Another much-appreciated feature is the power towing-mirror system, which extend mirrors outward for good viewing around long trailers, offering normal and wide-angle views. Four one-inch gauges for boost, water temp, trans temp, and fuel are arrayed across the cluster. Like a lot of diesels, an engine-block heater is recommended when temp is -10 degrees F, which is more a precaution against fuel waxing than for engine protection. With one of those and a fifth-wheel hitch, you can tow up to a 24,000-pound trailer, making a rig that could weigh up to 33,000 pounds and still be within the recommended capacity. The pricing of a 2009 Ford Super Duty is fully competitive with what Chevrolet and Dodge are marketing for the 2009 model year. Turns out our combination weighed 13,700 pounds with load, hitch, and driver. Constituting some 40 percent of Ford's F-Series sales, the Super Duty is intended to secure the most profitable segment of the pickup market.
Should there be more weight on the front of the hitch than you expect to see, you'd be well advised to rearrange the gear in your trailer to put more weight toward the rear of the trailer. Even with nothing in the bed, the ride is far from punishing. One of the big selling points of the Super Duty 4x4 has been that the straight axle is easy to lift, making it easier to improve ground clearance by installing oversize tires. The rear backup cam actually allowed us to get ball and hitch properly aligned solo. Clearly, there was plenty of power.
But with last year's introduction of the new 6. In back Ford includes a hitch receiver — matched to each model's capabilities — on every Super Duty, along with seven-pin and four-pin connectors. To prolong engine life, it is recommended that the hot engine be idled three to five minutes to allow the turbos to cool down. The crankcase holds 15 quarts of oil. We didn't ride in the back, but it would be a space two adults could occupy without feeling penalized. Our test driver noted the same thing during 60-to-0 panic stops at the track, where it took 161 feet to bring the Super Duty to a full stop. The powertrain warranty is five years or 60,000 miles.
It's too big, and with ground clearance at about eight inches, not especially well suited to severe terrain. Having come from a background where adjusting towing mirrors involved wrenches, we particularly appreciate the ease of this arrangement. When you have boost, you burn fuel, so that may be part of the reason. To be sure, both Extended and Crew Cabs accommodate passengers quite comfortably, but if you're not regularly hooking up to a 10,000-pound trailer or loading an eight-foot bed with more than a couple of two-by-fours, you've overbought what Ford has overbuilt. The diesel is probably about 20-percent-more fuel efficient maybe 25 , but then the cost of diesel fuel has been as much as 20 or 25 percent higher, so it's a wash.
Driving ImpressionsOur sense is that the empty F-250 probably rides a little better than an empty Tundra. Our test unit also had a rearview camera, mounted in the tailgate, which displays on the nav screen. Lariat and King Ranch owners will enjoy dual-zone climate control. And, unlike some luxury pickups, there's no intention of appealing — overtly — to the Country Club set; this remains a work truck and not a work-in-progress. The driver's seat is well shaped and supportive, firm but not hard.
Better cooling means, of course, bigger towing. We've never been big fans of in-dash nav, but it seems the screen has become the gateway to audio and information functions, so you've got to have it. With a conventional weight-carrying hitch, the max towing recommendation is 6000 pounds and, according to the tire label, the front axle can handle 5600 pounds and the rear 6100 pounds of load. The truck you see here has 350 horsepower, but it's not a racehorse. So we could've loaded up another 600 pounds of gear and people and dogs, and if we were heading for the river, we probably would have.
This is the kind of truck that takes your big problem and makes it go away. The third critical factor is that the Gross Combined Weight can't exceed 23,500. Finally, there's the aforementioned 6. Ask it for instant power, and there's a moment of hesitation before it finds the right gear and hooks up. The instruments consist of a large tach 5000 rpm, no redline and speedometer to 100 mph.
Visually, our truck and trailer looked about level, but we still took some time to shift what had to be at least 150 pounds of tools, spare batteries, and emergency equipment to the rear. Although the cleanest and most powerful engine supplied to Ford by International, it would also be the last as Ford would begin offering their own design beginning the 2011 model year. Our engine, with just 530 miles on it when we started, is far from broken in. The four-spoke steering wheel has embedded cruise control buttons on the left hand, and audio controls on the right. We'll start at the front, where Ford has located a front step bumper — under-the-hood checks are made easier when the step-stool is built-in and not something you need to carry with you.
Even replacing the wheels with something more stylish, or adding bigger tires with a specialized tread, can compromise the load ratings. Still, for a diesel, the mileage number is not spectacular. Perhaps more important, the driver's seat can be moved up very close to the wheel. This seems a rational precaution. The Cabela's package adds logos on the seats and floormats and provides for lockable storage under the rear seats and center console. Power Stroke Diesel With its 6. The underseat storage would be attractive to anyone who wants to secure firearms or fishing tackle.