The 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty is the truckmaker's first all-new heavy duty truck in 17 years, a staggeringly long amount of time between redesigns.
Outgoing generations of Ford's heavy duty pickups borrowed chassis components from the Super Duty dating all the way back to 1999, but for the second time in the Super Duty's history, Ford can finally lay claim to the "all-new" moniker.
We rate this redesigned truck a 6.8 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The new Super Duty series spans three-quarter and full-ton configurations between F-250 and F-350 models; F-450 on up reach into Class 4 and higher pickup ranges where other automakers may not compete. Similar to its F-150 range, the Super Duty lineup spans XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims. Unlike the F-150, Ford expects that a majority of Super Duty pickups sold will be standard XL models, although a significantly higher portion of Super Duty buyers will be commercial buyers than are F-150 buyers. Personal-use trucks may lend closer to Lariat and higher trims.
The Ford Super Duty trucks primarily compete against the General Motors' heavy-duty twin-billing of Silverado HD and Sierra HD trucks, and the Ram heavy duty trucks.
Super Duty styling and performance
From the outside, the Ford Super Duty has dialed down its flashy grille to something that reads more butch. The twin horizontal "power bars" have been brought closer together and are now bookended by Ford's C-shaped headlights—not surrounded in chrome anymore. A "Super Duty" stamped into the hood will look nice imprinted into the brick wall the Ford truck appears that it could run through.
The last-generation's bulging hood has been whittled down to smarter creases, and the lower air dam now has a subtle styling element to keep it from disappearing underneath the truck.
Along the sides, the new Super Duty gets its some of its most thoughtful touches. Black trim now hides the B-pillar between front and rear windows, and the tall vertical latches used for door handles have been replaced by actual handles. The cab, which is now shared with the F-150, looks like a singular unit in double-cab configuration—not a brick inserted between bed and body.
The tailgate now gets a few new stamps and a chrome accent between taillights on Platinum-trimmed truck to tie the body together. In all, it's a smartly styled heavy duty truck that manages to look less boxy yet still just as rugged.
Under the hood, Ford stuffs a carryover V-8 or a new turbodiesel V-8 as an option. The 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 makes 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque and is paired to an updated 6-speed automatic. The 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 makes a headlining 925 lb-ft of torque and 440 hp. It's mated to a 6-speed automatic that shares the same number of cogs with the other autobox—but not much else.
The gas motor is the payload champ—up to 7,680 pounds. The diesel motor is the towing champ—up to 32,000 pounds in the F-250. Neither feels short on power, although the diesel feels remarkably quick compared to similar units from Chevrolet and Ram. Many buyers may be swayed by the heavy duty arms race, in which Ford claims supremacy—for now. Yes, its 925 lb-ft is more than Ram's 900. No, it's probably not practical for many buyers.
Instead, we'd say let the diesel engine's quietness and the gas engine's affordability be your guide. Pick the right tool for the job.
Ford has fully replaced the chassis in the new Super Duty, the first time since the truck was introduced in 1999. A fully boxed frame from front to back, higher-strength steel used throughout, and more crossmembers has stiffened the chassis by 24 times, according to engineers. It's also made for a more confident, quieter ride. New front radius arms help keep bumpy roads at bay, and even without a load on, the Ford doesn't chatter much in the back. We'll say it's much better than the old Super Duty, but we'll stop just short of saying it's better than the superb ride in high-grade heavy duty GM trucks.
Super Duty interior comfort, safety, and features
Inside, the Super Duty is all-new, thanks to thoughtful touches that first made an appearance in the F-150. Upper trims are lashed with quality hides and multi-contour seats with available massage; lower trims get durable cloth and scratch-resistant plastics. Every truck from XL up to Platinum can be fitted with vinyl floors so workmen and job foremen won't grind dirt into the carpets.
A wide center console separates front passengers and there's ample room for 6-footers in double cab models. Extended cab pickups may not be the best fit for four adults on long hauls, and stepping into the truck without running boards requires some planning. But this is a truck and that comes with the territory.
Federal regulators have given rear-drive versions of the new Ford Super Duty a five-star overall rating, four-wheel-drive versions received a four-star overall rating. The independent IIHS probably won't rate heavy duty pickups, so we're not expecting any guidance there.
The new Super Duty incorporates many active safety features found on smaller cars these days, but stops short of offering automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitors, forward collision warnings, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control are all here, which should make longer trips more comfortable.
Ford even added its adaptive steering program borrowed from the Edge crossover and the upcoming Lincoln Continental to improve handling. In a nutshell: Adjustable ratios quicken steering at low speed for better maneuverability and less sawing; at higher speeds the ratios slow to reduce jitters and increase comfort. An electric motor and collar on the steering rack accelerates and decelerates the input based on vehicle speed. It's a system that works very well and we think it's worth the upgrade.
Ford's selling point with the new Super Duty—on the inside at least—is its available tech features. Up to seven cameras can be fitted on Super Duty trucks, soft-grain leather, multi-contour heated and ventilated seats with massage, premier sound systems and infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
The Super Duty's features list isn't like any other car either—everything can be flipped, swapped, replaced, or upgraded. With three cab configurations, two bed options, two powertrain choices, and at least seven rear axle ratios, the customization options can be dizzying.
What wouldn't we do without? Trailer reverse guidance is a must-do for anyone who plans on regularly hauling. Adaptive steering is a smart upgrade too. The two-tone paint scheme on some King Ranch models? That takes brass trailer hitches to pull off.
Like any other heavy duty truck, fuel economy is predictably poor in the 2017 Ford Super Duty—and also not mandated to be reported to the EPA. We did catch a whiff of a fuel-economy claim: when equipped with a 48-gallon tank, the Super Duty can range up to 1,000 miles on diesel. That's about 20 mpg by our calculations, although we haven't verified the claim.