If you're interested in a 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup, it's safe to say you've got some special requirements. You're not looking for a truck that can just schlep furniture back to your place or serve tailgating duty on Sunday. No, you need the kind of all-out capability that not even the similar F-250 provides. Enter the Ford F-350.
Ford’s F-250 and F-350 are similar enough that we think of the latter as simply an extreme version of the former. Most notably, although the 350 shares the 250's engine options -- a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 and a 6.7-liter diesel-powered V8 -- it's available with a dual-rear-wheel setup, and this has a profound impact on load limits. Properly equipped, the F-350 "dually" tops out at a 22,800-pound tow rating and a 7,260-pound payload rating, or thousands more on each front than its little brother can manage. Otherwise, the F-350 shares the F-250's roster of features, so you can get pretty much all of the comforts of home, including the MyFord Touch infotainment system with its big 8-inch display screen.
If even the F-350 won't cut it for you, there are other choices. Ford also has its formidable F-450, with even higher towing and capacity ratings. The Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD is still a very capable truck, but even more appealing this year is the updated Ram 3500, which features stronger engines and new tow/haul ratings that surpass even those of the F-450. Ford doesn't have a monopoly on cool cabin tech either, as the Ram can be outfitted with an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface that's easier to use than the Ford's.
Nonetheless, the 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty remains a compelling option, providing just about everything a heavy-duty trucker could ask for. If you're shopping for a rig like this, the Ford F-350 is a must-drive.
The 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty is available in three cab designs (regular, extended cab and crew cab), two rear axle designs (single wheel and dual) and two bed lengths (8 feet and 6.8 feet). Note that the short bed is unavailable with the regular cab and the dual-wheel rear axle. There are the base XL, midlevel XLT, upscale Lariat, luxury King Ranch and posh Platinum trim levels, but not all are available with every cab, bed and axle configuration.
The XL keeps it simple with 17-inch steel wheels, a black grille and bumpers, black door handles, manual-telescoping trailer tow mirrors, air-conditioning, vinyl floor coverings and upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a two-speaker sound system with an AM/FM radio.
The XLT adds 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels; a chrome grille and bumpers; heated outside mirrors; cast-aluminum wheels; cruise control; full power accessories; keyless entry, an integrated trailer brake controller; padded door armrests; a carpeted floor; cloth upholstery; the Ford Sync voice command system; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; lockable storage with a power point under the rear seat; and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface.
The Lariat trim cranks up the luxury with 18-inch wheels, foglights, power telescoping mirrors, body-color door handles, rear parking sensors, remote start, a power-sliding rear window with defrost, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather upholstery. Also standard are a 4.2-inch color trip computer, wood-tone interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a middle front seat that converts into a center console, the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, upgraded Sync functionality, a rearview camera, a 110-volt power outlet and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Note that the crew cab gets a premium Sony audio system.
The King Ranch piles on power-folding and telescoping tow mirrors, two-tone paint, a body-color grille with chrome insert, unique exterior and interior badging, a navigation system, exclusive leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory functions (seat and pedals), the Sony audio system and a universal garage door opener as standard.
The top-of-the-line Platinum adds more chrome exterior trim, 20-inch polished alloy wheels (single-rear-wheel model only), a tailgate assist step, unique wood-tone interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel.
Some features on the fancier models are available as options on lower trims. Other options (depending on trim level) include different axle ratios, a stowable bed extender, a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), heavy-duty alternators, fifth-wheel/gooseneck mounting points, roof clearance lights, drop-in or spray-in bedliners, a sunroof and integrated accessory switches.
The available Ford Work Solutions package adds an in-dash computer that's customizable to suit commercial users and fleets. Also available is the FX4 Off-Road package (4WD models only), which includes an electronic locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers.
Heavy-duty trucks haven't historically been known for their luxurious cabins, but that has been changing in recent years, and the F-350 has fallen a bit behind. One look at the Ram 3500's lavish new interior will convince you that Ford's got a little room for improvement. Hard plastics dominate the F-350's dashboard on lower trim levels, and for better or for worse, the overall look screams "work truck." But to be fair, the Lariat creates a distinctly upscale vibe with leather and the MyFord Touch interface, while the King Ranch and Platinum models are fancier still.
There's no shortage of storage in the Ford F-350. There's a lockable bin under the middle of the available 40/20/40-split front bench seat, and the middle seatback folds down to serve as an armrest. Another lockable bin for longer items lives under the rear seats, and it includes a 12-volt power point. The available 40/console/40 front bench can swallow a laptop and even hanging files or other business-related items; it also provides a 12-volt power point of its own, along with a 110-volt inverter.
Standard from the Lariat on up is a large multifunction display in the instrument cluster that allows the driver to customize settings, and relays trip computer, fuel economy, towing and off-road information. Lariat and higher trims also get the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which includes two USB ports, an SD card slot and an 8-inch touchscreen that controls phone, climate control, entertainment and navigation features and also includes an expanded voice control vocabulary. Note that this version of MyFord Touch incorporates large physical buttons for the climate and audio controls that allow them to be operated by those wearing work gloves.
All 2014 Ford F-350 models employ a six-speed automatic transmission and offer a choice between rear- and four-wheel drive. The base engine is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. Maximum towing capacity without a fifth wheel is 15,000 pounds when properly equipped, while adding a fifth-wheel hookup raises that limit to 16,000 pounds.
Optional is a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 engine that produces 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, a diesel F-350 with the standard rear axle went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, about a second slower than GM's diesel-powered 3500 HD pickups. Maximum towing capacity without a fifth wheel is 18,500 pounds, while the fifth-wheel setup boosts the max up to 23,200.
It's hard not to be impressed from behind the F-350 Super Duty's wheel. Both engines feel quick and capable, while the ride is impressively quiet and supple by segment standards. Even the massive diesel V8 doesn't add much noise to the serene cabin. As with any heavy-duty pickup, bumps can temporarily ruffle the F-350's composure, especially with an empty bed. The biggest flaw in the F-350's formula is its steering, which feels slow and vague, whereas Chevy and Ram deliver a more confidence-inspiring feel through the wheel.
Towing is generally effortless with the F-350, particularly if you spring for the torque-monster diesel. In Edmunds testing, tugging a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep grade turned out to be a cakewalk for Ford's workhorse. The driver can opt to lock out higher gears to ensure optimal towing progress, but we were impressed by how well the transmission managed the ascent without our input. The descent was similarly smooth, thanks in part to the diesel's exhaust brake.
The 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist, side curtain airbags and the SOS post-crash alert system.
An integrated trailer brake controller is standard on XLT and higher models, while the Lariat trim level adds rear parking sensors and power-adjustable pedals. A rearview camera is optional on the XLT and standard on the Lariat and above.
The 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty is essentially unchanged.