Inspired by the bigger-than-life Super Chief auto show concept of the mid-2000s, Ford's Super Duty pickups are locomotives on tires. All Super Duty pickups have gross vehicle weight ratings in excess of 8,500 lbs. The F-250 version covered here is the 3/4-ton model, the smallest member of the Super Duty trio that also includes the 1-ton rated F-350 and the semi-medium-duty F-450.

Ford was the first to break out its heavier "light-duty" pickups into a separate series in the late 1990s with a beefed-up frame, suspension and powertrain. The 2008-2010 versions share little but the F-Series name with garden-variety F-150s of the same vintage. The Super Duty trucks get their own distinctive beefy-looking sheet metal, too. 2011 Super Duty trucks get a completely new engine, a new transmission and a new front-end look, plus numerous interior updates, so they are covered in a separate review.

Why You Want It

If you're looking to buy the F-250 version of Ford's Super Duty pickup, you have a lot of company. The Super Duty is the best-selling HD pickup, and in 2010 it grabbed 50 percent of the market, leaving Chevy, GMC and Dodge to duke it out for the other half.

In 2008, Ford claimed its Super Duty had best-in-class trailer towing (up to 16,300 lbs), gross vehicle weight rating (9,400 lbs) and payload rating (3,200 lbs). It's a stiff-riding truck and you'll sit high in the saddle, but there are plenty of civilizing touches. Quiet Steel used in the firewall and other acoustic measures help quiet the cabin for enjoyment of the available sound systems, including the Panasonic Audiophile Stereo.

A Tow Command electronic trailer brake controller interacts with the truck's anti-lock brakes. PowerScope tow mirrors telescope out to improve visibility around wide trailers. An optional fold-down tailgate step and assist handle ease access to the bed. Also optional, a bed extender splits and folds flat against the bed walls when not in use. The 2008-2010 F-250 is also one of the last full-size pickups available with a traditional six-speed manual transmission and "big-stick" floor shifter, should you be so inclined.

Notable Features & Options

The Super Duty F-250 is available in a two-door Regular Cab that seats two or three passengers; a 5- or 6-passenger 4-door "extended" SuperCab with no center pillar and rear-hinged "suicide" rear doors; and a 5- or 6-passenger 4-door Crew Cab with a full-width back seat and four conventional doors. All can be configured with 2WD or 4WD. The Regular Cab comes only with an 8-ft-long box, while the SuperCab and Crew Cab can be paired with either a 6.75-ft standard box or the 8-footer.

There are some 30+ trim combinations for the F-250, but the basic groupings are XL, XLT, Lariat and FX4. On top of that there are three theme packages: King Ranch, Harley-Davidson and a Cabela's Edition. Content detail varies slightly year to year. XL is a work truck, pure and simple. XL trim includes vinyl flooring; a vinyl bench seat; set 'em yourself folding black side mirrors; black bumpers and grille; 17-inch painted steel wheels; a 12,500-lb trailer hitch; tire-pressure monitoring; ABS; a trailer tow package; and a two-speaker AM/FM radio.

Air conditioning becomes standard on XL starting in 2009. Upgrading to XLT adds refined touches like carpeting; air conditioning; cloth 40/20/40 front bench seat; tilt steering wheel; four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; chrome bumpers and grille surround; dual-beam jewel-effect headlamps; 17-inch chrome-clad steel wheels; cruise control; and power windows, door locks and mirrors.

The Lariat slathers on power; leather-covered front seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual-zone automatic A/C; forged and polished 18-inch alloy wheels; self-dimming mirrors; trip computer/message center; sliding rear window; and an anti-theft system.

The 4WD-only FX4 has a rough-trail focus and features Rancho shocks, skid plates, a limited-slip rear differential, 18-inch chrome-clad steel wheels, billet-style body-color grille, shadow gray wheel lip moldings and other accents. The opulent King Ranch package is only available on the Lariat.

For 2010, Cabela's trim replaces the FX4, with two-tone paint, special embossed interior trim and added locking storage. FX4/Cabela's and Lariat trim aren't available with the Regular Cab.

The Harley-Davidson package adds black or copper paint with contrasting accent stripe; billet grille; illuminated running boards; embossed Harley-Davidson rubber bed mat; 20-inch forged polished alloy wheels; power sliding rear window; telescoping PowerScope tow mirrors; specially trimmed and Harley-Davidson-embossed leather seats; and more.

Model Milestones

2008: Harley-Davidson trim was made available on Super Duty F-250 for the first time. A 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 turbodiesel replaced the 6.0-liter version.

2009: A/C and theft immobilizer were made standard on all trims. An integrated trailer brake controller was made standard on XLT and FX4. Lariat added PowerScope tow mirrors, a backup camera, power sliding rear window, heated front seats, running boards and SYNC connectivity. New optional military-grade spray-on bed liner became available as an option. Optional technology included SYNC, Sirius Travel Link, Tool Link asset tracking and Ford Work Solutions with in-dash computer and wireless Internet.

