To say that the F-350 is a big truck is something of an understatement; in reality it is a behemoth of a truck.
Standing at nearly seven feet tall and 21 feet long it certainly overshadows most other cars and trucks on the road.
In the past full-sized pick up trucks were built for practicality and utility.
Their main objective was to ensure that any heavy loads or heavy machinery, that needed to be towed, was achieved in the simplest way possible – luxury and technology weren’t even a thought when purchasing.
What fitted in the bed and what could be pulled behind it was far more important than what was or wasn’t in the cabin.
Today things have changed dramatically; the manufacturers have seen a change in the market and now understand that luxury and electronic enhancements are a necessity in todays commercial front. This is especially true when management are becoming more hands on but are reluctant to give up creature comforts in the process.
Fords F-350 Lariat trim level has managed to cross the divide between a heavy-duty workhorse and a very comfortable, upscale and spacious truck that can comfortably seat five full grown adults.
Getting in and out of the high cabin of the F-350 is made simple by the powered retracting running board and well placed handles.
The interior space in the crew cab is immense, the light camel leather and huge panoramic moonroof make it seem even more spacious.
The fit and finish is better than you would expect in a pickup truck. The choice of leathers with double stitched finished edges was more inline with a luxury SUV than a pickup.
The one thing that didn’t seem to fit was the silver plastic trim around the air vents and glove box cover this could have been finished better but the over all feel was way more than I was expecting.
The driving position is high with great all round visibility, the centre consul is huge and contains a steel combination lock safe that is big enough to secure a number of valuables including laptops or even hand tools ($450).
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Space in the rear of the crew cab is equally as spacious giving ample of leg and headroom and, with the rear seats folded, adds a huge amount of additional internal storage space.
The instrumentation is crisp and easily read with a large infotainment touch-screen centrally located on the dash.
This particular F-350 Lariat came with the optional 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel ($9,950) that pushes out a hefty 440 hp and a massive 925 lb/ft of torque.
Power to the wheels is by means of a six-speed TorqShift automatic transmission linked to a 4WD system and comes with a rear-locking axle.
I was expecting the usual loud clanking and growl when starting it up but was pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was (by big diesel standards), there wasn’t too much exhaust noise either.
The gear shifter is mounted on the steering column making for quick and easy movement into drive and reverse when needed.
The low-end torque availability is immediately noticeable as you move off with the 4WD system doing a good job of preventing wheel spins at the rear end, especially when the bed is empty.
I never got a chance to load the truck up properly but I did notice that, by the strengthening the steel frame by nearly 25 per cent, it managed dampened cabin quiver substantially especially over pothole riddled back roads, making for a more comfortable ride.
The F-350 retains its hydraulic steering and this Lariat came with the optional adaptive steering that has an electric motor that assists the driver input at low speeds making slow, tight turns much easier to handle.
At highway speeds I found it difficult to tell I was actually driving a diesel, the engine settles down quickly with very little wind noise for such a big truck.
The Lariat trim level came with all the optional electronic bells and whistles; Sony premium audio system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Quad Beam LED Headlights, Navigation system, Lane Keep alert to mention a few.
It has a number of cameras mounted around the body showing a multitude of angles from an overhead birds eye view, a wide-angle image down either side of the truck as well as specific cameras assisting in line up a trailer or fifth wheel. All can be changed quickly on the centre display.
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Another interesting feature is the Blind Spot Radar, not only does it cover the length of the vehicle, but also the area alongside the trailer as well eliminating the guesswork when trying to overtake.
This Ford Super Duty F-350 came pretty well loaded with nearly $30,000 worth of options.
This particular trim level is more in line with management that need to be on hand, but require a comfortable mobile office.
Removing some of the options doesn’t take anything away from the trucks performance and agility – but keep the bigger engine. Doing this would make it more affordable for a work crew that is there to get the heavy work done without all of the frills.
2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat
BODY STYLE: Full-sized SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: Six-speed TorqShift automatic transmission with 4WD
ENGINE: 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel (440 hp, 925 lb/ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: N/A
CARGO: up to 3,468 kg (7,630 lb)
TOW RATING: Conventional 6,818 kg (15,000 lb), fifth wheel/gooseneck 9,455 kg (20,800 lb)
Curb Weight: 3,406 kg (7,494lbs)
PRICE: Base $66,249; as tested $96,163, (includes $1,700 delivery charge)
WEB: Ford Super Duty Trucks