2016 F-350 New Car Test Drive
The Ford Super Duty pickups offer a pair of stout engines and can tow bumper-pull trailers that weigh up to 19,000 pounds or 31,200 with a fifth-wheel setup. Their bold, broad exteriors are backed up by cabs that are attractive, functional and comfortable. Platinum and King Ranch models are downright luxurious. The F-450 pickup that shares Crew Cab bodywork with the F-350 remains atop the tow ratings for Ford pickups, while an F-350 regular cab carries the most (payload up to 7260 pounds).
Changes for the 2015 Ford Super Duty are primarily to the uprated diesel engine option and the F-450 returning to a more commercial-grade chassis and running gear. The current-generation Super Duty was introduced for the 2008 model year and last revised for 2011.
The 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine that comes standard is rated at 316 hp in most versions and 385 hp in trucks less than 10,000 pounds GVWR (a few F-250 and single-rear wheel F-350 models). GM's 6-liter claims 360 hp across the line, and Ram's 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter Hemi V8s cover 370-410 horsepower. Ford's 6.2-liter, like GM's 6.0 and Ram's 5.7 may be converted for CNG or LPG operation, which typically results in lower power output.
The 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 is rated at 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque (GM's 6.6-liter is 397 hp, 765 lb-ft, Ram's 6.7-liter is 350-385 hp, 660-850 lb-ft). Both Super Duty engines come with a 6-speed automatic transmission; no manual is offered. Most models offer a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive but F-450 is 4WD only.
There is nothing small about a Super Duty: the shortest, plainest version represents three tons of mass, the largest nearly 4 3/4 tons. While the snout is mildly curved and the airdam lower, the Super Duty is about as sleek as the building blocks they haul, with in-your-face attitude and enough chrome to allow a man to shave in front of it, a handy camping bonus.
Super Duty trim ranges from basic commercial grade to luxurious King Ranch and Platinum models. Buyers can revel in heated-and-cooled leather seats with driver memory, moonroof, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment, navigation, and remote start. The 6.7-liter diesel is quiet compared to those of a few years ago.
Super Duty XL and XLT are designed for the cost/benefit analysis small businesses and independents use: a simple, fast trailer hookup, 4WD to get in/out of the job site, and a warm cab they can blow clean with compressed air. 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 weekend-night parent as well.
As usual, the top tow ratings for the 2015 Ford Super Duty are up from 2014, to numbers that frequently require a commercial driver's license. Best-in-class numbers for heavy-duty pickups sometimes change several times in a year, but they typically apply to just one model. The bottom line is that the Ford Super Duty, Ram 2500/3500, Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD are all highly capable trucks; at this post only Ram's tow ratings meet the industry-wide SAE standard so you can't make apples-to-apples comparisons. Unless pushing the envelope it's far better to choose the truck you like rather than the one with the biggest numbers.
The 2015 Ford Super Duty comes in four trim levels, three cab sizes and two box sizes. Most variants are available with a choice of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Super Duty XL, XLT and Lariat trims cover the most models. Only on Crew Cabs can you get the King Ranch or Platinum, however. Also, there is no short-box dual-rear wheel model, the FX4 package is offered only on SuperCab and Crew Cab 4WD F-250 and F-350, and Platinum usually includes 4WD.
A 6.2-liter V8 is standard on F-250 and F-350, rated at 316 hp and 397 lb-ft of torque, both at 4179 rpm; three of the 31 payload packages are rated 385 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 405 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. The 6.7-liter turbodiesel rated at 440 hp at 2800 rpm and 860 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm is standard on F-450 and optional on all F-250 and F-350.
Pricing for heavy-duty pickups takes megabytes given the possible permutations. The least expensive Super Duty, a regular cab, long box two-wheel drive XL is $31,045 with shipping and the F-450 Platinum with a few options is north of $70,000.
In general terms, four-wheel drive adds $2800-$3500, a long box adds a few hundred, and dual rear wheels about $1200. A step up in trim level may add a different cab, box length, or engine, which is why a SuperCab could be $5000 more than a regular cab, and a Crew Cab could be $7000 beyond a regular cab. Buying up from XL to XLT trim typically adds $2500-$4000, from XLT to Lariat $4000-$7500, and Lariat to Platinum up to $10,000.
Super Duty XL is work-truck, low-budget in nature, with vinyl 40/20/40 split-bench seat and flooring (and 60/40 folding rear on Super, Crew cabs), black painted grille and bumpers, plain trim, and AM/FM stereo, but it does include air conditioning, towing mirrors, MyKey, trip computer, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a weight-appropriate receiver hitch. Options are primarily mechanical in nature: diesel, locking differential, larger tires and wheels, snow plow prep, integrated fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch prep package, camper package, off-road package for 4WD, trailer brake controller, auxiliary switches, dual or larger single alternators, tailgate step, bedliner (drop or spray-in) Work Solutions in-dash computer and Tool Link. Cloth upholstery, radio upgrade and cosmetic packages are available. SuperCabs also include flip-out rear side windows, Super and Crew get an overhead console, and the F-450 has forged aluminum wheels.
Super Duty XLT adds chrome trim, aluminum wheels, 40/20/40 cloth front seat with under-seat lockable compartment, carpet, CD player, SYNC basic, XM radio, power windows/locks/mirrors, cruise control, power-adjusted and heated towing mirrors, privacy glass, integrated brake controller, remote keyless entry, MyKey, and cruise control. Options include most of the work/commercial bits of the XL, 4.2-inch productivity display, captain's chairs, power sliding rear window on Super/Crew cabs, rear camera, rear park sensors and 17, 18 or 20-inch wheels.
Super Duty Lariat 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 with console, dual-zone climate control, power-adjust pedals, rear camera, SYNC MyFord Touch, electric shift for 4WD, eight-speaker sound on SuperCab, Sony Audio on Crew Cab, redundant sound/climate controls on leather-wrapped 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 with defrost. Options include those offered on most Super Duty models plus driver memory, navigation, moonroof, two-tone paint and 40/20/40 front bench seat.
Super Duty King Ranch adds two-tone paint including most trim pieces, navigation, driver memory package and power-adjust pedals, heated/cooled power front seats, unique forged alloy wheels, power-telescoping/folding mirrors, universal door/gate opener, fog lamps, rear park sensors, and Mesa leather for the steering wheel, captain's chairs, console and rear bench. Moonroof and 20-inch wheels are among the options.
Super Duty Platinum models get unique, embroidered perforated tuxedo-stripe leather upholstery with four-way headrests, heated leather/walnut steering wheel, body-color bumpers, unique satin chrome grille, cab steps, tow hooks, door handles and tailgate trim, tailgate step, and unique 20-inch wheels. Options include heated rear seats, moonroof, big hitches and hardware, and bedliners.
Safety equipment includes electronic stability control with trailer sway control (not on dual rear wheels), 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.