Every time I write about pickup (trucks) I mention Texas being the No. 1 market in the world. And every time I write about Ford pickups I mention their market domination (Ford has led in pickup sales for 34 years straight now). And every year about this time, this top market is inundated with television and print advertising announcing some sort of “truck month” promotional campaign.
And this year is no different.
What is different is that fuel prices are skyrocketing at a record pace and may potentially threaten truck sales even while pickup manufacturers have been working to produce more environmentally-friendly models for the consumers (mostly at Big Brother’s behest).
Despite all of this, I have enjoyed a host trucks from the press fleets over the past few months and I am going to lead off a series of truck reviews with the big daddy of them all, one whose name takes up almost as much space as its wheels do: The Ford F-450 Super Duty Crew Cab 4×4 King Ranch long bed dual rear wheel pickup.
Yes, this thing is a monster on the road and yes, this thing is a beast when put to work. It can tow and haul more than just about anything on the road short of a commercial vehicle (it IS a commercial vehicle in most states), yet it still turns heads when pulling up to a diamonds and boots charity function.
And despite what brand most of the guys at my local barber shop drive, they all cast their attention to this beauty-and-beast-in-one when I pull in the parking lot.
Ford has announced they are beefing up suspension and frame components right now on F-350 and F-450 duallie models (to keep up with the Jones’ apparently). Under the hood is the same new 6.7-liter turbodiesel PowerStroke V-8 they launched last year that puts 400hp and 800 lb. ft. of torque to the ground while beating the outgoing engine on fuel economy by some 20 percent.
Despite its massive size I discovered this truck is surprisingly agile and has one of the best turning radius’ in the entire truck segment. A watchful eye must be kept on the mirrors though as those rear fenders jut out quite a bit from the cargo box sides and will reach out and touch anything nearby.
This truck is certainly not for everyone, nor for most for that matter. A ton-and-a-half pickup has little place in the modern world. That said, it is still one of my favorite trucks, or vehicles for that matter, to drive. I absolutely love the King Ranch interior and despite the bulk of this vehicle the powertrain is not lacking when the light turns green. Yes, this thing will spin all four rear tires when put to the task.
Matching its physical size is the pricetag, one that is not for the faint of heart or pocketbook. The truck starts in the low 60s but with all of the bells and whistles our tester came in at $68,675.
This is the Mardi Gras of pickups: Laissez les bons temps rouler!