2011 Ford Super Duty the answer to the $64,000 question

(All photos by the author)

Didn’t Ford just give us a new Super Duty, like, two years ago?

Yes they did. So why a complete makeover for this segment?

The government.

Yes, lawmakers in our nation’s capitol have mandated stricter emissions guidelines for the (diesel-powered) heavy duty pickup segment for 2010 and automakers have hit the end of their “grace periods.”

Ford (with GM to soon follow and Chrysler did theirs last year) gave its Super Duty pickup line not only a pair of totally new engines and transmission, but decided to address the entire vehicle with this model makeover. The result? The baddest big boy toy to date from the big blue oval.

Ford has known truck market leadership for 33 years straight now and given what we experienced during a recent media event to showcase the vehicle it appears they are serious about staying on top.

Despite economic swings of recent years, Ford has stayed the course in this segment as its customers are very specific about their needs of a vehicle of this magnitude. Super Duty trucks are more than mere pickups. True, many consumers may use them as their daily driver but so many more push these workhorses to the limit – and beyond.

An entire day at a rock quarry outside Phoenix, Arizona showed journalists just how far these trucks can be pushed. One demonstration paired media in a tractor pull competition where a 77,000 pound Caterpillar loader was strapped to the rear bumper of F-450 duallies and pulled in a drag race fashion to a nearby finish line. Now, I don’t want to brag or anything, but some of them boys (and girls) just never learned to drive a big truck and I won every round I competed in. Texas IS truck country, folks.

Ford continues the Super Duty models for 2011 – F-250, F-350 and F-450 – offering single rear wheel in 250 and 350 models and dual rear wheels for the 350 and 450 rigs.

The new diesel powertrain, still nicknamed Power Stroke, is designed and built in-house by Ford, a first for them. And did they get it right or what. The new 6.7-liter turbo-diesel V-8 cranks out a whopping 390 horsepower and an incredible 735 lb.-ft. of torque, all the while achieving best-in-class fuel economy and biodiesel compatibility.

The new 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine is nothing to sneeze at either despite it waning in the face of the new diesel. Each engine is mated to a new heavy duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission (no manual gearboxes from Ford), and a couple of other new standouts include an electronic locking rear differential and Live Drive Power Take Off (PTO). The latter may only be of interest for specific work applications but the demonstrations were pretty cool and rural fire departments will appreciate the new PTO for their quick attack grass and brush fire rigs.

New exterior styling keeps the Super Duty fresh for the segment and a new clamshell-style hood will be appreciated by service personnel.
I noticed a larger fuel filler door right off. This allows for access not only for refilling fuel but the new urea-based Diesel Exhaust Fluid that is injected into the exhaust to provide for the cleaner emissions. The DEF can be refilled at service intervals.

And talk about turning engine design on its head, the new Power Stroke sees inboard exhaust manifolds and outboard intake manifolds – crazy.

The new diesel powertrain is quiet, scarily quiet, and will easily pass the drive-thru test with flying colors.

On-road or off, the new 2011 Ford Super Duty has proved itself much more than merely capable. This new truck goes above and beyond.

The 2011 Ford Super Duty includes a wealth of features to aid productivity at the job site and provide more conveniences to customers. Standard and available 2011 F-Series Super Duty technology features include:

•Ford Work Solutions, which features in-dash computer, Tool Link™, Crew Chief™ ?and Cable Lock;
•MyKey (standard on all Super Duty pickups);
•Auxiliary audio input jack;
•SIRIUS® Satellite Radio;
•SYNC® with Traffic, Directions & Information;
•Voice-activated navigation system with touch-screen display;
•Reverse Vehicle Aid Sensor;
•Rear View Camera;
•Power Code™ Remote Start System;
•PowerScope™ trailer tow mirrors;
•Integrated Trailer Brake Controller.

Ford narrows its message of the new Super Duty down to three “P”s, Power, Performance and Productivity.

There is a fourth “P” I have not discussed yet – Price.

We found sample pricing information in each of the different models we tested. The 4×4 Crew Cab F-250 and F-350 models were driving began around 49 grand and fully loaded in King Ranch and Lariat trim levels they were stickering out around $64,000.

A princely sum to be certain, but for that fourth “P” one gets the security of knowing they are driving “three P” class leadership and segment excellence.


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.