For 2005, one of the most versatile of the bunch, the Ford F-Series Super Duty, gets an update designed to keep it near the top of its class. With styles ranging from a two-wheel-drive Regular Cab F-250 with a 5.4-liter V8 to a four-wheel-drive Crew Cab F-350 with a potent PowerStroke diesel engine, the F-Series Super Duty appeals to anyone from the boat-hauling weekender to the 24/7 highway maintenance crew.
At least for now, that is. Because besides its raw capability, which is plentiful, and despite improvements for 2005, there is lots of room for improvement with this Dearborn domestic. Our tester, a four-wheel-drive F-250 SuperCab XLT model stickering for $38,245, featured extremely cheap interior plastics, large interior and exterior panel gaps, an uncomfortable rear seat, and dated styling. Admittedly, buyers in this market are more interested in towing capacity than dash panels, but when the price tag gets up to nearly 40 grand, even the little things start to take on significance.
The subtitle to this story, “Defending the last American stronghold,” may be a bit misleading. “Defending” suggests there is some kind of offense, but besides the Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, and GMC Sierra – all of which Ford has been able to step above over the years – there is no competition on the field. That will likely change, as Nissan and Toyota have hinted at their desire to take on the big boys. Should either of these respected imports put on a heavy-duty offense, the F-250’s only strengths, its engines and rigid frame, may not be enough to hold the line.