2010: New Cabela's trim replaced the FX4 4WD model. New Ford SYNC with Traffic helped owners avoid traffic backups and find the best prices on fuel. The Base XL got an integrated trailer brake controller, keyless entry, privacy glass and power/heated tow mirrors.

Engines & Performance

There are two Triton gas engines - a 300-hp 5.4-liter V8 and a 362-hp 6.8-liter V10. A 350-hp 6.4-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel replaces the trouble-prone 6.0-liter oil-burner used in 2007 and earlier F-250s. More importantly, the 6.4-liter turbodiesel develops 650 ft-lbs of torque at just 2,000 rpm, ideal for towing and carrying big loads. Performance of the base 5.4-liter V8 is a bit underwhelming in such a big truck, keeping in mind the truck itself with no load weighs 6,500-7,500 lbs. The gas V10 gives diesel-like performance, but fuel efficiency is subpar. In 2008 Motor Trend "Truck of the Year" testing, a 6.8-liter V10-equipped FX4 SuperCab achieved 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds.

The new 6.4-liter turbodiesel features piezoelectric fuel injectors for improved cold-start performance and low exhaust emissions. The diesel features sequential twin turbos. One turbo is smaller than the other, the smaller one spooling up more quickly to improve low-speed response and minimize turbo "lag." The overall effect is to broaden the torque curve for good engine response across a wider speed range. In a 2009 Truck Trend test, a 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel-equipped Cabela's Edition Crew Cab accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds.

The base 5.4-liter gas V8 and optional 6.4-liter V8 turbodiesel can be paired with a standard manual 6-speed transmission or an optional five-speed TorqShift automatic. The 6.8-liter V10 is only available with the automatic transmission.

Ford Super Duty F-250 pickups have a gross vehicle weight rating more than 8,500 lbs, so they are exempt from EPA fuel economy testing and don't receive a label estimate.

Recalls, Safety Ratings & Warranties

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following safety recall on the 2008-2010 Ford F-250 pickup:

2008-2009: Some F-250s equipped with Continental Conti Trac TR LT275/70R18 tires can experience vibration, uneven wear or tread separation, especially at high temperatures or if underinflated.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, he'll fix the car at no charge to you.

The NHTSA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) didn't test the 2008-2010 Super Duty F-250 for impact performance.

All 2008-2010 Super Duty F-250s come with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage. Roadside assistance for 5 years or 60,000 miles is included. The Ford Certified Pre-Owned bumper-to-bumper warranty runs just 3 months/3,000 miles, but Ford also throws in a 6-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty that includes 24/7 roadside assistance.

Word on the Web

Overall, owners of 2008-2010 Ford Super Duty F-250s appear to be too busy using their trucks to spend much time complaining about them on blogs or in chat rooms. We're just not seeing many complaints.

Consumer Reports gave the F-250 4WD turbodiesel overall good marks with average to above-average predicted reliability in most areas and cited very good owner satisfaction, but predicted high owner costs, worse than average reliability for climate control and much worse than average reliability for 2008 engine cooling systems as well as 2008-09 fuel systems.

Pickuptrucks.com was enthusiastic about the 2008-2010 Super Duty F-250 for its class-leading tow ratings, available manual transmission, wide array of interior trim packages, V-10 diesel-like performance, cargo capacity, interior space and resale value, but docked it for diesel engine noise, poor maneuverability, tall climb up into 4WD models, underwhelming performance of the base gas V8 and lack of a diesel exhaust brake.

Competitive Set

A GMC Sierra 2500HD or Chevy Silverado 2500HD are good alternatives for a smoother ride and more precise steering, but they lack some pizzazz compared to Ford's top-of-the-line trim packages. The Dodge Ram 2500 has enticing interior design, as well as the legendary Hemi gas V8 and big-rig-proven Cummins turbodiesel, but ride quality is on the rough side.

AutoTrader Recommendation

Like the Dodge and GM HD pickups, a Super Duty F-250 should have a service life in excess of 200,000 miles if proper maintenance procedures are followed. Condition is just as important as the odometer reading because many of the miles on these work-oriented trucks are local. Keep in mind that these trucks will feel somewhat clumsy and heavy over rough roads, and precise steering is not a Super Duty hallmark either.

Even though you'll pay more, our recommendation is to find one with the Power Stroke turbodiesel, which will deliver the best fuel economy and overall performance, especially when loaded or towing. This is a big truck that might not fit in your garage due to its height and overall length, especially Crew Cab models.

That said, the SuperCab rear seat is pretty tight on legroom if 6-footers are going back there. We'd recommend four-wheel drive for buyers in the upper Midwest or mountain country. It's best to avoid customized trucks with lift kits. Also, running boards are a good choice if the driver is of shorter stature, as this truck's step-in height is more than two feet above terra firma.

author photo

Lee Ronson started out creating new car product training videos and auto repair manuals, along the way penning for Auto, Gear, Car Craft, Exotic Cars Quarterly, Four Wheeler, Auto Hebdo, Bilsport, Travel/Holiday, Open Road, Chevy High Performance, Sport Auto and more. Today, Lee suits up for vintage car road rallies whenever the opportunity strikes.

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