- Super Duty styling
- Range of models
- King Ranch trim
- Clever features
- Diesel engine is noisy
- Some interior quality issues
- No tuning knob on radio
Ford gives you more ways to go big than anybody with the 2008 Ford Super Duty trucks.
TheCarConnection.com's editors read the latest reviews on the new 2008 Ford Super Duty heavy-duty pickups to write this comprehensive review. Experts from TheCarConnection.com also drove various versions of the Ford Super Duty pickups, including the F-250, F-350, and F-450. These experiences enable the team to offer you a definitive opinion on this heavy-duty full-size pickup. This review also compares the 2008 Ford Super Duty models with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.
In our "mine is bigger than yours" culture, the 2008 Ford Super Duty pickups reign supreme. Case in point: The all-new Ford F-450 is almost 22 feet long with a beam just under 8 feet and a curb weight of more than four tons. Driving on the expressways, you'll be eye to eye with kids on school busses and long-haul truckers--hubba hubba, for sure.
If you're looking for a heavy-duty pickup, the 2008 Ford Super Duty needs to be on your list. These Fords were all redesigned for the 2008 model year (they were released in early 2007 as 2008 models) and are offered in F-250, F-350, and F-450 series. As the numbers get bigger, the capabilities do, too. There is not nearly enough room to hit on the details of the F-Series Super Duty in this review, so here's just a quick summary.
The F-Series Super Duty trucks are offered in three cab styles--Regular Cab, SuperCab, and Crew Cab--and in two bed lengths. Outside, the powerful styling speaks for itself. Under the hood, Ford offers three engines. Two are overhead-cam: the 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V-8 and the 362-horsepower 6.8-liter V-10. The third engine is the 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 that features twin sequential turbos for linear boost through the operating range and a particulate filter that brings emissions down to a level comparable to an equivalent gasoline engine's. Output has increased to 350 horsepower, with 650 pound-feet of torque available at 2,000 rpm. This brings it up to par with the 6.7-liter Cummins engine used in the current Dodge Ram 2500, which produces the same 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, and within a tick of GM's 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, currently rated at 365 horses and 660 pound-feet of torque.
All powertrains are available with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, rear- or four-wheel drive is available.
An editor from TheCarConnection.com recently spent some quality time with a 2008 Ford Super Duty F-250 equipped with the Power Stroke and the six-speed manual. The truck is surprisingly responsive for its size, and the torque of the diesel engine is so great that when not loaded, it can be started in third gear. Gear changes are smooth and mechanically satisfying. However, the diesel is a bit noisy in this configuration.
Experiences are similarly pleasing in other 2008 Ford Super Duty models with the gasoline V-8 and V-10 engines sporting automatic transmissions. These trucks are responsive and handle pretty well up to the really serious F-450, which uses a recirculating ball steering gear that tends to feel a little dead on center.
The King Ranch editions are particularly impressive, and the quality of the interior appointments is impressive, but there's still a lot of hard plastic, and not everything is finished to perfection. Regardless, in any trim level, the redone interior now rivals anything you'd find in an XLT or Limited Expedition (or even a loaded Lincoln Navigator, if you go for the King Ranch package). A handsome main cluster is anchored by a tach to the left and a speedo to the right, with four smaller secondary gauges in between (including a transmission temperature and boost gauge with the beefy diesel engine). Rugged-looking chrome trim rings surround the vent outlets, even on the base XL, while the swanky King Ranch gets baseball-style leather, wood grain appliqués, and contrast colors for the main dash pad, glove box, and door panels.
An integrated, factory-installed TowCommand trailer brake controller, power telescoping trailer-tow side mirrors with memory, adjustable pedals, a foldable/stowable bed extender, and that very handy tailgate step (with a telescoping pole/grab handle, too) add significant functionality and convenience to the Big F.
The Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD twins also received a major revamp in 2007. Like the Super Duty, these HD models look beefier than the half-ton Silverado and Sierra models. Both V-8 engines (one gasoline and one diesel) are matched to six-speed automatics. This beats out the Super Duty by one gear, but the Ford does offer the manual gearbox for traditionalists.
2008 Ford Super Duty F-250
The 2008 Ford Super Duty imposes its size on its occupants and passersby with its massive grille, height, and length.
The 2008 Ford Super Duty sports a massive grille that's certainly in keeping with this rig's mass and weight.
