2010 E-350 Super Duty New Car Test Drive
The Ford Super Duty offers an imposing presence with its big grille, deep bumper, and stacked lamps with the headlights on the bottom. Its exterior dimensions can easily be given in yards rather than inches, and the sheer vastness of the sheetmetal can seem overwhelming when it's time to wash it. No matter which trim level or configuration is chosen, no Super Duty will be mistaken for anything other than a full-size, heavy-duty pickup.
The towing mirrors that are available include signal repeaters that won't distract the driver. These mirrors telescope and fold, either manually or powered; a great feature. They feature large reflective elements (mirror glass) for good rearward vision when towing wide enclosed trailers.
A tailgate step is available that makes the climb up to the bed easier and safer, even for young guys. This setup features a 16.7 x 4.5-inch step with a half-ton load rating that pops downward from the open tailgate; it comes with a grab handle rated at 300 pounds that flips up. The package also includes an assist so the very heavy tailgate feels less heavy. The handle makes bed access easier but may need to be lowered again to slide a load in; also, removing the tailgate, as needed for some trailers, may become a two-person chore. Still, it's an interesting feature and a lot of people have found they like it.
With three-and-a-half feet of headroom and just shy of six feet of shoulder room, the Ford Super Duty cab is massive. Materials are job appropriate: No carpet mats for commercial or trail duty. And everything appears well assembled.
The King Ranch version brings a little Lincoln to a pickup while the base model could be cleaned out with a bucket of warm water. On upper-end models, the gear-cog-like chrome surrounds for vents and gauges can create some unwelcome reflections, and the number of textures and colors (we counted up to eight) may be too much for design minimalists.
The dash is segmented into three smaller parts for a more manageable look. The instrument pod provides engine and road speed through large dials with four smaller gauges lined up between; diesel models include a boost gauge and automatics get fluid temperature. The center stack houses a pair of large vents, radio and navigation top center where easily viewed, climate control, and most switchgear. The far side houses the passenger airbag and a sizable glovebox; where so equipped, the center console is similarly large and the huge door pockets could hold the contents of a small tool chest and will soon require their own payload rating.
Climbing in is easier than you'd think because the door openings curl under to the floor and assist handles are well-placed. Side steps are available.
Seats are well-placed and offer a superb view out. The available captain's chairs offer plenty of support and adjustability, for 600 miles without stopping in the diesel's case. The tilt wheel, memory system and adjustable pedals allow great flexibility for his-and-hers seating positions, a nice feature. With the available front bench seat, front-seat passengers may find the deep dash compromises knee and foot room, especially if the driver needs the seat forward.
Adults can fit in the rear of the SuperCab, but we recommend the Crew Cab if adult-sized back-seat riders are expected on a regular basis.
Primary controls for the driver are all easy to find and use, with few tiny buttons to complicate driving with gloves. The reverse parking sensor helps when maneuvering in tight places and can be defeated when hooking up a trailer or anytime you don't want it to beep. The short shifter for the automatic is low on effort but quite more precise. The daytime running lights can be turned off for good neighborly night-time entries to campgrounds or drive-ins.
The ventilation system is capable of cooling or heating the cavernous volume and keeping forward windows and mirrors clear, and seat heaters are very effective; a supplemental cab heater is available for diesel models.
The navigation system is fairly intuitive and will be familiar to Ford family drivers.
Ford's Tow Command integrated trailer brake system is easy to set up and provides better, smoother trailer braking control than any aftermarket controller. However, it may not be compatible with all trailer disc-brake systems, and you can not modify the wiring harness so your fifth-wheel pigtail (or extension) must reach to the rear bumper.