Say what you will about refinements and also trick features, the secrets to success in the heavy-duty pickup organization are power and also payload. This is no to say that Ford has actually nothing to say in the area the civilizing niceties—quite the contrary. But the huge story bordering the blue oval brand’s 2011 F-series super Duty trucks needs to do through a major uptick in muscle and also work ethic.

When the new huge boys—the F-250, the F-350, and also the F-450—swagger right into showrooms in April, they’ll sport two brand-new engines, a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission, the best payload capacities in their respective categories, and the highest towing capabilities. That’s not to mention the fresh sheetmetal and a grille v a pair that big, glowing horizontal bars reflective sufficient to be watched from low-earth orbit.

It’s large iron with a big curbside presence. And also with a new 13-inch blue-oval logo up front, it would need extremely negative eyesight (apologies come Stevie Wonder) come perceive this as anything however a Ford.

The strength Play

The two new engines room a 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 and a 6.7-liter turbo-diesel V-8. Ford’s SOHC 6.8-liter V-10—362 hp, 457 lb-ft of torque—carries over but is minimal to chassis-cab applications.

Rated because that 385 hp and 405 lb-ft, the gasoline V-8 is a short-stroke, over-square SOHC 16-valve architecture with variable camer timing and two spark plugs every cylinder come ensure an ext complete combustion. It’s qualified of running on E85 and also replaces the fairly anemic 5.4-liter V-8 that registered a mere whimper in the full-size-truck segment through 300 hp and also 365 lb-ft. Us can’t wait to watch what Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor, at this time the just light-duty applications for the engine, deserve to do with among these 6.2-liters bolted under the hood.

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The enlarge news is the brand-new turbocharged and also intercooled 6.7-liter power Stroke diesel V-8. Not only does the generate calculation ratings that make contending oil burners watch tame—390 hp and 735 lb-ft—but it additionally produces this numbers at an extremely low revs (2800 and also 1600 rpm, respectively). Moreover, it to represent a clean-sheet—or, much more accurately, a blank-computer-screen—design by Ford, and also it deserve to burn B20 biodiesel.

After a long and sometimes rancorous partnership with Navistar, Ford’s previous diesel-engine partner, the automaker chosen to build the next generation the its strength Stroke diesel in-house. Bosch operated with the Ford team to develop the turbo system, i m sorry entails an innovative variable turbo: one turbine wheel (supplied by Honeywell) v vanes on both sides, operation sequentially. One more intriguing style element is the lack of external exhaust headers. Airflow v the heads is reversed, through air entering on the outside and also the exhaust ports and turbocharger inside the engine’s V. This allows for shorter plumbing and also improves turbo response time and cooling. Prefer other contemporary common-rail diesels, injection pressures room enormous—close to 30,000 psi—to boost fuel atomization and promote more-complete combustion. Also so, to reduce oxides that nitrogen and particulates to fulfill emissions regs for every 50 states requires a far-ranging 30 come 50 percent the the exhaust gases to be recirculated, plus urea injection upstream native the catalytic converter and a particulate filter in ~ its exit.

In addition to several other inventive elements, Ford claims its new engine weighs 160 under pounds than the Navistar 6.4-liter V-8 the replaces, many thanks to aluminum cylinder heads and the usage of a compacted-graphite-iron block.

Prodigious power

Developed because that the greater output of the brand-new turbo-diesel, Ford’s heavy-duty 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission is equally new, replacing the vault five-speed automatic and the six-speed manual, which has actually been dropped. The 6R140 offer gas and diesel trucks. That is shifts space smooth, and manual-operation alternatives extend to electronically locking out some of the greater gears to avoid upshifts in heavy-load situations, for this reason keeping the engine in the sweet point out of its power band.

The combination of the brand-new turbo-diesel and also six-speed auto adds approximately performance that is nothing brief of prodigious. This doesn’t refer to 0-to-60-mph times, the course—vehicles weighing everywhere from just under 3 to well over 4 tons aren’t rapid off the line uneven there’s a catapult involved, and also in any kind of case, diesels generally aren’t the best prescription for drag strips.

