2021 Ford Super Duty F-250

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
September 10, 2020

Buying tip

All Super Duty trucks can ride stiffly without a load, although the Tremor’s big, 35-inch tires can calm that down just a little.

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The 2021 Ford Super Duty lineup is impressively big–almost as big as the super-sized haulers themselves.

What kind of truck is the 2021 Ford Super Duty? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Ford Super Duty may be a family truck to some, or a tool to others—perhaps, even a status symbol in some places—but the heavy-duty trucks still offer eye-popping capabilities and an open bed with nearly limitless possibilities. It competes against the Detroit truckmakers’ biggest and brawniest: the Ram 2500HD, Chevy Silverado 2500HD, and GMC Sierra 2500HD. The Ford Super Duty trucks appeal thanks to their 1-2 combo of tough looks and an available engine that can tow up to 37,000 pounds.

Is the 2021 Ford Super Duty a good truck?

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We give the 2021 Ford Super Duty a 6.2 TCC Rating with a couple footnotes: safety ratings and gas mileage ratings aren’t included. A fuel-economy rating would sink that overall number. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Ford Super Duty?

Not much has changed for the Super Duty this year, compared to last year. Ford still offers the truck in F-250, F-350, and F-450 configurations, although the first two are better-sellers by far. The trucks are available in single- or dual-rear-wheel configurations, with regular-, extended-, or crew-cab body styles, depending on trim level or model. 

How much does the 2021 Ford Super Duty cost?

The Super Duty starts at a lowly XL work truck spec for about $35,000 and builds to XLT, Lariat, Platinum, King Ranch, and a Limited trim that approaches $90,000.

Three engines are available, too: a 6.2-liter gas-powered V-8, 7.3-liter gas-powered V-8, or 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8. It’s enough to tax any spreadsheet, but the short of the long: The 6.2-liter V-8 is the payload champ (mostly due to a lower curb weight) and plenty capable; the 7.3-liter V-8 powerhouse is a better match for worksite detail or hauling massive campers into the middle of nowhere; the turbodiesel is the towing champ and can lug up to 37,000 pounds and posts 1,050 lb-ft of torque for driveway bragging rights.

Work trucks feel up to the task, while top trims are convincingly luxurious—albeit very big.

The Super Duty is commendable among rivals because it includes standard automatic emergency braking on most trims. Blind-spot monitors are mostly included, too. That’s good because they’re very necessary in the big hauler.

Base trucks cost about $35,000, but those are work-spec spartan haulers that appeal only to fleet buyers. Most Super Duty trucks will cost more than $40,000 and include several extras that appeal to haulers, weekend warriors, or job foremen and women. Our pick are the Super Duty XLT models that offer just enough to get the job done without sacrificing much for creature comforts—while maintaining a sane price, that is. For more, or perhaps without work intentions (no judgement here), Lariat and Limited trucks rival some luxury cars with up to 20-inch wheels, leather everywhere, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility software.

Where is the Ford Super Duty made?

The Ford Super Duty is assembled in Louisville, Kentucky.


2021 Ford Super Duty F-250


Boxy, tall, and tough-looking, the Ford Super Duty is best from the outside.

Is the Ford Super Duty a good-looking car?

Inescapable and mostly unapologetic, the 2021 Ford Super Duty wears its intentions on its shirt sleeves. (The Tremor off-road package promptly removes those sleeves, by the way.)

The 2021 Ford Super Duty is a big, boxy, and brash pickup with right angles and big lights. The interior is a comparative letdown, but mostly because other truckmakers have revamped their heavy-duty offerings while Ford has kept the same for a couple years now. It’s a 6 for style.

The Super Duty trim levels differ in exterior accents, chrome, and color schemes, but all of the heavy-duty lineup share the same slab sides and boxy corners. The Blue Oval badge plunked in the nose is overwhelmed by the billboard-size everything else: C-shaped lights frame a massive grille; a sans-serif, 200-point “SUPER DUTY” stamped in the hood; and a bigger version stamped into the tailgate, in case you forgot already.  

It would be hard to mistake the Super Duty for anything other than a truck on exterior appearances alone, but the inside is a different story.

The cabin is straightforward and simple, although top trims dress up a few surfaces. Ford still uses some hard plastics in places that show, which is something its rivals have avoided in newer iterations.

This year, the Ford F-150 received a much-needed updated interior. We expect that to trickle into the Super Duty starting next year.

Review continues below

2021 Ford Super Duty F-250


Ford’s Super Duty can haul just about anything–or everything.

The 2021 Super Duty’s score here is anything other than “slightly above average.” Starting from an average score, the Super Duty gets points for hauling nearly anything short of solar systems and it offers good power from any engine. It loses a point for ponderous handling that all heavy-duty trucks suffer from. It lands at a 6 for performance.

Is the Ford Super Duty 4WD?

All Ford Super Duty trucks can be equipped with four-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive is standard.

How fast is the Ford Super Duty?

Ford offers two gas engines and one diesel engine in its Super Duty. The base engine is a 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 385 hp and 430 lb-ft. It’s standard on all trucks except the Limited trim level, which is only available with a turbodiesel.

The 6.2-liter gasser is paired with a 6- or 10-speed automatic transmission, with rear- or four-wheel drive. It is comparable to other base V-8s from other truckmakers, and its appeal is a relatively low cost and available payload capacity of up to 7,850 pounds (F-350, dual-rear wheel, 4x2 configuration). It’s the lightest and quickest of the bunch, relatively speaking. 

The spend-up engines opt for more power or most power. You pick.

An available 7.3-liter V-8 makes 430 hp and 475 lb-ft shipped to the rear or all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic. It can tow up to 28,000 pounds when properly equipped, and it’s a stout—but very thirsty—performer.  It’s a smooth engine, but its best life is in bigger commercial trucks that need more power than the 6.2-liter V-8 can provide. The 7.3-liter engine is available in trucks equipped with a Tremor off-road package, which may be smoother power for off-roading than the turbodiesel.

