2020 Ford F-250
2020 Ford F-250
Ford lays claim to building the country’s most popular pickup trucks, and the 2020 Super Duty F-250 trucks exemplify why consumers so consistently turn to the Blue Oval. This is a truck that can pull or haul nearly anything while outfitted in workhorse duds or cowboy finery, or anything in between.
For 2020, Ford has given the Super Duty a refresh in order to keep pace with new offerings from Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram.The cosmetic updates are slight, but under the hood are big changes, including a new 7.3-liter gas V-8 that makes 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. It pairs to a 10-speed automatic transmission with a tow/haul mode.
The venerable 6.7-liter diesel V-8 remains available, and sees its power upped to 475 horsepower and a full 1,050 lb-ft of torque. That 1,050 lb-ft puts the Super Duty at the top of the class for torque, beating out the Ram Heavy Duty by 50 lb-ft.
Also available and carry-over for 2020 is the standard 6.2-liter gas V-8. This engine makes 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque and like the other engines is backed by a 10-speed automatic.
None of these engines are weak-chested, but in its most potent form the Super Duty can nearly move mountains thanks to its maximum 7,850-pound payload rating, 24,200-pound conventional tow rating, and 37,000-pound fifth-wheel tow rating.
Like any pickup truck, the Super Duty is available in a host of cab styles and bed lengths. Regular, extended-cab, and crew-cab configurations are all on offer and can be paired with either a standard-length 6.75-foot bed or the longer 8-foot bed.
The availability of active-safety features in heavy-duty trucks has lagged behind light-duty vehicles, but the Super Duty does come with standard automatic emergency braking in XLT trims and higher. Blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warnings are all optional.
Due to their size and heft, heavy-duty trucks like the Super Duty are not rated for fuel economy or crashworthiness.
All prices reflect the cheapest combination of bed length and cab style, and include all applicable destination charges.
Base models begin with the $35,400 XL. It has a few amenities, but even power windows and locks remain optional. Notably, there’s a 4G LTE connection with a wi-fi hotspot for jobsite connectivity. Other features include 4-speaker audio and a 2.3-inch vehicle information display in the instrument cluster.
Stepping up to an $40,180 XLT model adds power windows, locks, Bluetooth connectivity, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s also standard blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist.
The $48,295 Lariat is where things start getting luxurious. There’s 18-inch wheels, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch driver information center, and dual-zone climate control.
The $60,695 King Ranch models add their own western-themed trim and their own grade of leather, premium audio, heated and cooled front seats, and a trailer tow camera system with trailer backup assist.
The Platinum costs $70,590 and gets 20-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, multi-contour seats, power running boards, and satin-metallic trim.
The F-250 is squared-off, angular, and tough. Like the trucks of old, it doesn’t get hung up on trying to look good; function clearly triumphed over form when it came to penning the lines of this big brute. Slab sides and hard corners give the Super Duty lineup the most truck-like looks when compared to the Ram 2500 Series, GMC Sierra 2500, and Chevrolet Silverado HD.
Up front, a mild refresh brings the F-250 a little more in line with the F-150 line. A softer grille and headlight treatment give it a less menacing, more familiar look. The Super Duty won’t win any beauty awards, but no one will call it ugly, either.
The wide range of trim levels give the Super Duty some serious breadth when it comes to cabin treatment. There are work-spec interiors with vinyl floors and manual windows, and there are tony cabs done up with leather and real wood. In all cases, the Super Duty remains comfortable and functional. Upper models could do with a little less hard plastic, though, especially considering how close they come to the six-figure mark.
All trucks get some sort of connectivity, even the base XL. The most popular trims offer an 8.0-inch touchscreen with the latest Sync software from Ford. This setup is a cinch to use and has plenty of connectivity options.
Up to six people can fit in the Super Duty if the crew cab is specified; the extended cab is technically a six-seater, but the back seat will be too tight for most people. It’s best treated as an in-cab storage area. Front seats in all models are superb, with excellent thigh support and soft seat bottoms. Ford offers heated and cooled seats as well as massaging seats.
Cargo space is no trouble for a truck this capable. Gooseneck towing capacity is a full 37,000 pounds in a properly equipped F-350; those trucks can also haul 7,850 pounds in the bed and pull 24,000 pounds with a conventional hitch. F-250s will tow up to 15,000 pounds with a conventional hitch and over 22,000 pounds with a gooseneck hitch.
The biggest question regarding the 2020 F-250 is the new 7.3-liter gas V-8. This new engine makes 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. It’s an optional engine that slots between the torque-monster diesel and the base 6.2-liter gas V-8.
The new engine can tow some serious tonnage and yet feels docile and well-mannered at all times. There’s nothing truck-like about this engine; unlike the engines found in older heavy-duty trucks, there’s no sensation of piloting a dump truck. It is impressively refined, quiet, and muscular.
Seasoned buyers of heavy-duty trucks will be more interested in the diesel. The 6.7-liter turbodiesel was tweaked this year, with rated power now standing at 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. It is the torque champion among heavy-duty diesels, and it hardly breaks a sweat even when towing 10,000 or 20,000 pounds up a grade. It offers serious capability for the serious buyer.
Regardless of engine choice, the 10-speed automatic transmission is well-behaved with silky smooth shifts around town and at speed while unloaded. With a 9,000-, 12,000-, or 30,000-pound load hooked to the back of the Super Duty, the 10-speed automatic hunts for gears. The tow/haul mode does little to solve the situation and doesn’t lock out any of the top-end gears.
The turbodiesel and 7.3-liter V-8 pair to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox is silky smooth around town and performs well when the truck is unladen, but add a trailer and things aren’t so rosy. We found that while under load the transmission hunts for gears and doesn’t lock out the highest ratios.
Off-roading is more approachable than ever thanks to a new Tremor package. It includes skid plates, a winch, 35-inch all-terrain tires, and special long-travel shocks. Find it out on the trail hunting for Ram 2500 Power Wagons.
The Super Duty lineup is capable, competent, and ready to go to work, be it to the job site or the camp site. There’s a lot to love about the 2020 Super Duty, and it will likely keep Ford on the top of the sales charts for the time being. Our favorite trim? The Lariat.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection