The all-new Ford-engineered, Ford-tested and Ford-built 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbo-diesel, the 2011 Super Duty delivers best-in-class torque and horsepower along with class-leading fuel economy, towing and payload capability for demanding owners who use their trucks as a core asset of their business.
It’s rare for us to not misuse our press-fleet trucks for race-car-hauling duties, but there weren’t any events during our time with this rather chrome-bedecked Super Duty. Instead, we took it to a Pat Metheny concert at the Taft Theater in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Kind of a hoity-toity thing to do with a three-quarter-ton truck, but that’s okay, because there’s a lot of velvet glove surrounding this particular iron fist.
Anybody who has ever rented an old U-Haul knows what Ford truck interiors used to be like. Plenty of exposed metal, vinyl floors, and a pencil-thin steering wheel that seems to have little influence on the vehicle’s actual direction. Those days are long gone. Take a look at the picture above: that’s a full-color, multi-function LCD screen with more real estate and more resolution than what you’d find in most luxury cars. It isn’t integrated with the nav or sound systems, but on the other hand it can tell you how well your off-road adventure is going.
On the road, this Super Duty rides like a Town Car — maybe better, given the long wheelbase. Only really big imperfections in the pavement can generate the “head shake” associated with big, live-axle trucks. And the Town Car would just die for this level of luxury equipment. The SYNC implementation is as good as it is in Ford’s passenger cars. Our time in well-equipped 2009 Super Duty trucks revealed that the sound system wasn’t quite loud enough to be well-heard over the diesel PowerStroke at full roar. This year, the stereo is louder and the engine is quieter. It’s so quiet that a few passengers thought it was a gas-powered truck.
While the new PowerStroke is quiet, it’s also fast. This F-250 is a capable passer on two-lane roads and rips into the 80-mph zone with no effort whatsoever on freeway ramps. Ford’s finally decided to provide a decent spray-in bedliner with these trucks: at $450, it’s a bargain. The same goes for the bed extender, which has saved us for a few overpacked race weekends in the past.
Our trip to Cincinnati revealed the SuperDuty’s Achilles heel when used for passenger-car duties: there’s no place to park it. Once upon a time, the F-250 was no wider or longer than the equivalent Ford LTD, but today it is roughly the size of an Amtrak engine and nearly as tall. Few garages can admit it. The time you lose finding on-street parking will be saved later when you have to clear traffic out of the left lane. Virtually everybody moves over for the massive chrome grille.
We stopped by Switzer Performance in Oberlin, Ohio to get their opinion on the truck. Company founder Tym Switzer noted that the hose clamps on the new PowerStroke are of the same quality and design as those used in a Porsche 911 Turbo. That’s fitting; this is a core vehicle for Ford, just as the Turbo is for Porsche, and in both cases the details have been well and truly sweated.
We didn’t tow with the Super Duty, but we would expect it to be just as good as last year’s model. In all other respects, however, the 2011 is far superior, so we’d suggest checking it out before you buy the current model.
MSRP and significant options: $60,810. Powerstroke Diesel – $7,835, Lariat Ultimate Package – $3,995, Spray-in bedliner – $450