It is amazing how much you forget the value of a pickup truck when you don't have one in the fleet. Now we have one again, and an incredibly capable one at that. We have been using it for everything, whether it be hauling loads of trash out of the desert or towing travel trailers on vacation, the Super Duty does it all, and does it well.
Our F-350 has been on several highway trips and offers an exceptionally smooth ride for a 1-ton truck, but it can be upset by broken pavement or concrete slab. A little weight in the back helps, and it is still the gold standard for trailer towing, effortlessly piling on the miles, quietly and quickly, as we found out when one of our staffers hitched a 24-foot travel trailer to the back for an almost 1,000-mile family trip. And with plenty of room for the kids and luggage, it is perfect for long trips.
Despite a tiny image in the mirror (we'd prefer it in the navigation screen, and we hear it is coming), we have found the best use for the rear-vision camera is for hooking up trailers with one person in one shot-a godsend when picking up a trailer at the office at midnight when no one is around.
During a recent desert cleanup, we filled the bed with countless loads of trash.
We also were skeptical of the value of the tailgate step-that is, until we found ourselves using it every single time we need to hop in the bed. It is quick, easy and very functional, our only complaint being that the shape of the inside of the tailgate is no longer flat, and tends to make sliding objects in to the bed more difficult than trucks not equipped with the tailgate step. But we'll gladly take the trade-off.
Maybe we have gone soft, but we've noticed during cross-country jaunts that our $56,000 truck is missing an outside air-temperature gauge, something that we feel should be included for the price of admission. At least it has just about everything else you could ask for in a truck and turns heads wherever we go. This is the quintessential American truck and people seem to respond well to it.
Fuel economy of our 6.4L is still a little lower than we've come to expect from Ford's diesels, but despite a lot of towing and heavy feet this quarter, we were able to up our average and best numbers. We'll see if it improves in our next report as the engine breaks in. Until then, we'll continue to enjoy our 2008 PTOTY Winner and its pickup truck capability-we just hope no one else asks us to help them move.
Report: 2 of 4
Previous reports: July '08
Base price: $36,850
Price as tested: $56,095
Four-wheel-drive system: Two-speed, part-time electronic, shift on the fly
Miles to date: 5,857
Miles since last report: 2,658
Average mpg (this report): 11.28
Test best tank (mpg): 15.07
Test worst tank (mpg): 6.61
6,000-mile service: $219.90
Problem areas: None
What's Hot, What's Not
Hot: Does everything in style, tailgate step works well, great powertrain
Not: Fuel economy still a little less than expected, where is the outside temp?
* "This truck is HUGE and red!"
* "Holy cow this thing rides rough on curled up cement slabs."
* "Maintained composure towing 24-foot trailer in a strong headwind."
* "This thing grows on you like a big puppy...overall a hugely likeable truck."
* "New interior's a huge upgrade from the old SD's, and now is really best in class."
* "For such a big and capable truck, it does surprisingly well on the trail."