As the best-selling vehicle in the United States, it seems that Ford's F-Series pickup truck has been in the news quite frequently over the last year from the introduction of the redesigned twelfth-generation F-150 to the off-road performance F-150 SVT Raptor. Now, Ford has introduced its redesigned workhorse, the F-Series Super Duty, with not only a new exterior look but also a new assortment of capable drivetrain options from which to choose. A fitting venue to launch a pickup truck, the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty was introduced this morning at the annual State Fair of Texas located in Dallas.
It is no coincidence that Ford is redesigning the Super Duty after just four years on the market as the 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty will be arriving this winter and the heavy duty pickups from General Motors (Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra) are getting design and powertrain updates later next year. The biggest news for the 2011 F-Series Super Duty is the addition of two new engine options and a new transmission that gives the truck better performance for towing and hauling. Like the current Super Duty lineup, the 2011 model will continue to be available in F-250 (three-quarter ton), F-350 (one ton) and F-450 (1.5 ton) designations.
Before unveiling its latest Super Duty model, Ford already introduced the all-new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel engine. Developed in-house, the new diesel features a unique design that makes it one of the quietest and cleanest diesel engines on the market. From the compacted graphite iron composition of the engine block to the industry-first singe-sequential turbocharger, the main goal of the newest Power Stroke was to improve not only power and reliability but also noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. For biodiesel fans, this engine is also compatible up to B20, which means that it can withstand a fuel mixture that is up to 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.
Like the new Power Stroke, the Super Duty's base gasoline engine has already received a proper welcoming as it is the same 6.2-liter 'Boss' V-8 that is also available on the F-150 SVT Raptor. It would seem that this engine is set to replace both the Triton engines (5.4-liter V-8 and 6.8-liter V-10) of the current model, since Ford's spec sheet for the new Super Duty only includes the two new engine options listed above.
All these details are good, but unfortunately the horsepower, torque and towing capacities of the 2011 Super Duty have not been released at this time. Recent rumors indicate that the new V-8 will produce around 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, while the all-new Power Stroke turbodiesel should be good for around 390 horsepower and 720 lb-ft of torque. While these figures aren't official, Ford will be equipping the all-new Super Duty with a new automatic transmission that will be able to handle whatever power figures the new engines produce. The heavy-duty 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission features a tow/haul mode, a standard integrated exhaust brake and SelectShift for drivers wishing to shift their own gears. For better work-ready capabilities, this transmission will also come optional with a Live Drive Power Take-Off (PTO) to allow the engine to power add-on equipment necessary for rigs such as snow plows and tow trucks.
Visually, changes to the new Super Duty's front end were required to accept the new engine options, so Ford took the opportunity to give the truck a fresh new face. With the redesign of the 2008 Super Duty, we thought there was no way the front grille could get any larger or use any more chrome, but this 2011 model obviously proves us wrong. The massive front grille is similar to that on the 2006 F-250 Super Chief Concept, while the new headlights sit up higher on the truck and give it a more aerodynamic look similar to the latest F-150. Besides the changes to the grille, hood and headlights, the new Super Duty trucks also have a placement for the fender vent replacing the large, awkward vent of the 2008-2010 model with a sleeker, more stylish vent incorporated into the hood line. As for the F-450, which was just a smoke stack away from being a semi truck, the 19.5-inch wheels are replaced by 17-inch wheels to allow for a higher top speed (the 19.5-inch are limited to 85 miles per hour).
Inside, changes are limited to a new, reconfigurable center console design that now flows all the way up to the instrument panel instead of leaving a gap. Ford says this design increases storage space by about 60 percent allowing for around 70 possible configurations. Ford Super Duty models without a center console (equipped with the bench seat), the center passenger now gets the added safety of a three-point seat belt. Since the majority of Super Duty trucks are work trucks, the Ford Work Solutions system will be also available on the 2011 Super Duty which helps make the truck's cabin more like a mobile office by providing an in-dash computer using Sprint's 4G broadband network and it helps track tools using Tool LinkÂ®. Ford Work Solutions is also available on the F-150, E-Series and Transit Connect.
For added convenience and safety, the new Super Duty offers trailer sway control. The trailer sway control system helps prevent accidents caused trailer sway and uses the AdvanceTracÂ® with Roll Stability Controlâ„¢ system to stabilize the truck and trailer during a sway event. The system even uses the integral trailer brake control to apply appropriate amounts of braking to the trailer to help reduce swaying incidents. Other features available to help keep the 2011 Super Duty under control include Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, and an electronic locking differential.
Expect the redesigned 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks to go on sale early next year.
Select photos via Ford Motor Company