2017 Ford Super Duty: Greater capability, smarter safety

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Rivaling the engineering awesomeness of today’s high-performance muscle cars is the extraordinary power level achieved with heavy-duty pickups. The latest truck to raise the work-ability bar is Ford’s new 2017 F-Series Super Duty. It’s more potent and capable, and smarter than ever.

Ask Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager, why he touts the 2017 Super Duty as the “best heavy-duty truck we’ve ever made,” and he will first point to the pickup’s “backbone” — its upgraded frame.

“For the first time ever, we have a fully boxed frame with Super Duty,” Scott says. “We have taller cross sections and we have through-welded cross members. It’s constructed from more than 95 percent high-strength steel and is up to 24 times stiffer than the previous frame.

“We’ve upgraded all of the components,” Scott says, “giving it bigger axles, bigger brakes, and an upgraded suspension. We’ve even upgraded the fifth-wheel hitch.”

Beefing up these components was made possible, in part, by a 350-pound weight savings accomplished by using high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy in body construction and high-strength steel in the frame.

Maximum conventional towing on the F-250 and single-rear-wheel F-350 has increased from 14,000 to 18,000 pounds. Conventional towing on the F-350 and F-450 dually pickups has been boosted from 19,000 to 21,000 pounds.

Gooseneck towing capacity is increased from 16,600 pounds to 18,600 pounds for the F-250 and from 24,700 pounds to 32,000 pounds for the F-350.

The top Super Duty payload capacity number, registered by the F-350, is 7,630 pounds. Maximum payload for the F-250 is 4,200. The new Super Duty bed is reinforced to handle the heavier loads with a thicker floor pan, and strengthened inner panel and cross members.

Along with posting bigger numbers for payload and towing, the 2017 Super Duty pickups boast greater output figures. The optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel, which adds $8,595 to the price, motivates the giant trucks with 440 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and an awesome 925 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm. This torque output bests its predecessor by 65 lb.-ft.

The standard 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine delivers 385 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 430 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,800 rpm. This represents a torque increase of 25 lb.-ft.

Mated to both engines is a heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. Ford reports that an F-250 pickup with the 6.2-liter V-8 and the TorqShift-G six-speed delivers improved fuel economy and capability. Official fuel economy information isn’t available for this class of truck.

Smart technologies were used to add confidence and safety when towing, maneuvering about busy construction sites or using the truck for everyday commutes.

A particularly useful feature, available across the lineup, is the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System, which utilizes high-definition cameras to give the driver a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the truck’s surroundings.

It provides multiple views, which include a front split-screen display that allows the driver to “peek around the corner”; a 180-degree rear view that provides a large, clear visual behind the truck; and a rear camera with zoom. This camera provides a guideline toward a fifth-wheel hitch ball and allows the driver to zoom in for a close-up view of the hitch-up.

An available blindspot information system features an indicator in the side-view mirror that alerts the driver when a vehicle is alongside the trailer, as well as the pickup.

The Super Duty is offered with an industry-first adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support for trailers up to 32,500 pounds. This technology allows the pickup and heavy trailer to maintain speed, even on steep grades.

Cupholders usually don’t merit a billing on a new feature-packed work truck, but Super Duty’s innovative “four-barrel” transformable cupholder provides notable convenience — especially when toting a crew of workers. The design is a combo cupholder and storage bin, featuring an upper panel that slides left to right, changing the setup as needed from a bin with dual cupholders to four unique cupholders.

Ford’s fresh batch of Super Duty pickups is scheduled to arrive in dealerships this fall. Truckers can select from five models (XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum), 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, and Regular Cab, SuperCab, and Crew Cab configurations with 6 3/4- and 8-foot boxes.

Pricing for the popular F-250 starts at $32,535 for a Regular Cab 4×2 XL with a gas V-8, and ranges to $70,905 for a Crew Cab 4×4 Platinum with an 8-foot box and turbodiesel V-8 muscle.