Ford is launching the fifth generation of its F-Series Super Duty pickup truck. The heavy-duty F-250 and F-350 models get two all-new engine choices on top of the two that carry over in the hunt for the most towing and payload of any HD pickup. Ford has gone all-in on tech, too, with new 5G connectivity, over-the-air software updates, and navigation that takes into account what you're towing.
The automaker said it's targeting top-of-class towing and payload, but Ford didn't spell out the specs for the new trucks. Ford already has the payload crown at 7,850 lbs (edging out Ram at 7,680 and GM at 7,290). The top towing crown goes to Ram right now at 37,090, with the outgoing F-350 maxing out at 35,400 lbs. The old F-450 could tow 37k even, but Ram still barely wins.
Helping Ford power the big trucks are the two new engines, along with two returning options. Missing from the equation are power and torque figures, once again. We know that the base engine will be a 6.8L V8, an all-new design that will likely sit north of the 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of last year's 6.2L, but less than the 430 hp and 475 lb-ft last year's 7.3L gas engine.
The 7.3L gas V8 returns, and Ford says it will be going after the most gas horsepower in the class. Since Ford is already the winner there, it might not have to try too hard.
Two diesel options will be in the lineup, both variants of Ford's Powerstroke 6.7L engine. The two choices will be standard and high-output, much like Ram offers with its own 6.7L Cummins diesel. The outgoing truck makes 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. If Ford wants this truck to be top of the heap, it'll need at least 470 hp to beat GM and 1,075 lb-ft to beat Ram.
What is Ford saying for sure about the F-Series Super Duty? Every one of them will have a 10-speed automatic transmission to help improve hauling and fuel economy. Every chassis cab (a popular choice for these big trucks) will get a Power Take-Off to run accessories.
The design is typical big-truck bold, with C-Clamp LED accent lighting and LED headlights offered on every grade. The big side vents are functional, not just aesthetic, helping move air out from under the hood to improve the truck's aero.
STX, Sport, and Black style packs will be offered. The XL Off-Road will give rear-wheel trucks 33-inch tires, a raised air dam, skid plates, and better water fording thanks to new axle vents. The Tremor, Ford's other off-road trim, will return and has special suspension with front lift, Dana front axle, 35-inch tires, trail control, and new Trail Turn Assist.
An 8.0-inch centre display is standard, with a 12.0-inch screen on higher trims. The dash is a digital 12-inch screen and will be customizable. Ford includes centre console slots to hold a tablet, Max Recline seats for your break, and will offer a 1,080-watt 18-speaker audio system for aural towing enjoyment.
Work truck tech includes Ford Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch, letting you know how much weight you've got onboard. A 360-degree trailer camera gives you a birds-eye view of your trailer, and the blind spot system has sensors that can be attached to your trailer for better performance. Brand new are a rear view camera and parking sensors that work when the tailgate is down, letting you back up to a loading dock or hitch a fifth wheel.
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist makes you look like an expert, lining up the pickup to your hitch ball every time. New this year and quite cool is the new Trailer Navigation that can plot out routes that are safe to take your trailer down. Enter the length and weight and the computer takes care of the rest, looking for low and restricted bridges and tight turns.
The usual driver-assist tech includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, Trailer Theft Alert, parking sensors that work to detect a collision when the truck is off, front and rear brake assist, and Fleet Start Inhibit, which immobilizes the truck during hours when it shouldn't be driven.
Ford's 2023 F-Series Super Duty trucks will start production and go on sale in early 2023. A few features and trim levels will take a little longer, showing up in the Spring. Expect full specs (and full pricing) before then.