2019 Ford Super Duty F-250 Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
December 12, 2018

The 2019 Ford Super Duty maxes out on technology and convenience, but 32,000 pounds of pull keeps its bona fides intact.

The 2019 Ford Super Duty heavy-duty pickup truck family runs the gamut from bare-boned work trucks to luxurious versions with swanky interiors and generously applied tech features.

Redesigned in 2017, the Super Duty shares some styling elements with the lighter-duty Ford F-150. Both are aluminum-intensive, but the Super Duty has more steel in its frame for better chassis strength, while the F-150 makes most of its body panels from lighter-weight material.

The Ford Super Duty nets a 6.5 on our overall scale, and that’s without the benefit of scores in two categories. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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One would no doubt send it lower: the EPA doesn’t mandate fuel economy testing for trucks in this weight class. In the absence of data we go without a score there. We also don’t rate its crash protection due to incomplete tests, though the NHTSA’s ratings thus far are mixed, at best.

Where the 2019 Super Duty does well is in the things it’s engineered to do: pull an astonishing amount of weight behind it and carry unreal weight in its bed. That it also can carry up to six people in weatherproof comfort adds to its appeal, even before Ford lathers it up with rich leather and wood trim.

There’s nothing pedestrian about that Super Duty performance, but a base 6.2-liter V-8 gets plunked into the more pedestrian versions, along with a 6-speed automatic and a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. It’s far more common, but less capable than, the available 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8. The long-haul and tow champ of the family, the diesel Super Duty can drive up to 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel, and can pull up to 32,000 pounds, provided you have a commercial trucking license.

The Super Duty comes in stripped-down XL trim, and in a more reasonably equipped XLT version. Beyond those work models, Ford sells Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trucks with touchscreen infotainment, B&O Play audio, and leather upholstery. Spend wisely, as it’s all too easy to tach up a Super Duty beyond $80,000.

5

2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Styling

If you’re asking the Super Duty to dodge its truck looks, you’re asking too much.

The 2019 Ford Super Duty knows its job, and it does it well. That’s reflected in sheet metal and in cabin style, both of which drop any pretense at carlike influences.

We approve, heartily. This thing looks like it could crush granite between its headlights. It’s a truck, and trucks are a 5 for styling, and anyone who says different is asking for it. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Ford has dialed down some of the cartoonish machismo from the last Super Duty in this one, we think. The C-shaped headlights bracket powerful bars of chrome on the front end, yes, and the Super Duty name stamped into the hood comes off with all the careful, modulated tone of a reality-TV reunion show.

Sheet metal reminiscent of the F-150 keeps it all in check. The creases are smarter, most of the cues subtler. What had looked comically butch in the last Super Duty now shows some restraint, and for a truck that rakes in so much cash for Ford it should have its own mansion wing, that’s admirable.

The Super Duty cabin eschews style for substance. In high-end trims it can pull off a luxurious air, but utility is its first name. Vinyl trim’s never more than a ticked order box away, even on Platinum trucks. Utilitarian in its shapes, it’s pleasantly executed to high-dollar standards from the Lariat level on up. It doesn’t have the understated style of higher-trim trucks made by GM, or the outre cowboy look of some Ram models, but the Ford strikes its own balance of comfort and flair.

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2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Performance

The 2019 Ford Super Duty has the brawn for its long list of chores, while it makes daily driving more manageable.

Ford sells the 2019 Super Duty in a few basic configurations. It offers two V-8 engines, a 6-speed automatic with either, and a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive.

In any, it’s a supremely capable work machine that doesn’t feel too arduous to drive on the street. For that, we give it a 6 for performance. Its amazing capacity for work gets offset by the truckiest of truck-like handling traits, trick steering aside. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most Super Duty trucks sport a 6.2-liter V-8 with 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet. So equipped, the truck can carry up to 7,680 pounds of stuff in the bed. This engine’s coupled to a 6-speed automatic, and a choice between rear- and four-wheel drive.

It wouldn’t be a super-duty truck without a seemingly outlandish claim for the ad campaign. How does a tow rating of 32,000 pounds sound? Like a typo? It’s not, once the available 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 gets installed in the Super Duty. It’s worth 440 hp and 925 lb-ft of torque. Paired also to a 6-speed automatic (but not the same one as in the gas-powered truck), the Super Duty can pull that much poundage. Of course, doing so requires a commercial driving license, and the maximum torque isn’t available off the line (maybe in a future world with battery-powered trucks, it will).

Ford sells the Super Duty in single-wheel or duallie configurations from the F-350 model on up, which broadens the palette even further, and removes the Super Duty even more from rational comparison with passenger vehicles. We’ll leave it at this: the Super Duty isn’t a beast to drive, but even an F-150 will seem more like a Focus ST when driven back to back.

That’s despite the big improvements in this generation of the Super Duty. They include a stiffer ladder frame that makes life easier for nearly every other driving system, a new front suspension, and a revised rear suspension that take advantage of the added structural integrity.

A don’t miss-feature that makes the Super Duty even more livable on the streets is Ford’s variable-ratio steering. It can speed or slow the steering rack to make the truck more maneuverable at low speeds, or less jittery at high speeds. It helps fight fatigue on the highway, and allows parking in somewhat normal spaces, not just in the superwide slots in front of the home-improvement store.

