Try to ignore Ford's redesigned 2011 F-Series Super Duty truck and you'll find it just can't be done. Ford has tweaked the top-line Super Duty lineup's styling to make the truck appear as large and imposing as possible, with a redone grille featuring as much chrome on loaded models as you might find on the Chevrolet Silverado HD and Ram 2500 HD. Put together. And in case you're wondering, that giant Ford badge on the front grille measures in at 13 inches long.
The 2011 Super Duty trucks are about far more than just big and bold styling, though. A 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engine is the heart of the most powerful Super Duty trucks. When Ford found that the 6.7-liter diesel engine's power and torque figures didn't surpass those of the comparable Chevrolet and Ram trucks, action was soon taken. Thanks to a simple software upgrade, performance numbers were upgraded to an even 400 horsepower at 2800 rpm and an incredible 800 pound-feet of torque at only 1600 rpm. Customers who bought their 2011 Super Duty trucks need not worry -- Ford will perform the upgrade for free until the end of August 2011.
If you can't afford the diesel engine -- it retails for more than $5000 above the base gas engine F-250 truck -- Ford has a new 6.2-liter engine that produces 385 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 405 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm, and takes regular gas. The 6.7-liter diesel engine has a wide fuel door to make room for the filler spot for the Diesel Exhaust Fluid that should be refilled every 7500 miles. Diesel Super Duty trucks with a 158- and 172-inch wheelbase receive a 37.5-gallon fuel tank, assuring that you'll go long distances before needing to stop for fuel.
Fuel economy in either Super Duty is said to have increased, with Ford claiming a 15-percent improvement on the 6.2-liter V-8. Of course, the heavy duty trucks weigh so much that the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't even provide official mpg numbers. What we can tell you is that the F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks now have a towing capacity of 17,500 pounds. These numbers were revised in the middle of the year so Ford could claim best-in-class towing capacity in the heavy duty truck segment. F-250s in rear- or four-wheel drive have a 14,000-pound towing capacity. To give the truck its extra abilities, Ford used higher-strength steel in a frame crossmember and upgraded the trailer hitch.
Just because you're driving a heavy duty truck doesn't mean you must sacrifice luxuries more common to upscale sedans. Pricing on the Super Duty ranges from under $30,000 to well above $60,000 for a loaded F-450 with dual rear wheels. Available options include Chaparral leather, heated and cooled 10-way power seats with memory, a rear view camera, rear parking sensors, a navigation system that can play DVDs when the truck is in park, HD radio, and side mirrors with heated glass as well as power folding capabilities and a heated spotter mirror. No doubt our favorite option on the Super Duty is the feature once called the "Man Step" in a competitor's commercial. Well that tailgate step is one of the more ingenuous advances in the truck segment we've seen in recent memory. With the Super Duty offering so much ground clearance, the tailgate step makes it much easier to walk into the truck bed. A flip-up grab bar is a nice touch and the step, by the way, has a 350-pound load capacity.
When Motor Trend magazine tested the 2011 F-Series Super Duty, editors found the F-250 diesel model to be remarkably quiet, though both engines kept the Super Duty behind the pack in acceleration tests due in large part to the truck's high weight. Acceleration from 0-60 mph in a F-350 dual rear wheel King Ranch 4x4 was recorded at 8.3 seconds with an empty bed and at 10.5 seconds with a loaded bed. Those figures don't sound that bad, but the Chevrolet and GMC heavy duty trucks were tested as quicker.
The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty is a good truck, despite its bumpy ride and heavy weight. If you're looking for a heavy duty truck with impressive towing capacity and are actually open to considering more than one brand, the Ford is a worthy contender.