Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

Sometimes, a regular coffee just won't do it. You need something on the order of a double cappuccino to get the job done -- something with more kick, more muscle. For pickup truck buyers needing a similar boost, there's the Ford F-350 Super Duty. More robust than even the capable F-250, the F-350 Super Duty is fit for extreme grunt work thanks to the availability of a dual rear-wheel setup ("dually") that greatly improves stability when towing. And in Ford pickup tradition, the F-350 is available with a wide choice of body styles, powertrain options and trim levels. Another reason this heavy hauler is a fave is that it's also easy to drive and comfortable to ride in.

Recent improvements to the Ford F-350 Super Duty have yielded a stronger turbodiesel V8, even better ride and handling dynamics and a redesigned cabin with higher-quality materials. Still, there are a few other choices to consider, as Chevy and Dodge also offer worthy choices in this powerhouse field.

Current Ford F-350 Super Duty
The Ford F-350 Super Duty is available in three body styles (regular cab, extended cab, crew cab) and five trim levels (base XL, midlevel XLT, luxurious Lariat, horse-saddle-inspired King Ranch and ultra-plush Platinum). There is a choice of two powerful engines -- a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 (385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque) and an optional 6.7-liter "PowerStroke" turbodiesel cranking out 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Buyers can choose either two- or four-wheel drive across the board. A dual-rear-wheel setup is offered as well, which allows it to carry more weight in the bed while providing greater stability when towing a heavy trailer.

In reviews, we've found much to like about the latest F-350. We're duly impressed by the Super Duty's flexibility that allows it to be configured for a variety of uses -- from a down-and-dirty work truck to a luxurious hauler. Regardless of which route you choose, you'll also be treated to refined ride and handling and high feature content.

Used Ford F-350 Super Duty Models
The latest generation of the Ford F-350 Super Duty debuted for the 2008 model year. Compared to earlier F-350s, it had revised styling, a stronger frame, better handling dynamics, a nicer interior and an improved turbodiesel engine. Initial engine choices consisted of a standard 5.4-liter V8 (300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque), an optional 6.8-liter V10 (362 hp and 457 lb-ft) and the optional 6.4-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8 (350 hp and 650 lb-ft). Transmission choices were a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

The following year saw a wealth of new features become available that included the Sync voice control system. This was also the first year for the Harley-Davidson package, complete with plenty of chrome badges and black leather trim, and the off-road-oriented package dubbed Cabela's (after the outdoor enthusiasts retailer). The current 385-hp gas V8 and 400-hp turbodiesel engines debuted for 2011, as did updated exterior styling. Other changes were minimal until 2013, when upgraded brakes, the posh Platinum trim level and the MyFord Touch infotainment interface all debuted. The latter could be prone to glitches, so make sure a used F-350 has the latest software updates.

The previous generation Ford F-350 Super Duty ran from 1999-2007. The debut of this version marked the first time that Ford gave its heavy-duty pickups their own style. Compared to the soft contours of the F-150 of the time, the angular Super Duty with its massive grille looked every bit the square-jawed brute that lay under the skin.

Initially, the typical trim levels of base XL, decently equipped XLT and plush Lariat were offered in standard-, extended- and crew-cab body styles. Engine choices included the standard 5.4-liter V8 as well as the optional 6.8-liter V10 and 7.3-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8. A five-speed manual was standard, with a four-speed automatic optional.

If you're looking for a used Ford F-350 Super Duty, there are a few year-by-year changes to be aware of. In 2001, updates were made that included standard four-wheel ABS for all trims, an available reverse parking sensor, heated seats for the Lariat and more power for the PowerStroke engine. The following year brought a six-speed manual, new seats and the option of power-adjustable pedals.

For 2003, the FX4 off-road package debuted, as did (for crew cabs) an optional power moonroof and the King Ranch edition. A smaller yet more powerful 6.0-liter PowerStroke replacing the 7.3-liter version debuted that year as well. The 6.0-liter diesel engine, however, has a reputation for questionable reliability. For 2005, the big news was a new five-speed automatic transmission, an upgraded front suspension, a new grille and headlight design and increased towing and hauling capacities. The next few years saw just minor changes to feature and package availability.

In a review that pitted this generation Ford F-350 Super Duty against its Chevy and Dodge rivals, the Ford placed 2nd. The F-350's chief strengths included a refined ride and competent handling and braking. Demerits were given for behind-the-pack performance when towing an 8,600-pound trailer and the cabin's lack of storage and odd mix of cheap plastics and upscale trim.

Previous to 1999, the F-350 (it wasn't called the Super Duty yet) was visually virtually indistinguishable from the F-150. However, with available muscle that included a 7.3-liter V8 and the PowerStroke turbodiesel, it was obviously up to much more demanding towing and hauling tasks.