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2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Comfort & Quality

Tough as it looks, the 2019 Ford Super Duty pickup truck’s really a people person.

Heavy-duty pickup trucks go heroic when it comes to carrying things and pulling things, but like an Olympian weightlifter with a flawless soprano voice, it has hidden talents.

The Super Duty excels at toting cargo and people, and it does both better than many luxury vehicles.

The Super Duty has excellent cargo space, inside its pickup bed and in its cabin. It scores extra points for those qualities and fares pretty well in quality itself.

We think it’s a 9 for comfort and quality, even though its most utilitarian models lead far different lives from the plushest versions. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Let’s start with what you can do in the bed. Ford fits the Super Duty with 6-foot-9 or 8-foot pickup beds, and it demands you get the longer bed when you order the long-distance fuel tank. What can’t you fit in there? The Super Duty solves many of the annoying problems of short-bed, full-size trucks like Ford’s most popular F-150s. The Super Duty doesn’t struggle to carry people, either. In its capacious crew-cab models, the four-door body gives the space for 6-footers to sit behind other 6-foot-tall passengers, with room to spare. Up to six can sit inside a Super Duty–but if you’re often in charge of that many people, you’ll avoid the extended cab, which has less space in back. All four-door Super Duty pickups get a fold-up rear seat for superior lockable in-truck storage; all versions have lots of storage inside the cabin, from wide and deep center consoles to molded door pockets. It’s a mobile office, missing only the stolen office supplies.
A work-spec Super Duty wears scratch-resistant plastic and cloth, and Ford will lay a vinyl floor on any model you want. No one wants to clean carpets, even in a Platinum. That said, the more expensive trims in the Super Duty family can wear a cattle ranch’s worth of buttery leather on the dash and on the seats. The seats themselves can be multi-contour units that offer a massage menu, just like a ritzy resort.

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2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Safety

No crash-test data exists for the Super Duty.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Super Duty extensively. With no data to support a rating, we leave that number off our rankings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The NHTSA does publish a five-star side-impact ratings for the crew-cab model, as well as a worrisome three-star rollover-resistance rating. But the IIHS doesn’t have anything to say about the truck, which ranks among one of the most popular vehicles in its class.

Something’s broken in our crash-protection regulatory system, and it isn’t the Super Duty.

Super Duty pickups get some of the active-safety features found on passenger cars, such as blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control (as options, of course). No version has automatic emergency braking, a feature we consider essential.

We’ll update this page if crash-test scores become available.

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6

2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Features

With near-countless paths to configure one, the 2019 Ford Super Duty acts like a luxury vehicle in more ways than one.

With the Super Duty, Ford is in the business of selling contradiction. Want a pricey truck stripped of every major modern convenience, even power windows? Or would you rather own a machine that can pull thousands of pounds, and can’t do it without touchscreen infotainment?

We give the Super Duty a 6 for features because it gives both possibilities. Its work-spec base trim leaves off almost every amenity, but they can all be added back on higher trims–and that infotainment system works well. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Get a favorite beverage and a comfortable chair when attempting to configure a Super Duty for purchase. Ford sells it with two different bed lengths, two powertrains, three can styles, and at least seven rear axle ratios.

Beyond that, even the features can be like a game of concentration: yes here, no there.

Ford sells the Super Duty in XL and XLT trims, which are best for hardcore hard work. Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims sound fancy, and they are.

On the Super Duty XL, Ford strips out power locks and mirrors and windows, even Bluetooth. CD players are gone too, across the lineup as the world moves on to other formats. Those can all be re-installed with XLT trim, which also gains cloth seats (not vinyl), and a basic infotainment system with a digital display.

Step into a Lariat Super Duty, and Ford ladles on the luxury. It has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and power-adjustable pedals. King Ranch trucks add their own western-themed trim and their own grade of leather, premium audio, heated and cooled front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Super Duty Platinum gets 20-inch wheels and power running boards, and satin-metallic trim. It’s easy to nudge it over $80,000, without too much difficulty.

Take the XLT to work, the Lariat to play, we say.

This year, Ford’s deleted the CD player from all models, but makes available a 1,000-watt, 10-speaker B&O Play audio system as well as in-car wireless data. We’ll have both, thanks, as well as the adaptive-ratio steering that lets the Super Duty steer like a smaller vehicle. We’d also opt for a camera system that helps drivers post up in front of a trailer or in a tight parking spot.

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2019 Ford Super Duty F-250

Fuel Economy

The EPA has no data on the Ford Super Duty.

You won’t find a green score for the Super Duty here. Because it’s so large, the truck escapes the EPA’s usual fuel-economy hurdles and Ford doesn’t have to submit its numbers for validation. So we leave this rating off. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The whole idea that vehicles used often for passenger duty can avoid fuel-economy tests and regulation is a topic for another discussion with your Congressperson. Make a mental note the next time you see any heavy-duty pickup in the drop-off lane at school.

Ford can’t resist temptation, though. It says a Super Duty with a diesel engine and a long-range fuel tank can cruise for up to 1,000 miles on the highway. We math that out to around 20 mpg, which isn’t awful.

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6.5
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 5
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 6
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