When a job requires more capabilities than the normal pickup truck can offer, there's only one thing to do. Go bigger. The 2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup answers that call with a sturdy frame, powerful engine choices and features that make it the "go-to" truck when the heaviest of loads needs moving.
Towing humongous trailers or boats that are just shy of a clipper ship is what the F-350 was made for. When properly equipped, this mammoth truck can pull up to 15,000 pounds and carry 5,700 pounds in the bed. Thanks to an available dual-rear-wheel layout (commonly called a "dually") for improved stability and the PowerStroke turbodiesel engine that produces a whopping 650 pound-feet of torque, all of this heavy hauling can be accomplished with great confidence.
On top of the F-350's capable drivetrain sits an equally able cabin. Several trim levels and optional packages offer many variations of this broad-shouldered theme, from a no-nonsense work truck to a luxuriously appointed hauler. One of the most notable changes for 2010 involves last year's optional Cabela's package, which has replaced the FX4 off-road model as a trim level. Other changes include wider availability of Ford's Sync voice activation system, a new spray-in bedliner and the Harley-Davidson package now being limited to diesel models.
At the level where Ford's F-350 Super Duty toils, there are really only a handful of alternatives. Chevrolet's Silverado 3500 (and its GMC Sierra twin) is a bit more capable in terms of towing and hauling. The new Dodge Ram 3500 also has plenty of capability as well as a nicer interior. Another thing to consider is that next year's F-350 will have a host of changes, most notably more powerful engines and a new six-speed automatic. For the loyal legions that have made the Ford F-Series the top-selling trucks for over three decades, though, the 2010 F-350 will certainly satisfy.
The 2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup is offered in regular cab, SuperCab (extended cab) and crew cab body styles. The SuperCab features a pair of small rear-opening rear doors, while the crew cab has four conventional full-size doors. SuperCabs and crew cabs are available with a short (6.75-foot) or long (8-foot) bed; regular cabs are long bed only. A dual-rear-wheel setup is offered as well, which allows more weight to be carried in the bed and also provides greater stability while towing a heavy trailer.
Four trim levels are offered: base XL, midlevel XLT, Cabela's (4WD only) and luxurious Lariat. Regular cabs are available only in XL and XLT forms. The XL is the workhorse of the bunch, with standard equipment that includes 17-inch wheels, air-conditioning, plain vinyl upholstery, a two-speaker AM/FM radio and manual-telescoping trailer-tow mirrors. The XLT adds 18-inch chrome wheels, keyless entry, power and heated trailer-tow mirrors, an integrated trailer-brake controller, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 front bench, a center armrest with cupholders and a storage bin, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, full power accessories and a four-speaker CD player with an auxiliary audio jack.
The Cabela's trim level (named after the outdoorsman retail company) replaces last year's FX4 model and provides much of the same upgraded off-road hardware. This model includes the XLT features and adds skid plates, heavy-duty Rancho shock absorbers, a limited-slip rear axle and a manual-shift transfer case. It also includes dark gray exterior trim, running boards, foglights, a bed mat, power telescoping and folding mirrors, a keyless entry keypad, metallic interior trim, power front bucket seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and satellite radio.
The range-topping Lariat models pile luxury items on top of the XLT model that include 18-inch alloy wheels (17-inch for duallies), running boards, a power-sliding rear window, power telescoping and folding mirrors, leather upholstery, wood grain interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual power and heated front seats, a center console, rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Ford's Sync multimedia voice-control system.
Most features on the higher-spec trim levels are available as options on the XL and XLT models. Other options (depending on trim level) include a spray-in bedliner, a flip-down tailgate step, a rearview-mirror-mounted back-up camera display, a sunroof, a navigation system, upgraded audio systems, power-adjustable pedals and a rear-seat entertainment system. Also offered is some very slick "Work Solutions" high-tech gadgetry for work-focused trucks, like an in-dash computer and ToolLink -- an RFID-based system that keeps an inventory of tools that are removed from the bed.
Additional options packages concentrate mostly on appearance and accommodations, of which the Harley-Davidson and King Ranch are most notable. The Harley-Davidson package (only available on diesel models) slaps on a long list of Harley-branded exterior and interior trim, lots of chrome exterior treatments and 19.5-inch polished alloy wheels. The King Ranch package provides two-tone paint, fancy leather seating and western-saddle-inspired trim. Both packages also include a premium sound system and a rearview camera.
The 2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty trucks feature a blocky, industrial interior design language that works well for the intended market. On XL and XLT models, interior materials are quite good for the segment. Higher trim levels and optional packages, with their leather and wood grain trim, add a much more upscale and luxurious feel.
The well-placed center stack puts controls within easy reach, while the dual door pockets and a massive center console/armrest provide generous in-cabin storage -- in fact, the center console box is big enough to accommodate a laptop and/or hanging files. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel can make it hard for some drivers to find a comfortable driving position, though. In crew cabs, folding the rear seats up reveals a flip-out utility tray that keeps the load floor flat.
The 2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty is offered with three engine choices. The standard power plant is a 5.4-liter gasoline V8 that makes 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. An optional 6.8-liter V10 produces 362 hp and 457 lb-ft. The most popular choice (recommended for those who do serious hauling and towing) is the 6.4-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8, which makes 350 hp and 650 lb-ft. Depending on the model, buyers may also choose between a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission and either two- or four-wheel drive.
Properly equipped, an F-350 Super Duty can tow up to 15,000 pounds (non-fifth-wheel trailering) and handle a 5,700-pound payload.
The 2010 Ford F-350 delivers solid ride and handling dynamics for a full-size, heavy-duty truck, and it's remarkably quiet at speed, a trademark of recent F-Series models. Its base V8 is still down on maximum power, though, to the tune of 60-80 horsepower compared to the big V8s in the Ram and Silverado.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, but neither side nor side curtain airbags are available. Power-adjustable pedals are optional on models with automatic transmissions (XL model excluded), as are rear parking sensors.
The 2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty sees a lot of minor changes and feature shuffles between trim levels. Last year's Cabela's package is now a trim level (it replaces the discontinued FX4 model), the axle ratios have been revised for increased fuel economy, Sync is now offered on all but the base XL, a new spray-in bedliner is available and the Harley-Davidson package is now available on diesel models only. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment on Lariat and Cabela's models, as well as on dually XL and XLT models.