More than just a "freshening," as Kelley Blue Book calls it, "everything on the new [Ford] Super Duty has been redesigned or aggressively tweaked." Of the 2008 Ford Super Duty, they add, "Beyond the imposing edifice are new fender-mounted vents, available telescoping mirrors and optional 20-inch forged aluminum wheels." To illustrate the sheer size of the Ford Super Duty 2008, USA Today relates a story of driving one into a parking garage: "The clearance marker hanging from the ceiling of the parking garage slaps the roof, hard...That means the next sound you hear from topside will be concrete beams or water pipes." Edmunds says the 2008 Ford Super Duty's grille "looked every bit the square-jawed brute that it was under the skin." They note the three body styles:
"regular, extended, and crew cabs."
Regarding the 2008 Ford Super Duty, "Inside, the tough truck theme is a bit over-the-top," according to Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book calls the Ford Super Duty's interior "a benchmark for pickup interiors" and notes that while the Ford Super Duty 2008 XL interior "provides feet-on-the-dash utility, XLT and Lariat trim levels give the customer more expressive design and the King Ranch package coddles you." In their review of the Ford Super Duty 2008, ConsumerGuide reports, "Gauges clear, well-placed. Most controls are handy, though some radio and climate buttons are a bit of a stretch."
2008 Ford Super Duty F-250
If you're concerned about good fuel economy or handling, the 2008 Ford Super Duty is probably not for you.
The Ford Super Duty is designed for hard work, and it shines when hauling or towing, but when running empty, its performance is less than stellar.
With the 2008 Ford Super Duty, "Ford offers three engine choices for work, play or any combination of the two," notes Kelley Blue Book. Those choices are the base 5.4-liter Triton V8 with 300 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, the 6.8-liter Triton V-10 with 362 hp and 457 pound-feet, and the 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel with 350 hp and 650 pound-feet of torque. In their test of a Super Duty, Edmunds finds, "even with a 15,000-pound trailer hitched to the back, acceleration was smooth and linear thanks to the diesel V8." Car and Driver says the 2008 Ford Super Duty "tows and hauls so easily it makes light-duty trucks look like Tonka toys; with the torquey diesel, pretty speedy for a big boy." And though the Ford Super Duty 2008 "is built to do one thing: pull stuff," they note, "more than four tons [8,120 pounds, to be exact] of Ford fun get to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds."
The 2008 Ford Super Duty comes with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Edmunds reports "buyers can choose either two- or four-wheel drive across the board." ConsumerGuide notes that "automatic transmissions [are] responsive and smooth" and caution "4-wheel drive should not be left engaged on dry pavement."
As a truck, the Ford Super Duty is not required to post government fuel ratings, but Car and Driver says the 2008 Ford Super Duty "gulps fuel in big-rig quantities" and has "RV-like fuel economy." In their test of a Ford Super Duty 2008, USA Today notes that "fuel economy was an issue. The tester showed a meager 6.2 miles per gallon around the suburbs." Though, they add, "Ford quickly protests that it's wildly unrepresentative." ConsumerGuide's test of a diesel F-450 crew cab "averaged 10.1 mpg."
Reviews of the Ford Super Duty's ride read by TheCarConnection.com are mixed. For example, Car and Driver says the heavy-duty truck has a "harsh ride when empty" and is "a big truck with a stiff and jittery ride." They recommend, "put a few thousand pounds in the bed or a trailer and it smoothes out." But USA Today remarks their tester "rode pleasantly...just enough big-truck jiggle and bump but nothing harsh." Edmunds feels the suspension is "firm" and "provided a compliant ride along with relatively crisp handling." Relative to what is the question. Do they mean a city bus or a family sedan?
Steering is "a bit numb on-center, but responsive enough," finds ConsumerGuide. But the Ford Super Duty 2008's brake pedal "felt dead" to USA Today. According to Edmunds, an available system called Tow Command "integrates the control of the trailer brakes with those on the truck."
2008 Ford Super Duty F-250
Comfort & Quality
The 2008 Ford Super Duty trucks run the gamut from Spartan work truck to plush personal hauler.
There are few complaints about the Ford Super Duty's interior's space, fit, and finish, but comfort will depend on which trim you opt for.
Car and Driver, testing a 2008 Ford Super Duty with the King Ranch package, concludes "comfort was a clear priority inside the new truck." The package, they note, "adds baseball-glove-like leather seats among other sensual luxuries." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com have similar views. Edmunds considers the seats "supportive." And USA Today reports, "Leather seats were quite comfortable, front and back. And the rear had generous leg and knee room." In their tests of the Ford Super Duty 2008, Consumer Guide points out that the "standard bench seat has enough space for three large adults, but is too hard and flat for long-haul comfort...Available twin bucket seats are more accommodating." They add, "SuperCabs have fine head room but very limited leg room, and the seatback is too upright to be comfortable. Crew Cabs offer vast head and leg room."
