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2021 Ford Super Duty Review

Heavy-duty pickup trucks like the 2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty are built for hard work. This is the place to come when huge payloads and/or incredibly heavy trailers need moving and something smaller like a half-ton Ford F-150 isn’t going to cut it.

The F-Series Super Duty trucks are three-quarter-ton and one-ton workhorses. Yet they can also pull double duty as mobile offices since even the base model has Wi-Fi as standard. Wireless phone charging and USB ports (including Type-C) are also available. And higher trims are positively plush.

The real business, though, is towing and hauling. The Super Duty excels at both. Maximum towing with the turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 engine is 37,000 pounds. Top payload figures are achieved with the regular-cab F-350 dually with the 6.2-liter gasoline V8, which can handle 7,850 pounds.

Towing and payload capacities are dependent on engine, configuration, etc. As far as towing is concerned, an F-250 can pull up to 22,000 pounds, the F-350 can deal with 35,750 pounds, and the F-450 has that best-in-class figure of 37,000 pounds.

The Super Duty has a few other class-best feats as well. Such as the best power and torque in both diesel and gasoline engines. An optional 7.3-liter V8 is the gasoline counterpart.

Ford also offers its Pro Trailer Backup Assist package that includes Trailer Reverse Guidance showing trailer angle and direction, then providing steering suggestions.

A Tremor Off-Road package — available in certain F-250/F-350 trim levels with either the 6.7-liter diesel or the 7.3-liter gasoline V8 — ramps up all-terrain capability for some extreme play to offset all that hard work. This package includes a lift kit, Raptor-style fixed running boards, Trail Control with rock-crawl mode, and a locking rear differential. A Warn electric winch, rated at 12,000 pounds, may also be added.

Heavy-duty trucks from GM and Ram are excellent as well, but the Super Duty is another definite must-consider.

What’s New for 2021?

Following a mid-cycle revamp last year, there are just a few changes this time around. A retractable bed step is optional from the XL to the Platinum trims. The XL’s optional Power Equipment group, when it applies to a version with the dual rear wheel setup, now includes manually extendable side mirrors with heated glass and heated convex spotter mirrors. And new exterior colors are Antimatter Blue, Carbonized Gray, and Lithium Gray. See the 2021 Ford F-250 models for sale near you, see the 2021 Ford F-350 models for sale near you, or see the 2021 Ford F-450 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Class-leading power and torque
  • Massive payload and towing capabilities
  • An abundant selection of configurations and trims
  • Tremor package’s off-road abilities
  • Upscale interiors

What We Don’t

  • Upper trims are seriously expensive
  • Entry-level XL is short on safety technologies

How Much?

$35,925 – $92,820

Fuel Economy

The base engine in all but the top Limited versions of the F-250 and F-350 is a 6.2-liter V8 making 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. In the F-250, this is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

A 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 generating 475 hp and a planet-trembling 1,050 lb-ft of torque is standard in F-450 models and Limited versions of the F-250 and F-350; it’s optional in the rest of the Super Duty range.

Also optional in the F-250 and F-350 (except Limited versions) is a  7.3-liter gasoline V8 producing 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque.

All engines in the F-350 and the F-450 are linked to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading the engine in the F-250 also brings this 10-speed automatic.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is the default configuration in most variants, with all-wheel drive available as an option. The exception being Limited models, which have four driven wheels as standard.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t make fuel economy estimates for vehicles in this class. But don’t expect much more than low teens in city driving and maybe high teens or low 20s on the highway, depending on variables like the engine, the number of driven wheels, cab/bed configuration, and whatever is being hauled and/or towed. Naturally, the 10-speed automatic transmission is an asset.

Standard Features and Options

Pricing a truck requires a lot of decision-making. There’s the engine, cab configuration, number of driven wheels, bed lengths, any specialized features, and several other aspects to consider. With the F-350 and F-450, there’s also the choice of having one or two wheels at each end of the rear axle.

The F-Series Super Duty is available in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels. The prices listed are for the entry-level trims of each variant: F-250, F-350, and F-450. A $1,695 destination charge is included.

XL (F-250 $35,925; F-350 $37,440; F-450 $52,105) comes with 17-in painted steel wheels (the F450 has 19.5-in wheels), halogen headlights with automatic high beams, hill-start assist, six airbags, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, manually extending side mirrors, air conditioning, two 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescope steering wheel, manual door locks/windows, vinyl seating surfaces, 40/20/40 split front bench seat, Ford Sync infotainment system, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB port, and either a 4-speaker (regular cab) or 6-speaker (Super and Crew cabs) audio system.

