After a week of tough competition over smooth highway, broken pavement, rutted trails, and track testing, it is Ford's Super Duty FX4 that stood out in this test as the best new pickup for 2008. The Super Duty offers countless configurations, an adequate off-road package, and an exceptional new drivetrain.
The Four Wheeler staff raved about the truck from the moment it showed up at our offices and the Super Duty quickly became the place everyone wanted to spend time. We were impressed with the level of refinement that went into the redesigned Super Duty, without taking away from its already stout capabilities. Seemingly small, but innovative features, like the dash-mounted upfitter switches, integrated trailer brake controller, fold-away bed extender, and tailgate step were just some of the options that work to retain the Super Duty's class-leading position.
On the outside, Ford has one of the most distinctive designs, and under the hood one of the most advanced engines in the form of the new Power Stroke 6.4L turbodiesel V-8, which trumps the old 6.0L in terms of smooth power delivery and cleanliness of exhaust emissions. The five-speed automatic TorqShift transmission, with its smooth shifting and advanced tow-haul mode, works in perfect partnership with the Power Stroke engine.
In a nod to four-wheeling enthusiasts and to rugged durability over the roughest roads, Ford continues to use massive solid axles, yet the well-tuned suspension keeps unwanted motions in check. The Super Duty is so comfortable, you could put lots of miles in the driver seat with minimal fatigue, thanks to a stable ride, luxurious interior appointments, and excellent visibility.
The 2008 Super Duty is a hard-working, hard-playing pickup that can serve a dual-purpose role of trailer hauler or family hauler-at the same time if you prefer. Ford has a real winner on its hands, and we are proud to award it the 2008 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year Award.
What's Hot: Smooth power delivery, superior ergonomics, as comfortable as fullsize trucks get.
What's Not: Fuel economy, inefficient rear storage, vibrating mirrors in rough terrain.
Our Take: 2008 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year.
From the Logbook:
* Great gauge placement-love the four high-mount gauges in the cluster."
* Ready to work right from the factory."
* Ride is smoother than the solid-axle Dodge, and smoother than expected."
* The new 6.4L and trans work well together."
* Best Ford truck ever."
Douglas McColloch, Editor
My heart is with the Toyota, but my head says it's the Super Duty. It was the one fullsize rig amongst this year's test crop that revealed new and praiseworthy qualities every time I climbed into it, such as the near-total absence of turbo lag under throttle. Or the outstanding ride height, comfortable seats, and quiet, well-insulated cab. Or the superior visibility, which was the best of all the test trucks. Or the well-engineered traction control and limited-slip combo, which enabled this beast to clamber up steep, loose hills that big trucks like this shouldn't be allowed to attempt. She's still a bit choppy over washboard at speed, and the Nav system is a little odd, but in virtually every other way, the new Ford represents a quantum leap over the previous model. The folks in Dearborn should have a hit on their hands.
Ken Brubaker, Senior Editor
The Super Duty is in its element whether it's hauling horses, hay, or hors d'oeuvres. It possesses all of the qualities of a hard-core work truck while exuding civilized refinement both inside and out. My one gripe is with the Power Stroke's disappointing fuel mileage. That aside, it's hard to find fault with this newest version of the Super Duty. It's the gold standard of pickup trucks. Really, it's that good.
Sean P. Holman, Tech Editor
I love the Hummer-it is perfect for the type of terrain I wheel in, but it doesn't offer enough of the pickup side of the equation, so I will have to go with the Super Duty. The Ford interior is excellent, the options are limitless, and the capability off-road is surprisingly good. It doesn't hurt that the aftermarket is waiting for you and your Super Duty with open arms.
Robin Stover, Feature Editor
This year I was let down for the first time ever by a Toyota product. However, Ford made me a believer once again. The Hummer H2 only got better, and the Dakota-well let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired. If I had only one of these trucks to take home, I'd take the Ram. Despite a stiff suspension and a plain-Jane interior, that new 6.7L Cummins engine is the cat's meow when it comes to pulling a trailer. And now that my lifestyle includes a 40-foot toy hauler, the Ram simply makes the most sense for my needs. I must admit the Ford would take a close second, though.
Greg P. Smith, Art Director
Although the H2 is a great vehicle in its own right, especially offroad, the truck I really enjoyed the most is the Super Duty. The interior and exterior styling is superb and well thought out. Although the rim size is a bit controversial, I think the rims work well with the proportions of the truck. Honestly, I have nothing but positive praise for the Super Duty from it's power, functionality, styling and ergonomics.
David Hamilton, Assoc. Publisher
My favorite is the Tundra. Besides the poorly matched wheel and tire package, the new Tundra is a roomy, comfortable, and powerful 1/2-ton work truck. It drives and handles like a sports car, but has the ability to tow a city block. I was also impressed at how well it performed off-road, both in high-speed sand washes, and in slow-speed rockcrawling.
Jason Gonderman, Online Editor
My personal pick for PTOTY is the Dakota. At first glance, this truck appears to be the runt of the group, but after spending some time behind the wheel on and off pavement, I have really grown to like it. While it may be lacking ground clearance, traction, and even ABS, this little truck more than makes up for it with its quick and nimble behavior. To put it simply, the Dakota was a plane ol' blast to drive, whether it be in a sand wash, a desert trail, or the open highway.