Forget fuel prices and conspicuous consumption-big trucks aren't going away! In fact, Ford's 2008 Super Duty lineup has grown even more talented and tough, with extra towing, greater payload, additional features, and further refinement. Ford says there are more than 1,000,000 Super Duty configurations, but we say the most important news zeros in on the all-new F-450 Crew Cab that can tug more than 24,000 pounds and haul in excess of 6,000 pounds. It also features an industry-first integrated Tailgate Step (a step and grab bar handle for easy access to the rear) and a nifty, new stowable bed extender. Added to that is a new 6.4L Power Stroke Diesel; an upgraded TorqShift transmission; the industry's only tow command system that integrates a trailer brake controller; and power-fold, power-telescoping trailer-tow side mirrors, with heated glass, integrated turn signals, and a manually adjustable spotter mirror that is twice the size of the previous generation.
We drove the lineup recently and participated in evaluations of the redesigned F-250 and F-350, and the brand-new F-450, in both 4x2 and 4x4 variants, motoring both laden and unladen, as well as towing trailers and motor-homes. They were redesigned with a bigger and bolder grille that improves cooling, and we were impressed by the quietness of the new iron block and aluminum-head diesel that is mated to a five-speed TorqShift auto tranny (with tow-haul mode); the well-modulated sequential turbochargers that remove take-off lag; and the turning diameter of the F-450 Crew Cab that spins curb-to-curb in 56.5 feet. In addition, it can be fitted with 20-inch aluminum wheels and LT275/65R20E rubber. Interior refinements bring upgraded materials and luxury touches, including butcher-block wood accents and Chaparral leather on the King Ranch edition. Auxiliary switches and the Trailer Brake Control system are now fully integrated into the center stack. A DVD-based navigation system with an in-dash screen is an option on FX4, Lariat SuperCabs, and Crew Cabs. All audio systems are MP3 capable and are integrated into and play through the main audio system.
But most importantly, the new high-pressure common-rail OHV Power Stroke, rated at 350 hp at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, will be able to run on ultra-low sulfur fuel, the sale of which is now mandated nationwide. This engine is larger in displacement than the beleaguered 6.0L unit it replaces and features some gee-whiz technologies that help it achieve particulate emissions levels equal to gasoline-powered engines. Most significant are the piezo-electric injectors in the common-rail fuel-injection system, the earliest use for a pickup engine sold in America. Other capable powertrains include the 5.4L 3V Triton V-8 and the 6.8L Triton 3V V-10, with 300 hp/365 lb-ft and 362 hp/457 lb-ft, respectively.
Ford won't reveal the 2008 Super Duty's price or the Power Stroke's fuel economy until closer to launch. The overhauled line of Super Duty trucks, including the new F-450, the biggest consumer pickup ever offered by Ford will be in dealers early this year. The faithful should be mighty pleased-Ford has taken a super-sized shot at the personal duty and commercial truck market-and hit the bull's eye.