof marker lights ($55), and running boards.
The TowCommand package on the XL ($330) includes the manually telescoping mirrors. On the XLT and Lariat, TowCommand adds the integrated trailer brake controller and heat to the telescoping mirrors ($425). The integrated trailer brake controller is also available as a stand-alone across the line ($205), as are upfitter switches ($60). Also, TowCommand requires the automatic transmission.
The FX4 Off-Road Package ($225) adds skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers; the steering damper.