That 6.7-liter turbodiesel is a brute, by the way. It’s the most expensive engine available in the Super Duty (standard in Limited trucks) and it makes 470 hp and 1,050 lb-ft. It’s paired with a 10-speed automatic that sends power to the rear or all four wheels, when equipped. It can lug up to 37,000 pounds, provided your CDL can handle that. The turbodiesel doesn’t break a sweat hauling regular trailers, but we’ve found that a 15-ton mass strapped to the truck can be taxing. (Who wouldn’t be taxed by 30,000 pounds, really?)

We have a few gripes with the 10-speed automatic that’s found in most trucks. Mostly that it can hunt for gears, even in tow/haul modes.

Steering the Super Duty is a relative breeze, thanks to an optional hydraulic assist that can help the truck be more maneuverable at slower speeds, and less fussy at higher speeds.

Of course, negotiating anything that can be more than 20 feet long is going to be a chore. The Super Duty can’t escape physics, and the big truck isn’t suited well for many city streets.

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2021 Ford Super Duty F-250

Comfort & Quality

Crew-cab, Super Duty trucks are palatial inside.

No surprise: Ford Super Duty trucks are super big.

Maybe a surprise: They’re supremely comfortable inside…

Definitely a surprise: …and they can rival luxury cars in interior materials and comfort.

Starting from an average score of five, the 2021 Super Duty gets points above average for its people- and cargo-carrying prowess based on the most popular crew-cab version. Top trims would get points for exceptional comfort, though every truck is tall and not especially easy to get into and out of.

Ford offers the Super Duty in regular- and extended-cab configurations as well. Regular cab trucks offer seats for up to three, or two with a wide center console. Extended-cab trucks can seat up to six, but the rear is tight with just 33.5 inches of rear seat leg room.

Crew cab models stretch out to 43.6 inches of rear leg room, which is plenty for long-legged adults. Six could fit in crew-cab Super Duty trucks, although front buckets will be more common. The seats are wide and soft, with all-day thigh support; there’s hardly a long haul we wouldn’t make.

The rear seats are similarly comfortable too, and top trims pile on leather, USB chargers, touchscreens, even in-seat massagers.

Regular cab trucks get 8-foot beds only and measure 231.8 inches. Extended- and crew-cab models offer 6-foot-4 or 8-foot beds and can measure up to 266.2 inches, which is a big ask for just about any garage.

All trucks feel up to the task of working hard, but as a perk Ford can fit vinyl floors in any truck so dirt doesn’t get ground into the carpets.

Review continues below

2021 Ford Super Duty F-250


The Super Duty skips crash-testing.

How safe is the Ford Super Duty?

Big trucks like the Ford Super Duty aren’t comprehensively crash-tested for safety. We’ll withhold our score here until they are, but we’re not holding our breath.

Regular-cab versions have been tested, but they’re less common than four-door crew cab models. Regular-cab models get a four-star overall score from the NHTSA, including a worrying three-star rating for rollover safety.

Crew-cab models with four-wheel drive get the same three-star rating, but a five-star rating for front crash safety in its limited testing.

Unlike most competitors, Ford makes automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors standard on XLT and higher trims (it’s optional on XL trucks). Adaptive cruise control is standard on Platinum and Limited trucks, and available on King Ranch models.

Towing cameras are available on most models and are a must-have for frequent haulers. Outward vision in the big truck is predictably lousy.


2021 Ford Super Duty F-250


Base trucks skimp on features, but Ford adds standard safety features on most trucks.

With myriad ways to configure a truck, the 2021 Ford Super Duty nets a 6 on our scale for features. Work-spec XL trucks drag down the average with their hand-crank windows and puny 4.2-inch infotainment screen, although top-shelf trucks get truly tony stuff. Ford’s bumper-to-bumper warranty is just average at 3 years/36,000 miles.

Like last year, the 2021 Super Duty will be offered in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels.

Base XL trucks are spartan and not likely spotted on dealers’ lots.

Which Ford Super Duty should I buy?

The first step for many shoppers will be XLT models that add creature comforts such as 18-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, power windows, active safety features, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and more available options such as an off-road package and towing camera packages. For most Super Duty shoppers who take their trucks to the job sites, the XLT likely will be the best value and the best-balanced truck for work and home life with just a few options. It’s our pick for value and capability.

Many Super Duty trucks won’t ever break a sweat, be fitted with a trailer hitch, or haul much more than bragging rights. For those shoppers, we suggest a Super Duty Lariat, which adds leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats, an 8.0-inch digital display in the instrument cluster and available options such as premium audio, 20-inch wheels, power running boards, and upgraded headlights.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Ford Super Duty?

The top-shelf Super Duty Limited splurges on soft hides, real wood, heated and cooled seats, a big sunroof and more options. A fully loaded F-350 Limited with dual-rear wheels and every option box ticked costs more than $90,000. 

Review continues below

2021 Ford Super Duty F-250

Fuel Economy

Official data isn’t available, but the Ford Super Duty isn’t fuel-efficient in any configuration.

Is the Ford Super Duty good on gas?

Heavy-duty pickups including the 2021 Ford Super Duty skip EPA ratings, so we don’t assign a score here.

Even without official numbers we can confidently report the following: No heavy-duty pickup is fuel-efficient.

Regardless if it’s equipped with a gas or diesel engine, high teens on the highway are likely the best the 2021 Super Duty will manage and, when towing, the numbers will drop far from there.

A 48-gallon fuel tank can be equipped on some trucks that will spread out trips to the pump but not make them any less painful.

Review continues below
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