2009 F-350 New Car Test Drive
The Ford Super Duty line of heavy-duty pickup trucks received new styling inside and out along with a re-engineered suspension that delivers a smoother ride for 2008, so it's still a very new truck. In fact, it's the newest design among the heavy-duty pickups. Changes for 2009 are limited to trim and equipment.
A Cabela's special edition has joined the 2009 Super Duty FX4 line, a fun choice for hunters. Meanwhile, the Harley-Davidson edition has expanded to include the F-450 model, perfect for drivers who need to haul a big load of hogs. The F-450 is sort of a super Super Duty, a factory medium-duty big truck in pickup guise; Ford continues to be the only high-volume manufacturer to offer this type of truck.
Ford's Sync voice-activated hands-free communications and entertainment system is available on 2009 Super Duty models; Sync uses USB ports and Bluetooth wireless connectivity to link phones, media players, and other devices to the truck's system. Voice-activated navigation with Sirius Travel Link and an eight-inch touch-screen is available, also. For commercial and owner-operators, Ford's Work Solutions system provides facilities for GPS linking; add a laptop and printer and your truck is a rolling office.
Every model in the lineup gets more standard equipment for 2009. Even the base model now comes with air conditioning, Securilock and trailer towing mirrors, while top-line trim comes with heated seats and a rearview camera. That camera is hugely helpful when backing the truck up to a trailer coupling; no more jumping out six times to get it lined up properly.
This latest generation of Ford Super Duty trucks is more refined than the pre-2008 models. It has more of the work ability you expect from a heavy-duty pickup, yet it is more comfortable, rides better, and delivers more in the cost-benefit analysis. It's also more environmentally friendly, a lexicon not normally applied to big trucks. With realistic expectations, any faults will seem minute when compared to the ability to plow a big parking lot, pull a small car, or tow a small house.
Need a truck to work? The Super Duty line can haul from one to three tons. It can tow from three tons to more than 12 tons. It can carry three to six real-world people with room to spare. And the door pockets, glovebox, and console will hold more stuff than the entire trunk of some sports cars. If you don't need a truck to perform heavy duty work, stop reading here and look for New Car Test Drive's review of the new Ford F-150 lineup.
The 2009 Ford Super Duty comes in myriad configurations, with four trim levels, four weight divisions, two box sizes (6.75 feet, 8 feet), with the majority available in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Almost every permutation is built. Exceptions: The King Ranch version is offered only on Crew Cabs, the F-450 is long-bed Crew Cab only; the FX4 trim is not offered on 2WD, F-450, or with a regular cab.
A 5.4-liter V8 with 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque is standard on all models up to the F-350 Crew Cab DRW, which has the 362-hp, 457 lb-ft 6.8-liter V10 standard. Both the V10 and 6.4-liter diesel (350 hp, 650 lb-ft) are optional across the F-250/F-350 spectrum. The F-450 only comes with the diesel. A six-speed manual is standard, a five-speed automatic is available.
All prices in parentheses () for models below are for an F-350 2WD single-rear wheel (SRW). Expect to add $2500-$3000 for four-wheel drive, $3000 to move up from a Regular Cab to a SuperCab, $2000-$2500 to upgrade from SuperCab to Crew Cab, $200 for a long bed, and $800-$900 for dual rear wheels (DRW) except where standard on F-450.
The base XL ($25,315) is commercial in nature, with vinyl seats and flooring, black painted grille and bumpers, plain trim, and AM/FM stereo, but it does include air conditioning towing mirrors, and a weight-appropriate receiver hitch. Options include mechanical upgrades (engine, limited-slip differential, larger tires, traction control, camper package, off-road package for 4WD, Tow Command, etc.), auxiliary switches, reverse sensors, and a tailgate step.
XLT trim ($29,200) adds chrome trim and wheels, 40/20/40 cloth front seat, carpet, air conditioning, CD player, power windows/locks/mirrors, power-adjusted and heated towing mirrors, privacy glass, the integrated brake controller, remote keyless entry, tilt wheel and cruise control. Options include aluminum wheels, captain's chairs w/power and heat, Audiophile sound system, adjustable pedals, Sport trim package, moonroof, and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
FX4 ($37,585) is the off-road model and it comes with 18-inch wheels and LT275/70R18 all-terrain tires, standard limited-slip differential, skid plates, fog lamps, power fold-and-telescoping tow mirrors, power captain's chairs seats, overhead console, Sirius radio, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options include 20-inch wheels and navigation/Audiophile system. FX4 models can be ordered with outdoor outfitter Cabela's package of two-tone paint scheme in five colors, cloth or leather upholstery, Paldeo plood trim, all-weather floor mats, extra lockable interior storage spaces, custom mud flaps, and badges and logos.
Lariat ($35,480) adds polished wheels, heated leather power front seats, dual-zone climate control, backup camera, Sync, trip computer, redundant sound/climate controls on wheel, woodgrain trim, illuminated visor mirrors, privacy glass and a powered sliding rear window. Options include those offered on most Super Duty models plus captain's chairs and universal door opener.
King Ranch ($41,290), offered only on Crew Cabs, starts with Lariat and upgrades with Chaparral leather for the four captain's chairs, the two center consoles and steering wheel, driver memory package, powered trailer tow mirrors, unique forged alloy wheels, two-tone paint, and special badging.
Harley-Davidson editions ($45,750) are individually numbered and feature special black paint with blue flame work. The flame design is carried to the gauges and instrument panel while the seats, console and door panels are done in perforated black leather with blue leather underneath. Big chrome badges are plentiful inside and out. The Harley-Davidson edition is available for the F-450 as well as the F-350.
Safety equipment that comes standard on all models includes antilock brakes, dual front airbags, adjustable height outboard belt anchors, and child-seat LATCH anchors; a passenger airbag deactivation switch is provided on Regular Cab and SuperCab models.