The Short Version: Strong like a bull! Stiff-legged. Towmeister. Herd it rather than drive
Ford Super Duty F-250 6.0L V-8 Power Stroke
The big news for the Ford Super Duty is the availability of the new 6.0L V-8 Power Stroke diesel. While this engine is smaller than the venerable and much loved 7.3L Power Stroke of previous years, it features reduced emissions and noise and produces a whopping 325 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. Also new is the five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. Another new option to the Super Duty is the FX4 Off-Road package. It includes skidplates, Rancho shock absorbers, a steering damper and, of course, FX4 decals.
What we liked
Our judges fawned over the 6.0L V-8 Power Stroke like a bunch of schoolgirls at a boy-band concert. Oodles of low-end torque meshed with plenty of ponies meant that the baby 'Stroke had no problem propelling the massive Super Duty along at a rapid clip. With power to spare, the 6.0L felt like it could tackle any task thrown at it. The TorqShift transmission coupled to the 'Stroke also did its job well. Its shifting was so seamless that none of our pesky, picky testers griped about its performance. The tow/haul feature worked well also, as once engaged, it would automatically downshift the five-speed automatic at the appropriate times to take maximum advantage of the awesome compression braking of the diesel.
On the trail, the Super Duty did better than expected. The diesel engine makes this truck an awesome crawler at slow speed and in low range. Helping out on the trail was the fact that the Super Duty still sits up nice and high, like a proper truck should. Except for its hideous chrome running boards, one of which we eventually pruned off on a rock, it rarely got hung up or had clearance issues. In faster sections of trail, the Super Duty could cruise along at a fairly quick pace, stiff but controlled.
What we didn't like
Tops on everybody's gripe list was the Super Duty's steering. It was sloppy, imprecise, and slow to react to driver inputs. On top of this, there were times on the trail when the steering simply would not move the wheels, no matter how hard we cranked the steering wheel. Additionally, Ford's engineers saw fit to mount this truck's steering damper below the diff pumpkin on the front axle. What were they thinking? We pruned that off on a rock on our very first trail section.
The interior also received its share of tester gripes. The inside of the Super Duty is fairly bland, and did not do much to excite our judges. The comments weren't all bad, however, as the interior was still very comfortable.
The Super Duty isn't for everybody. Its rough ride and sluggish steering definitely cost it points, resulting in this third-place finish. If, however, you want to hook up to a heavy load and haul it up the side of Mt. Everest with ease, this is your baby.
Check It Out If:
You want a wheeler with one of the truck world's great engines.
Avoid It If:
You expect to be able to steer precisely.