The full-size truck market is a constant tug-of-war between Ford, Chevrolet and RAM, but the 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty arguably takes top billing with its formidable payload and towing capacities. The pulling power of the Super Duty is now matched with new stopping power as well. Engineers recently made meaningful improvements to the braking system, increasing driver confidence in the Super Duty's stopping abilities. Altogether, the 2014 F-Series Super Duty pickups are some of the strongest, most technologically advanced trucks on the market.

What's New for 2014?

Minor improvements to the braking system, including beefier rotors and a larger parking brake, are said to make the 2014 Super Duty an even more capable beast of burden.

What We Like

Great power and strength for towing and hauling; numerous configurations and interior options; stellar diesel engine

What We Don't

Poor fuel economy with the gas engine; high-end models cost as much as some nice luxury sedans

How Much?

$30,915 to $55,180

Fuel Economy

The standard engine on the F-250 and F-350 is a 6.2-liter flex-fuel V8 good for 385 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. Optional is the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel that generates 400 hp and an astounding 800 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are connected to a heavy-duty TorqShift 6-speed automatic transmission that offers manual gear selection.

There are no Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy ratings for the Super Duty, but you can expect mileage in the low-to-mid teens on gasoline models, with diesel models capable of high teens or even 20 miles per gallon on the open road.

With the diesel, Ford offers two interesting options. First is the Live Drive Power Takeoff (PTO), which allows the transmission to power external accessories such as a snowplow or a truck lift, provided the diesel engine is running. The other is the exhaust brake function, which limits combustion by restricting exhaust, helping to maintain desired speed when towing.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 F-Series Super Duty is offered in 10 trim levels -- F-250 XL, F-250 XLT, F-250 Lariat, F-250 King Ranch, F-250 Platinum, F-350 XL, F-350 XLT, F-350 Lariat, F-350 King Ranch and F-350 Platinum. While each model is distinct from the one before it, customers can still fully customize each trim, adding a heavy-duty suspension or a snowplow package, for example. There are also no fewer than five bed lengths to choose from, as well as three cab styles (regular, extended SuperCab and 4-door Crew Cab).

The F-250 XL ($30,915) and F-350 XL ($31,810) are the entry-level Super Duty trucks with the 6.2-liter V8 engine and the TorqShift heavy-duty 6-speed automatic transmission. The interior on the XL trim level is sparsely equipped. It does offer air conditioning as standard, but the floor and the seat are covered in vinyl. The basic XL model is rear-wheel drive and features painted, 17-inch steel wheels.

Step up to the F-250 XLT ($34,945) or F-350 XLT ($35,845) and the truck gets nicer. The floor covering of the F-Series XLT is upgraded from vinyl to carpet, and cruise control is added, as is an AM/FM Stereo with single CD/MP3 Player with four speakers. On the outside, Ford includes 17-in, 6-spoke aluminum wheels and a chrome grille package.

On the F-250 Lariat ($42,610) and the F-350 Lariat ($43,505), offered only in SuperCab and Crew Cab configurations, Ford adds a digital instrument cluster with a 4.2-in LCD display. In the center stack, SYNC with MyFord Touch is added with a rearview camera. Below the bright MyFord Touch display is a dual-zone automatic climate control. Shorter drivers will appreciate the Lariat trim, as it adds power-adjustable pedals as standard.

The F-250 King Ranch ($50,395) and the F-350 King Ranch ($51,295) come only in the Crew Cab 4-door body style. To accent the 4-door cab, Ford adds 2-tone lower-accent paint to the King Ranch. Unique to the King Ranch is a chrome package with 18-in, chrome-clad wheels, bright metallic exhaust tip and several other chrome accents. On the interior, Chaparral leather is used throughout, and 10-way power-adjustable front seats with both heating and cooling are included. A strong audio system from Sony is also added to the King Ranch.

The top-of-the-line F-250 Platinum ($54,280) and F-350 Platinum ($55,180), also offered only as Crew Cabs, feature a few more niceties than the King Ranch trim, including a unique leather-wrapped steering wheel with heated wood accent, premium front leather seats with embroidered Platinum logo, body-color bumpers and door handles, bright chrome, 6-in angular step bars, satin chrome front grille and skid plates for the 4x4 models.

Safety

The Ford F-Series Super Duty comes standard with front and side airbags for the driver and the front passenger. SuperCab and Crew Cab models add side-curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers.

Ford has fitted all Super Duty trucks with AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, which uses reduced engine power and selective-wheel braking to limit the risk of rollover during hard cornering or fast swerving when avoiding an object or collision.

Heavy-duty trucks are not subject to crash testing by either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

For such a massive truck, the Super Duty is surprisingly manageable. If you feel comfortable behind the wheel of a Ford F-150, the Super Duty adds more bulk up-front but feels about the same. The fully boxed frame is impressively stiff -- an important attribute for towing and hauling heavy loads. On the road, the ride is not luxury-car smooth, but it isn't harsh either. The steering is tight and direct, and the cabin is fairly quiet, especially on the King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. Acceleration is good with the gasoline engine, but it's the Power Stroke Turbo Diesel that gives the Super Duty the power it needs to pull, haul and climb.

Other Cars to Consider

RAM 2500/3500 -- Like Ford's Super Duty trucks, the RAM 2500/3500 lineup is vastly capable, though its Cummins 6-cylinder turbodiesel isn't quite as beastly.

Chevrolet Silverado HD/GMC Sierra HD -- GM's twins offer roughly the same configurations and engine options as the Super Duty, and their optional diesel engine can go toe-to-toe with Ford's 6.7-liter powerhouse.

AutoTrader's Advice

For our money, the tough-yet-refined King Ranch best suits the Super Duty. Regardless of which Super Duty version you choose, though, we strongly recommend the diesel engine. The gas engine is good, but the diesel is on another level altogether.

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