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2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ford F-250: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill September 2018
  • The Ford F-Series is the best-selling vehicle product line in America.

  • The 2018 Ford F-150's max towing capacity is 13,200 lbs; 2018 Ford F-250 max towing capacity is 17,500 lbs.

  • For the first time since 1999, both redesigned F-150 and Super Duty share the same cab.

The Ford F-Series lineup comprises the best-selling vehicle product line in the United States. If you're in the market for a new full-size pickup, you might be wondering what the major differences are between the F-150 and the burlier F-250 (not to mention the F-350 and F-450). Do the main differences go beyond simple towing ability? Are there any features available on the F-250 that aren't available on the F-150? Is one really "tougher" than the other? Below, we'll try to answer those questions and more via a comparison of the two vehicles.

The Basics

While the F-150 was last all-new for the 2015 model year, redesigned versions of the F-250, F-350 and F-450 were introduced for 2017. With their respective redesigns, both of these vehicles now share the same cab for the first time since 1999. Perhaps the most drastic change for the redesigned F-Series lineup is the move to a largely aluminum body, allowing both vehicles to shed more than 700 lbs over their previous generations. While many questioned the durability of aluminum, it hasn't proven to be as problematic as was originally feared, although it has resulted in measurable fuel economy gains.

The real differences between the two vehicles start to become apparent when we look at their respective engine lineups. Essentially, while the F-150 offers a range of potent, capable engines, the Super Duty lineup picks up where the F-150 leaves off, offering even more potent, more capable engines.

F-150 engines:

As of 2018, all engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, except for the 3.3L V6, which comes with a 6-speed automatic. No manual is offered.

3.3L V6: 290 horsepower; 265 lb-ft

  • RWD: 19 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined

2.7L Turbo V6: 325 hp; 400 lb-ft

  • RWD: 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined

5.0L V8: 395 hp; 400 lb-ft

  • RWD: 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined

3.5L Turbo V6: 375 hp; 470 lb-ft

  • RWD: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined

3.5L High-Output (Raptor) Turbo V6: 450 hp; 510 lb-ft

  • 4WD: 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined

3.0L Turbo Diesel: 250 hp; 440 lb-ft

  • RWD: 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined

F-Series Super Duty engines:

All variants of the F-Series Super Duty are offered with a 6-speed automatic transmission. As with the F-150, no manual is offered.

6.2L V8: 385 hp; 430 lb-ft

6.7L Turbo Diesel V8: 450 hp; 935 lb-ft

The government doesn't rate the fuel economy of heavy-duty pickups, but F-Series Super Duty drivers shouldn't expect to see more than around 15 mpg overall in combined city and highway driving.

Capability

A base model F-150 equipped with the entry-level 3.3-liter V6 offers a maximum towing capacity of up to 7,700 lbs and a maximum payload capacity of 1,990 lbs. Step up to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the F-150's most capable engine, and these figures reach 13,200 lbs and 3,230 lbs, respectively.

The lowest end F-250 still has a max towing capacity of 13,000 lbs, and the figures only increase from there. The most capable F-250 can tow 17,500 lbs with a standard hitch, while the most capable F-Series Super Duty truck all together can tow a whopping 34,000 lbs when equipped with the right trailer and offers a maximum payload capacity of 7,630 lbs.

A well-equipped F-150 offers ample towing and payload capacity for most recreational and even many commercial needs. For anyone who needs to tow items exceeding 10,000 lbs with regularity, though, a heavy-duty F-250, F-350 or F-450 is probably in order.

While the F-150 employs an independent front suspension, the F-250, along with the rest of the Super Duty lineup, utilizes a solid front axle.

Trim Levels

Save for the F-150's enthralling Raptor variant, the F-150 and F-250 are offered in the exact same trim levels with the same amenities. The entry-level XL is a basic work truck, while upper trim levels introduce nicer exterior appointments, premium audio systems, real wood trim, an 8-inch infotainment screen, high-end leather and a dual-panel moonroof on top-of-the-line Limited models.

Interior

As mentioned before, the F-150 and F-250 share the exact same cab. As a result, both vehicles offer identical interior space. In Crew Cab models, the F-Series lineup offers 40.8 inches of headroom and 43.9 inches of legroom in the front. Back seat passengers get 40.4 inches of headroom and 43.6 inches of legroom, a class-leading figure.

Cargo

While the F-150 offers three bed lengths, the F-250 only offers two. F-150 buyers have their choice of a short bed measuring 5.5 feet in length and offering 53 cu ft. of room, a medium or "standard" bed measuring 6.5 feet and offering 62 cu ft., or a long bed, measuring 8.0 feet and offering 77 cu ft. of space.

The F-250 comes with either a 6.75-foot bed that offers 65 cu ft. of room, or an 8-foot bed offering 79 cu ft.

Exterior

While the F-150 and F-250 share the same cab areas, the areas ahead of their a-pillars differ rather significantly in styling. While the front-end of the F-150 is rather tame and subdued, the F-250's nose is bold and in your face, bridging the gap between the simple full-size truck and a massive big rig you might encounter on the freeway. Also, given the Super Duty's orientation toward heavy-duty utility, there's more going on underneath and around the exterior of the F-250 than there is with the F-150. While the F-150 can be had with 22-in wheels, the F-250 is limited to more practical, more durable 20-in wheels. The F-250 also has a higher ride height and rather large standard extendable mirrors for use during towing. While these aren't the most attractive design elements, given the nature of the vehicle, these aren't features that can be sacrificed in the interest of vanity.

Features & Tech

All variations of the F-Series offer an available 8-in touchscreen running Ford's highly intuitive Sync 3.0 infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are included, along with 4G LTE Wi-Fi compatibility.

Limited models are available with a panoramic moon roof and a new Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. The F-Series also offers a convenient step and handle that stows in the tailgate, making getting in and out of the bed a breeze.

Both vehicles feature additional display screens in their gauge clusters. The F-150 offers two 12-volt outlets and two USB ports. The work-oriented F-250 doubles the F-150's offering with four 12-volt outlets and four USB ports.

Safety

In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2018 Ford F-150 was awarded scores of Good in all major categories, earning it a Top Safety Pick designation. IIHS doesn't test heavy-duty pickups, and therefore hasn't evaluated the F-250. While we'd expect it to perform similarly to the F-150, we can't say for sure whether this is the case.

In terms of driver assistance safety features, the F-Series offers forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning with vibrating feedback and parking assist. Additionally, both the F-150 and F-250 are available with a variety of cameras and other features that help drivers to maneuver with a trailer attached and to monitor their load.

Quality

Both the F-150 and F-250 should offer quality on par with the rest of the industry. Both come with Ford's 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties.

Conclusions

Altogether, the F-150 and F-250 offer the same exact interiors, trim levels and amenities. Where they differ is when it comes to towing and payload capabilities. The F-150 is quite capable and is sufficient for most needs, and offers superior fuel economy and refinement given its more passenger-car derived engines. For anyone towing and hauling heavy loads of around 10,000 lbs and up with regularity, though, the F-250 is probably the right choice.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Ford F-250: What's the Difference? - Autotrader