Over the years, as the Ford Super Duty has gotten bigger and bigger, it's also gotten taller.
Now the Ford Super Duty 2008 is so tall that you can't easily just hop up on the bumper and climb into the bed. Helpfully, Ford offers a stepladder that folds into the tailgate--which ConsumerGuide calls "a worthwhile feature." USA Today adds, "Supers sit so high that you actually need a step to help mount and dismount. So figure on steps or boards of some kind."
Edmunds notes that in the 2008 Ford Super Duty "plenty of interior storage is available via a large center console and generous bi-level door pockets." USA Today reports that an optional fold-out steel platform under the backseats "provided a good surface for heavy or dirty items." ConsumerGuide points out that Ford Super Duty 2008 "regular cabs have an 8-ft-long cargo bed [and] SuperCabs and crew cabs have 6.75-ft or 8-ft beds."
Edmunds says the 2008 Ford Super Duty's fit and finish are "unimpressive in our XLT-trim truck...[though] rattle-free." ConsumerGuide notes, "Materials range from stark to fairly fancy depending on trim level and options." Fit and finish levels appear to increase with the most expensive trim. As Kelley Blue Book attests, "the King Ranch enhances over-the-road comfort with material, workmanship and appointment upgrades."
As far as noise goes, Car and Driver states, "The traditional clatter of [diesels] is muted." USA Today concurs, saying, "The diesel was smooth and quiet enough for daily use," but ConsumerGuide reports "wind noise rises sharply at highway speeds." That shouldn't be a surprise, considering the Ford Super Duty is about as aerodynamic as a brick.
2008 Ford Super Duty F-250
The 2008 Ford Super Duty has good visibility, but lacks crash scores—and stability control.
As a full-size truck, the 2008 Ford Super Duty is not required to be tested to the U.S. government's crash safety standards. Other trucks in the Ford F-Series have done well in crash tests, however, and the vehicle does provide some safety equipment--though not as many as one might want.
Safety equipment on the 2008 Ford Super Duty is adequate but not overly extensive. The Ford Super Duty is equipped with standard ABS, driver and passenger front airbags, and optional traction control. Edmunds reports that side airbags are not available on the Ford Super Duty, nor is stability control. Kelley Blue Book notes that child door locks are standard and that an engine immobilizer is optional.
Forward visibility is good from the cab of the 2008 Ford Super Duty. ConsumerGuide says there is "commanding visibility in all models," while USA Today notes the "optional towing mirrors, combining big conventional mirrors with smaller convex ones below them, were easy to adjust and gave good sight lines." Also available as an option on the Ford Super Duty 2008 is a rear camera and rear bumper sensing system, essential for avoiding obstacles out of view of the mirrors.
2008 Ford Super Duty F-250
The 2008 Ford Super Duty offers many standard and optional features to suit most any need.
With five trims, three cabs, and several models, the Ford Super Duty offers a dizzying array of features to fit any taste or budget.
According to ConsumerGuide, 2008 Ford Super Duty F-250 and F-350 are available in five trim levels. "XL and XLT offer a 2-dr regular cab, an extended SuperCab with rear-hinged doors that don't open independently of the fronts, and a crew cab with four full doors. [Ford Super Duty 2008] FX4 and Lariat trims are available as SuperCabs and crew cabs. The top-line King Ranch is a crew cab only." Edmunds reports that the XL trim is "meant for those who just need a bare-bones work truck; it comes standard with plain vinyl upholstery, a basic AM/FM radio, 17-inch wheels and not much else."
Notable standard features of the Ford Super Duty 2008 include a front step bumper, which Kelley Blue Book says "makes under-the-hood checks easier." About the rear of the 2008 Ford Super Duty, they add, "Ford includes a hitch receiver -- matched to each model's capabilities -- along with seven-pin and four-pin connectors."
Ford Super Duty order forms are long. Kelley Blue Book reports they "provide a wealth of choices for virtually any commercial or recreational use." Some notable options on the Ford Super Duty 2008, according to the same source, are the TowCommand System, the tailgate step option, and the foldable bed extender. The 2008 Ford Super Duty TowCommand System "fully integrates the trailer brakes, ABS, TorqShift automatic trans and tow/haul mode into one safe, capable towing platform." Kelley Blue Book calls the bed extender "functional" and contends it "improves load utility when in place and stays out of the way when not needed." ConsumerGuide notes, "Lariat and King Ranch models have specific trim and are available with a navigation system. A sunroof is optional on all crew cabs except the XL."