The 2011 Ford Super Duty line has all-new engines, a new transmission, new front styling and a slew of less-noticeable updates. The pickup version of the F-450 has been scaled closer to F-350 but maintains towing superiority, while the cab-and-chassis F-450 and F-550 serve the commercial market.
A new 385-hp 6.2-liter gasoline V8 is standard and similar to Ram's 5.7 Hemi and GM's 6-liter in output. The new 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 (390 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque) made Super Duty the first production pickup to surpass that 700 marker. Both engines come with a new six-speed automatic transmission.
While the snout is mildly curved and aerodynamics have improved, the Super Duty still mirrors a concrete block with in-your-face attitude and enough chrome to shave in front of it. There is nothing small about a Super Duty and even the shortest, plainest version represents three tons of mass.
For fleet and owner-operator buyers, Ford's Work Solutions system provides facilities for GPS linking, computer access to your office (with cell signal), 110-volt power in-cab, and RFID tags for your tools so you never leave any on the job site. Crew Chief allows a dispatcher real-time truck location, speed, and fuel economy, potentially useful for the Friday-night parent as well.
Towing owners will appreciate the optional under-box fifth-wheel hitch platform and updated integrated trailer brake controller. Side and curtain airbags are now offered.
Luxury-oriented buyers can revel in heated-and-cooled Chaparral leather seats with driver memory, moonroof, one of two types of rear camera, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment, navigation, and, since mileage isn't a Super Duty strong suit, remote start. The new diesel is quiet but don't expect luxury levels of noise control and refinement in a truck.
More best defines the 2011 Super Duty relative to its predecessors: more payload, more towing, more weight, more efficient, more choices, but not necessarily more money. With realistic expectations, drawbacks seem small when compared to the ability to plow a big parking lot, carry a car or tow a small home.
If you don't plan on working your truck a Super Duty is not for you, and we don't define working as pulling a 7000-pound boat or RV a few times a year. A Super Duty can haul a ton of camping gear and dirt bike fuel, tow an eight-ton toybox and carry six real-world people, simultaneously, without breaking a sweat.