But as soon as it involves work, these babies deliver. The many impressive part of a day-long preview staged through Ford involved hitching an F-250 super Duty crew cab come a 10,000-pound trailer and then towing that up and also down a hill loop. The power Stroke diesel handled the project easily and with astonishingly tiny racket.

Towing capabilities variety from a declared 11,800 pounds approximately 16,000 v a frame-mounted hitch and up come 24,400 pounds with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel setup, which for the an initial time is a factory-installed option. Maximum payloads selection from 2350 pounds to together high 6520, and Ford cases best-in-class in both categories across its broad variety of heavy-duty offerings.

Beyond that, Ford states the new turbo-diesel, in addition to its raised muscle, will deliver up come 18 percent much better fuel economy (15 percent because that the new gasoline V-8). What this way precisely is tough to quantify, because the EPA doesn’t concern ratings because that vehicles through gross automobile weight ratings over 8600 pounds. But we’d anticipate unladen fuel economic situation in the low-20-mpg selection on the highway, depending upon axle ratio.

Deliberate Dynamics

Aside from heftier crossmembers and also beefed-up steering gear, the trestle-like underpinnings that the at sight Duty trucks are unchanged. The suspension design—control arms and coils up front (a hard axle in four-wheel-drive models), longitudinal leaf springs and a heavy axle at the rear—is additionally carry-over, back the shocks have actually been revalved and also retuned to carry out a cushier ride.

The ride does in fact seem velvety—on smooth pavement. However the first significant bump reminds you that there are substantial masses the unsprung weight moving around down there. This is, ~ all, a huge truck; no one is walking to confuse it with a Mustang. Similarly, the steering, designed to deal with immense loads, is slow and not at every tactile. The effort is about right, however on-center feel is merely not a part of the deal.

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On the various other hand, cabin noise has been reduced compared with that of the previous super Duty, in component due to the remarkable quiet operation of the brand-new turbo-diesel engine, but additionally thanks to the isolation of pavement resonance coming up with the suspension. We also were impressed through the truck’s off-road capability, enhanced by a hill-descent-control feature and also lockable rear diff. A long wheelbase isn’t the finest bet for rock crawling, yet the at sight Duty walk seem come be fine suited come getting contractors to remote job sites.

The inner Mastodon

Perhaps the biggest physical update to the inner supervisor Duty is up front, where the seat from the latest F-150 have been carried into the enlarge trucks. There’s an immense facility console capable of swallowing your pet badger—or at the very least a pair of laptops. And also the dashboard has actually been redesigned.

And of course there’s a plethora of electronic goodies on offer: security control; one updated edition of Sync, Ford’s Microsoft-based communications and also infotainment system; one optional touch-screen nav system; an LCD because that tracking fuel economy, trip time, miles to empty, etc.; a pre-towing checklist; and also the Ford occupational Solutions feature that contains an in-dash computer and also an RFID system to save track of tools and also equipment.

The Bottom Line

When the 2011 at sight Duty trucks walk on sale in April, pricing for a base two-wheel-drive standard-cab F-250 v the 6.2-liter V-8 will begin at $28,975, a noticeable increase over its predecessor, i m sorry based in ~ $26,850.

But at sight Duty rises aren’t uniform throughout the board, and also there room bright spots, such together the F-250 four-wheel-drive XLT crew cab in ~ $37,940, i beg your pardon is the same as the corresponding 2010 version and includes the brand-new automatic transmission, due to the fact that the hand-operated transmission has actually been discontinued. Through such a large lineup that models, heavy-duty pickup prices expectancy a vast range, and also that’s true here, from the base truck’s to more than $64,000 for a burly F-450 through all the trimmings.

Given the nature of this beasts, their appeal is minimal largely come buyers who need large capabilities. Ford currently owns 46 percent of this total market, 65 percent of i m sorry is diesel. A huge component that the total market is fleet and also commercial users, and Ford claims 60 percent the that. The aim, the course, is to rise share right throughout the board. Evaluate by our brief encounter with the lineup, it looks favor Ford has actually the right weapons because that the fight.