The Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 have ranked at or near the top of the 3/4- 1 tonne pickup game for decades now, always jostling for position with the likes of the Ram HD
or GM HD
trucks for towing supremacy, hauling supremacy, and more recently, everyday use supremacy. Today, even heavy-duty trucks like this are having to serve duty on multiple fronts, from powering a job site to whisking the family comfortably to the campsite or the fishing lodge.
With all that in mind, Ford has redesigned the Super Duty for 2023, adding a host of practicality and capability features as well as on-board tech and comfort to make keeping the family happy that much easier, as well as keeping your load and trailer true through the various twists and turns life on the road throws one’s way.
The numbers alone are staggering: 40,000—that’s the number of pounds the Super Duty can tow if specced correctly, including the fitment of a new 6.7-litre high-output V8 turbodiesel Powerstroke motor. 1,200: the number of torques said motor makes, and it can be had on any Super Duty truck – XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum or Limited – but with it comes another big number: $13,475, or the least expensive way to spec that motor for your Super Duty. If you opt for a base XL model (4 x 2: $58,479; 4 x 4: $61,979) the cost of the engine jumps $500 to $13,975.
If that’s a little too heavy – both financially and in terms of actual weight, as it tips the scales at about 1,000 lbs. – then there are three other motors to choose from: a standard output 7.3-litre diesel good for 1,050 lb-ft of torque as well as two V8 gas engines, a 6.8-litre and a 7.3-litre good for 405-430 hp and 445-485 lb-ft of torque. Regular, crew, and super crew cabs are available as well as either a 6.75- or 8-foot box.
Indeed, if you don’t need the whole 40,000 lbs. of pulling power then the standard F-250 diesel and its ability to tow up to 22,000 lbs. with a gooseneck trailer is still a generous dose; opting for a dual rear-wheel F-350, meanwhile, will return over 35,000 lbs. with a gooseneck, depending on spec. If hauling’s more your bag, then the 8,000 lb. max haul capacity is well suited to the task and since the SD can be had with an on-board 2.0-kW power generator, you don’t need to waste any of that capacity on a heavier diesel unit.
Customers have the ability to customize their truck with a variety of grille styles ranging form a blacked-out affair to a bright chrome number whose headlight surrounds look a little like the snake logos made famous by the King Ranch truck, which is a nice touch. Three new appearance packages – STX, Sport, and Black – allow for even more personalization with unique wheels and trim elements.
If you really want to make a statement, meanwhile, there’s the Tremor package which lifts the truck, and provides 35” off-road tires and a unique fascia of its own. If that’s too much but you still need a little bit of off-road capability, then a new off-road package lifts the XL and adds 33” Bridgestone Dueller tires and a shortened front clip.
At the other end of the Super Duty spectrum, of course, we find the Limited version, which provides all manner of niceties both inside and out, such as chrome brightwork on the grille and tailgate as well as diamond-print leather seating and carbon inserts. The King Ranch and Platinum trims are no slouches, either, though the King Ranch’s western bent ads a unique twist that the Platinum doesn’t quite match, making it feel more like a Limited-lite and somewhat out of place in the line-up.
Inside, there’s an optional new 12” infotainment display (an eight-incher is standard) and while SYNC4 and apps like wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are great, there’s so much more to be found here that’s more conducive to work.
Take, for example, the back-up camera. We’ve seen those before, but never have we seen one that continues to work once tailgate is down as this one does. That means if you’re using the gate as a sort of bed extension, you don’t have to sacrifice a back-up camera. Then there’s the on-board scale app, which shows you how much you’re hauling as well as your tongue weight distribution. Add a blind spot cam that covers your trailer and the ability to automatically have the truck line up to a conventional hitch, and you have a great look at how even workaday pickups can be tech stars, too.
While not the most powerful of the motors, the 7.3-litre V8 is a smooth affair that provides an almost muscle car-like report through its twin-exit exhaust. The SD is by no means a lightweight in any of its configurations but the 7.3 disguises the heft well and along with the standard 10-speed automatic transmission and springs and dampers that have been tuned for comfort, it makes a good choice for those that plan on using their SD as a daily driver.
For those that need their truck to work, however, there’s nothing like the high-output diesel. We were given the chance to test that 40,000 lb. tow capacity at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds, which provide challenges like roundabouts and 12-degree grades. We went up, down, and around all this and while you are going to feel some bob when towing such a heavy load, the fact that the SD can start from nothing on a 7 per cent grade and get going with hardly a shudder is astonishing. You just get the feeling that there is a never ending well of torque at your disposal. If towing 40,000 lbs. felt like that, boats, horse trailers, etc., would be a breeze. I can say after having done all of that as well, this is a truck that has hauling and towing chops for days no matter the configuration.
The latest Ford Super Duty is a revelation. To be able to coddle so well one moment and drag a load through rain, sleet, and snow the next is a testament to just how far the HD pickup has come. There are of course others in the segment, but the bar has been set and has been set high.
2023 Ford F -Series Super Duty
Two or four-door 3/4-1 tonne pickup
front-engine/rear or four-wheel drive
ENGINES: 6.8-litre V8
, 405 hp, 445 lb-ft; 7.3-litre V8
, 430 hp, 485 lb-ft; 6.7-litre turbodiesel V8
, 475 hp, 1,050 lb-ft; 6.7-litre high output turbodiese
l V8, 500 hp, 1,200 lb-ft
FUEL ECONOMY CITY/HIGHWAY/COMBINED: TBD
6.75 feet, 8 feet
$58,479 (F-250), $60,979 (F-350), $75,859 (F-450)
WEBSITE: Ford Super Duty