2011 E-350 Super Duty New Car Test Drive
The 2011 Ford Super Duty line has all-new engines, a new transmission, new front styling and a slew of less-noticeable updates. The pickup version of the F-450 has been scaled closer to F-350 but maintains towing superiority, while the cab-and-chassis F-450 and F-550 serve the commercial market.
A new 385-hp 6.2-liter gasoline V8 is standard and similar to Ram's 5.7 Hemi and GM's 6-liter in output. The new 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 (390 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque) made Super Duty the first production pickup to surpass that 700 marker. Both engines come with a new six-speed automatic transmission.
While the snout is mildly curved and aerodynamics have improved, the Super Duty still mirrors a concrete block with in-your-face attitude and enough chrome to shave in front of it. There is nothing small about a Super Duty and even the shortest, plainest version represents three tons of mass.
For fleet and owner-operator buyers, Ford's Work Solutions system provides facilities for GPS linking, computer access to your office (with cell signal), 110-volt power in-cab, and RFID tags for your tools so you never leave any on the job site. Crew Chief allows a dispatcher real-time truck location, speed, and fuel economy, potentially useful for the Friday-night parent as well.
Towing owners will appreciate the optional under-box fifth-wheel hitch platform and updated integrated trailer brake controller. Side and curtain airbags are now offered.
Luxury-oriented buyers can revel in heated-and-cooled Chaparral leather seats with driver memory, moonroof, one of two types of rear camera, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment, navigation, and, since mileage isn't a Super Duty strong suit, remote start. The new diesel is quiet but don't expect luxury levels of noise control and refinement in a truck.
More best defines the 2011 Super Duty relative to its predecessors: more payload, more towing, more weight, more efficient, more choices, but not necessarily more money. With realistic expectations, drawbacks seem small when compared to the ability to plow a big parking lot, carry a car or tow a small home.
If you don't plan on working your truck a Super Duty is not for you, and we don't define working as pulling a 7000-pound boat or RV a few times a year. A Super Duty can haul a ton of camping gear and dirt bike fuel, tow an eight-ton toybox and carry six real-world people, simultaneously, without breaking a sweat.
The 2011 Ford Super Duty comes in four trim levels, three cab sizes and two box sizes (6.75 feet, 8 feet), virtually all in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The XL, XLT and Lariat trims extend to most models. Only on Crew Cabs can you get the top-line King Ranch interior, however. Also, there is no short-box dual-rear wheel model, and the FX4 package is offered only on SuperCab and Crew Cab 4WD F250 and F350.
A 6.2-liter V8 with 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque is standard on all F-250 and F-350 models. The F-450 pickup comes standard with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel rated at 390 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, and four-wheel drive can be lever or switch operated.
Pricing for heavy-duty pickups take megabytes given all the possible permutations. The least expensive Super Duty, a regular cab, long box two-wheel drive XL is $28,020 and the most expensive is the F-450 King Ranch Crew Cab long box diesel, about twice that.
In general terms, four-wheel drive adds $2,500-$3,200, a long box adds $200-$300, and dual rear wheels $1000-$1200. A step up in trim level may add a different cab, box length, or engine, which is why a SuperCab is $3500-$4700 more than a regular cab, and a Crew Cab is $5000-$6750 beyond a regular cab. Buying up from XL to XLT trim typically adds $2500-$3500, from XLT to Lariat $4000-$7500, and Lariat to King Ranch $3000-$6500.
The Super Duty XL ($28,020 for F-250 Regular Cab 2WD) is work-truck, low-budget 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, trip computer, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a weight-appropriate receiver hitch. Options are primarily mechanical in nature: diesel ($7,835), locking differential, larger tires and wheels ($300-$1,985), integrated fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch prep package ($380), camper package, off-road package for 4WD, Tow Command ($230), auxiliary switches, reverse sensors, tailgate step, Work Solutions in-dash computer ($1395) and Tool Link ($1120). SuperCabs also include flip-out rear side windows, Super and Crew get an overhead console, and the F-450 has forged aluminum wheels.
XLT trim ($31,300 for F-250 Regular Cab 2WD) adds chrome trim, aluminum wheels, 40/20/40 cloth front seat with under-seat lockable compartment, carpet, CD player, power windows/locks/mirrors, power-adjusted and heated towing mirrors, privacy glass, the integrated brake controller for single-rear wheel trucks, remote keyless entry, MyKey, and cruise control. Options include captain's chairs w/power and heat, Audiophile sound system, adjustable pedals, moonroof, and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Lariat trim ($38,405 for F-250 SuperCab 2WD) adds polished aluminum 17-inch wheels for F-350 dually and bright 18-inch aluminum wheels for single-rear-wheel trucks, heated leather power front seats, dual-zone climate control, power-adjust pedals, backup camera, SYNC, redundant sound/climate controls on wheel, woodgrain trim, power fold-and-telescoping tow mirrors, illuminated visor mirrors, privacy glass, keypad door entry, 110-volt outlet and a powered sliding rear window. Options include those offered on most Super Duty models plus captain's chairs and universal door opener.
The King Ranch ($45,715) for F-250 Crew Cab 2WD) adds two-tone paint including most trim pieces, driver memory package, heated/cooled power front seats, unique forged alloy wheels, rearview camera, and Chaparral-leather for the steering wheel, four captain's chairs and both center consoles.
Safety equipment includes electronic stability control, trailer sway control, and hill-descent control, antilock brakes, SOS post-crash alert, dual front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, adjustable height outboard belt anchors, child-seat LATCH anchors, three rear seat headrests on Crew Cab and a passenger airbag deactivation switch on regular and SuperCabs.