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2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2015

The full-size-truck market is a constant tug-of-war between Ford, Chevrolet and RAM, but the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty is threatening to take top billing with its formidable payload and towing capacities. The pulling power of the Super Duty is now matched with suitable 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 2015 F-Series Super Duty pickups are some of the strongest, most technologically advanced trucks on the market.

What's New for 2015?

The available Power Stroke diesel V8 gets even more output, gaining 40 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque.

What We Like

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

What We Don't

High-end models cost as much as some nice luxury sedans

How Much?

$33,005-$57,640

Fuel Economy

The standard engine on the F-250 and F-350 is a 6.2-liter flex-fuel (gasoline or E85) V8 good for 385 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Optional is the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 that generates 440 hp and an astonishing 860 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.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 F-Series Super Duty is offered in five main trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and 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 ($33,005) and F-350 XL ($33,900) are the entry-level Super Duty trucks, and they come 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. You'll have to crank your own windows, while the audio system consists of a radio and two speakers. Exterior features are similarly no-nonsense, including 17-inch steel wheels.

Step up to the F-250 XLT ($36,765) or F-350 XLT ($37,665), and the truck gets a lot nicer, with standard 18-in alloy wheels and some chrome exterior accents. The floor is upgraded from vinyl to carpet, and cloth upholstery joins the action. Cruise control, power accessories, Bluetooth and SYNC voice controls are also added, as is an upgraded stereo with a CD player, a USB port and four speakers.

On the F-250 Lariat ($45,070) and the F-350 Lariat ($45,965), offered only in SuperCab and Crew Cab configurations, Ford cranks up the luxury. Power adjustable pedals are standard, as are power-folding mirrors, a power-sliding rear window, automatic climate control and a digital instrument cluster with a 4.2-in LCD display. The center stack features the 8-in MyFord Touch infotainment screen with a rearview-camera display. A thumping Sony audio system is available.

The F-250 King Ranch ($53,030) and the F-350 King Ranch ($53,930) come only in the Crew Cab 4-door body style. To accentuate the 4-door cab, Ford adds 2-tone paint and extended chrome trim to the King Ranch. Inside, distinctive saddle-brown leather is used throughout, and 10-way power adjustable memory front seats with both heating and cooling are included. The Sony stereo and a navigation system are standard on every King Ranch.

The top-of-the-line F-250 Platinum ($56,740) and F-350 Platinum ($57,640), also offered only as Crew Cabs, ditch the King Ranch trim's western design theme and feature a few more niceties, including 20-in alloy wheels, a unique leather-and-wood heated steering wheel and premium leather trim.

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 subjected to crash-testing by either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

For such a massive truck, the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty is surprisingly manageable. If you're comfortable behind the wheel of a Ford F-150, the Super Duty adds more bulk up front, but it doesn't feel that much bigger. The fully boxed frame is impressively stiff, which is an important attribute for towing and hauling heavy loads. On the road, the ride certainly isn't luxury-car smooth, but it isn't harsh, either. The steering is tight and direct, and the plush appointments in the King Ranch and Platinum trim levels make the miles melt away. Acceleration is good with the gasoline engine, but it's the Power Stroke turbodiesel that gives the Super Duty a truly awesome skill set for pulling, hauling and climbing.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 RAM 2500/3500 -- Like Ford's Super Duty trucks, RAM's 2500 and 3500 trucks are immensely capable, though RAM's Cummins 6-cylinder turbodiesel isn't quite as beastly as the Power Stroke.

2015 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.

2015 Toyota Tundra -- If you're not sure whether you need the full Super Duty treatment, consider the Tundra, which offers 5.7-liter V8 power and most of a Super Duty's muscle for less coin.

Used Ford F-450 -- Worried that a mere F-250 or F-350 won't be enough? The F-450 offers unsurpassed towing capacity, and you can save thousands by going with a lightly used model.

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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2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty: New Car Review - Autotrader