XLT (F-250 $40,790; F-350 $42,315; F-450 $57,965) has 18-in alloy wheels, powered tailgate lock, BoxLink with lockable tie-down cleats, remote keyless entry, power windows/locks/side mirrors, cruise control, cloth upholstery, 4.2-in instrument cluster, two 100-volt outlets, Ford Co-Pilot360 driver aids (see the Safety section below), lockable under-seat storage box (Crew cab), rear privacy glass, Sync 3 infotainment system, navigation, satellite radio, USB-C port, and a 7-speaker audio setup.

Lariat (F-250 $48,905; F-350 $50,070; F-450 $68,960) adds upgraded 18-in alloy wheels, halogen fog lights, heated/power-folding side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front bucket seats (10-way power-adjustable for the driver, 8-way power-adjustable for the passenger), leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-in instrument cluster, powered/sliding rear window, two rear-seat 12-volt outlets, rear parking sensors, and a 10-speaker/1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system.

King Ranch (F-250 $61,290; F-350 $62,805; F-450 $79,005) adds LED bed lighting, memory settings for the side mirrors, remote tailgate release, power-adjustable pedals with memory, remote start, rain-sensing wipers with de-icer, trim-specific interior elements, heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System with 360-degree camera, backup camera with trailer reverse guidance and the Pro Trailer Backup Assist Package.

Platinum (F-250 $67,210; F-350 $67,220; F-450 $81,740) removes the power-adjustable pedals but adds 20-in alloy wheels, power-retractable running boards, quad-beam LED headlights, LED fog lights, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, upgraded leather upholstery, multi-contour front seats, and heated rear seats (Crew Cab).

Limited (F-250 $85,885; F-350 $87,060; F-450 $92,820) has the diesel engine as standard, plus 2-tone leather seating surfaces, power-adjustable pedals, adaptive steering, twin-panel moonroof, retractable bed step, and upfitter switches.

Many standard features in the upper trims are available as options in the lower trims. Other items such as a spray-in or drop-in bed liner, skid plates, stowable loading ramps, tonneau box cover, console vault, and a backup alarm are optional in all F-Series Super Duty trucks.

Safety

Every 2021 F-Series Super Duty truck comes with six airbags and a post-crash alert system. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control is also included, reducing engine power and braking selected wheels to limit the risk of rollover during hard cornering or evasive maneuvers.

The Ford Co-Pilot360 array of safety technologies is standard in all Super Duty trucks except the entry-level XL, bringing pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot alert with trailer coverage, and automatic high beams.

Heavy-duty trucks are not crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Behind the Wheel

This is a big truck and drives like it. Things like driver aids, safety features, and the 10-speed automatic transmission help make life a little easier, but the Super Duty is unarguably super-sized.

The base engine is adequate, especially in the F-250, but the two upgrades are outstanding. The 7.3-liter gasoline V8 has plenty of muscle, responding to throttle inputs without hesitation. The 1,050 lb-ft of torque of the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 is truly awesome. When towing with either engine, a driver could almost forget that there are several thousand pounds out back once the whole rig is up to speed.

Although most drivers will never need the exceptional off-road capability and technology of the Tremor Off-Road Package, 10.8 inches of ground clearance and 33 inches of wading ability are impressive. Although similar capabilities can also be found in more affordable vehicles.

The Super Duty’s well-appointed cabin is remarkably quiet. Ford has done a terrific job here, filtering out all but a little tire drone and road noise.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 Ram 2500/3500Ram HD trucks have a great choice of engines. And options include a 12-in Uconnect infotainment touchscreen and an air suspension.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD — The Silverado HD has solid towing numbers, an amazing camera system and a wide range of configurations.

GMC Sierra HD — This is the mechanical twin of the Chevy Silverado HD.

Used Ford F-450 — For strenuous towing and payload capacities, but without the 2021 Super Duty prices, take a look at a used F-450.

Autotrader’s Advice

The XLT trim has plenty of standard equipment without getting too crazy price-wise. Find a Ford F-250 for sale, find a Ford F-350 for sale, or find a Ford F-450 for sale

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