Ford Super Duty - Preview: Innovation, comfort, and style are terms seldom heard when the topic is heavy-duty trucks. However, when the 2008 Ford Super Duty hits the market in early 2007, all three points will be right up there with torque rating, tow capacity, and payload. Available in F-250, F-350, and F-450 guise, the Super Duty will not only employ an optional 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel to tow up to 24,000 pounds and transport 6,000 pounds of cargo in its bed, it will also arrive with a redesigned interior, updated exterior styling, and handy features such as a textured step pad atop the front bumper and a fold-out tailgate step with a 1,000-lb. capacity.
Ford's F-Series trucks have been king of the pickup hill for decades, but with all-new models from General Motors and Toyota, among others, the competition is getting especially fierce. Buyers may be gradually downsizing because of fuel prices and changing tastes, yet those who haul equipment to the worksite or tow the fifth-wheel on the weekends still need a big dog to get the job done. That's where the redesigned Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups come into play, with up to 650 lb.-ft. of stump-pulling torque from a new 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel, a 6,000-lb. payload, and a tow rating maxing out at 24,000 pounds. Got any mountains you need moved?
Three engines are available for the 2008 Ford Super Duty lineup. The first is a 5.4-liter, 24-valve V8 with variable-valve timing that pushes 300 horses at 5,000 rpm and 365 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,750 rpm. A standard six-speed manual transmission delivers the goods to the rear or all four wheels. Positioned in the middle of the pack is a 6.8-liter, 30-valve V10 that puts out 362 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 457 lb.-ft. of twist at 3,250 rpm. A five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission is standard. That tranny is also connected to the top dog, a 6.4-liter, 32-valve Power Stroke Diesel V8 offering 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque at only 2,000 rpm.
Heavy-duty work trucks have often been synonymous with spartan interiors. Redesigned to represent "tough luxury,"the 2008 Ford Super Duty houses a vertical center dash like that in the F-150, a spacious center storage cubby that's capable of swallowing a laptop computer, and auxiliary switches as well as trailer brake buttons which are blended in with the other controls for a more seamless appearance. Quiet Steel, already used on models such as the 2007 Expedition, works with added sound insulation and thicker glass to lessen interior noise, so that you can fully appreciate tunes coming from the MP3-capable audio system. An iPod jack is standard, while navigation and rear DVD packages are optional.
According to Ben Poore, marketing manager for Ford's truck division, "The Super Duty customer isn't the guy who buys a pickup because it's cool to have a pickup. These guys are working with this truck. They're hauling and towing, often earning their living with these trucks, and their truck has to be as reliable and dependable as they are."Speaking specifically of the most robust F-450 model, Super Duty's chief engineer, Pete Reyes, adds, "The increased towing and cargo hauling capability, the engine enhancements and all the refinements make the F-450 absolutely the most capable pickup truck we've ever built – period. And that is exactly what our customers are asking for."