The Car Connection Ford Super Duty F-250 Overview
The Ford F-250 Super Duty is the automaker's entry heavy-duty truck and is available in F-350 configurations. The F-Series goes even higher than that, but those trucks are intended as commercial vehicles and likely only spotted at worksites and on long hauls.
With the Super Duty, Ford takes on rivals like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500-series trucks, the Ram 2500, and even the Nissan Titan XD, which passes some light-duty trucks in towing and hauling, but falls short of the heavy-duty class on those fronts.
Ford unveiled the newest Super Duty pickups in 2015 for the 2017 model year, and announced they would for the first time extensively use lighter-weight aluminum body panels. The truckmaker similarly changed the F-150 for 2015, which drew criticism from rivals and some pickup buyers.
MORE: Read our 2018 Ford F-250 review
The new Ford Super Duty F-250
For 2017, the automaker extensively overhauled the Super Duty range. The heavy-duty pickups use significantly more aluminum than in prior years—similar to the F-150's changeover—and shed 350 pounds in body panels. The overall weight savings over prior years are a wash, according to Ford; the truckmaker uses that weight savings to beef up other parts of the truck.
According to Ford, the truck's fully boxed frame is 24 percent stiffer over the previous generation, and helps the truck tow up to 18,000 pounds when hitched to a conventional trailer.
Two powertrains are available in the F-250. The base truck is equipped with a familiar 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. An optional, new 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 is available in the F-250 that boasts 440 hp and 925 lb-ft of torque. The latter should be popular for anyone with a grudge against a tree stump as it's required to achieve the heady towing and hauling figures.
Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and are available in either rear- or four-wheel drive configurations.
Similar to all other full-size pickups in the U.S., the new F-250 Super Duty is available in myriad configurations of box length, powertrain, cab specification, and trim. The F-250 is available in single-rear wheel configuration only; the F-350 can be single- or dual-rear wheel; F-450 and up is dual-rear wheel only.
In addition to significant chassis improvements, the 2017 Super Duty lineup received comprehensive tech upgrades as well. The 2017 Super Duty lineup offers upgrades such as adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning, which will work together with with trailer brakes; variable electric steering assistance; blind-spot monitors; up to seven exterior cameras, including a trailer-mounted rearview camera; remote tailgate release; and inflatable rear outboard seat belts.
The updated Super Duty went on sale in late 2016 and was unchanged for the 2018 model year, save for minor horsepower and towing rating updates. The Super Duty's turbodiesel now makes 450 hp.
Ford Super Duty history
For Ford, the "Super Duty" name goes back to the 1960s, but the direct ancestors of the current heavy duty pickup line only go back as far as 1999. That was the first year Ford split the F-250 and F-350 from the F-150 line. The first Super Duty pickups borrowed heavily from the 1997 Ford Powerforce Concept truck that first used a plunging window line near the sideview mirrors for better visibility and towing. The window line would eventually be a signature styling element for the heavy duty trucks.
The first Super Duty trucks were powered by massive engines including a 7.3-liter turbodiesel V-8 or a 6.8-liter gasoline V-10. Those engines were paired to a variety of transmissions including 4- and 5-speed automatics, or 5- and 6-speed manuals. Those initial Super Duty trucks skewed heavily toward work trucks; most of the trims didn't come close to today's lavishly equipped heavy duty offerings.
The supersized pickup also spawned a supersized SUV: the Ford Excursion.
The second generation of Super Duty trucks was launched in 2008 with downsized engines and more opulent trims. The Triton V-10 could still be found under the hood, but the 7.3-liter turbodiesel was replaced with a 6.4-liter V-8. A 5.4-liter gas V-8 was standard. All engines were mated to either a 5-speed automatic, or 5- or 6-speed manuals.
For the first time, Ford offered the Super Duty in King Ranch and Harley Davidson trims, catering to buyers looking for the same luxury found in the F-150 in their Super Duty trucks. The success of heavy-duty trucks from all of the domestic automakers was hard to ignore and Ford significantly overhauled the Super Duty Series again in 2011 to keep up with General Motors and Chrysler.
The heavily upgraded 2011 Super Duty sported a massive grille increased power figures to match. A 6.2-liter V-8 came standard, which could be upgraded to the V-10. An upgraded 6.7-liter turbodiesel was available beginning in 2011, and jumpstarted the heavy-duty pickup arms race. Initially the unit was rated at 735 lb-ft of torque before being upgraded to 800 lb-ft and then again to 860 lb-ft. In America, Ford stopped offering Super Duty trucks with manual transmissions for this generation.
Ford announced in 2015 that an all-new Super Duty truck would arrive in late 2016 for the 2017 model year.