One Helluva Truck
Our 2008 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year-winning Super Duty long-termer recently arrived-to much fanfare in the office. Not only do we consider the Super Duty the best 1-ton truck on the market, but we always welcome with open arms any long-term vehicle that can pull double duty as a tow rig during its stay with us.
With a base price of $36,850, the Super Duty can be optioned from work truck to luxury barge and anything in between. Our F-350 arrived in gorgeous FX4 two-tone duds with black leather interior. Under the hood is Ford's new clean-diesel 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 mated to the five-speed TorqueShift automatic transmission. Other options included navigation, an Audiophile sound system, reverse sensing and back-up camera, electronic shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, Powerscope trailer tow mirrors, towing package, tailgate step, adjustable pedals, bedliner, stowable bed extender, 20-inch forged wheels, traction control, and heated six-way power seats. These brought our as-tested price to $56,095.
We have found the interior of the Super Duty to be exceptional with excellent ergonomics, vast amounts of passenger space, and comfortable seats. The dash design is pleasing and despite its size, the controls you interact with most fall easily within reach. Even the backseat fits three across with nary a shirt sleeve touching. We also love the Audiophile sound system, which has clear highs and deep lows without distortion and we have found Sirius satellite radio to be a plus on those cross-country jaunts.
One of the most surprising aspects of our F-350 is the ride, which can be unbelievably smooth at times, although rough or broken pavement can remind you that this is indeed a 1-ton truck with a foundation for function. The Power Stroke engine, with its 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, even though it is not most powerful in class, is perfectly satisfying and more than most owners will ever need.
So far, we have used the Super Duty for commuting chores as well as hauling around projects from place to place, including transporting Project Colonel Mustard to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. While the wide Super Duty can feel tight in the city, girth all but disappears on the open road, where the Super Duty is in its element. It is also where the wide Powerscope extendable and folding power mirrors can really be appreciated. Also appreciated is the Super Duty exceptional visibility for such a great truck, which aids in the number of hours that you can put in the saddle without fatigue.
Kudos to the Super Duty's excellent tow/haul mode, which actually controls downhill speeds, and works better than anything else we have tested recently. Also, the integrated trailer-brake controller is a godsend, working flawlessly and even reporting back to the driver when our trailer had a wiring fault, causing us to pull over and try to fix a short that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
The tailgate step has also proven to be much more useful than we ever anticipated. It makes getting in and out of the bed that much easier and is very convenient and user friendly. Its only drawback being that it prevents the tailgate load surface from being flat for sliding bigger items into the pickup box.
If there was one area of complaint, it would be our less-than-expected fuel economy, but our engine is still green and we'll hope to improve the numbers some over the course of the year. Unfortunately, this is the price you pay for clean diesels, as the diesel particulate filter uses fuel to regenerate and clean the trap as needed.
Our other complaint is that the reverse camera uses a tiny screen in the rearview mirror that is hard to see when backing up, but we hear future versions will use the navigation screen, which we feel is the better option, especially when hooking up a trailer. In either case, attaching a trailer is a one-person affair with this truck. We'd also prefer 17-inch wheels over the 20s and wonder why there is no outside temp gauge on a $50,000 truck, which would have been helpful when navigating icy roads on the way to Moab.
With those niggles aside, we really are enjoying our Super Duty and are reminded every day why we awarded the Super Duty the 2008 PTOTY. With a year of service ahead, we'll let you know how our big Ford holds up over time.
Report: 1 Of 4
Previous reports: None
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: 3,199
Miles since last report: First Report
Average mpg (this report): 10.95
Test best tank (mpg): 13.17
Test worst tank (mpg): 9.24
This period: None
Problem areas: None
What's Hot, What's Not
Hot: Fantastic tow rig, comfort with 1-ton capability, great performance, accurate fuel-economy computer
Not: Fuel economy less than expected, tiny reverse camera screen
* "This truck really turns heads, and people are right, it is a great looking rig."
* "The F-350 is really smooth on the open road and a great tow vehicle."
* "The Power Stroke is a nice engine, but my range towing is under 300 miles."
* "I can't believe how much I used the tailgate step."
* "I am looking forward to having the F-350 in our fleet for a whole year."