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2018 Ford F-Series Super Duty: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by AutoTrader June 2018

The 2018 Ford F-Series Super Duty moves into the second model year of a fresh generation. Like its smaller F-150 sibling, the F-250 and F-350 now use an aluminum body based on a tough ladder frame made of high-strength steel and featuring boxed rails. The F-250/F-350 pickups have stronger bed floors than those in the F-150.

Thanks to such a solid foundation, these are extremely capable trucks, with impressive load capacities and towing abilities. Maximum payload is 7,360 pounds, while the top conventional tow rating is 21,000 pounds. Add a fifth wheel to pull 27,500 pounds, or select a gooseneck adapter for a massive 34,000 pounds. A multi-camera Trailer Reverse Guidance feature is also available.

What's New for 2018?

A rearview camera becomes standard and a new Limited trim level comes in at the top of the range.

What We Like

Great power and strength for towing and hauling; numerous configurations and interior options; stellar turbodiesel engine; clever bed access step engineered into the tailgate

What We Don't

High-end models are seriously pricey

How Much?

$34,445-$82,490

Fuel Economy

The standard engine in the F-250 and F-350 is a 6.2-liter V8 developing 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. A 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 is optional. It generates 440 hp and a muscular 925 lb-ft of torque. A heavy duty 6-speed automatic with manual gear selection is the sole transmission. Rear-wheel drive is the default setup; all-wheel drive is optional.

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

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Ford F-Series Super Duty comes in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited trim levels. While each is distinct, buyers have the ability to customize, like adding a heavier-duty suspension or a snowplow package.

Cab styles are Regular (2-door), extended SuperCab and 4-door Crew Cab. Seating ranges from two to six occupants.

Bed lengths are 6.8 feet or 8.2 feet; regular cab versions are paired only with the longer bed.

The F-350 also offers a "dually" setup (twin wheels at each end of the rear axle) for the rear-drive/long-bed version.

The F-250 XL ($34,445) and F-350 XL ($38,415) are the entry level models, coming with the 6.2-liter V8 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. The XL is sparse. Air conditioning, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, two 12-volt outlets, bed lighting, removable/lockable tailgate with lift assist, 2-ton mechanical jack (single rear wheels) and a rearview camera are all standard, but the floor and seats are covered with vinyl. The windows are hand-cranked, while the audio system consists of an AM/FM radio, auxiliary audio input and four speakers (six speakers in the SuperCab and Crew Cab versions). Exterior features are similarly utilitarian: 17-inch steel wheels, for example.

In the F-250 XLT ($38,605) and F-350 XLT ($39,785) things become more civilized with standard 18-in alloy wheels and chrome exterior accents. The cabin floor is upgraded from vinyl to carpet, and cloth upholstery comes in, plus cruise control, power accessories, heated mirrors, keyless entry, padded armrests, an integrated trailer brake controller, Bluetooth, Sync voice control, CD/MP3 player and a USB port.

The F-250 Lariat ($47,215) and F-350 Lariat ($48,385) come only in SuperCab and Crew Cab configurations. Power-adjustable pedals are standard, plus extendable/power-folding mirrors, a power-sliding rear window, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a self-dimming rearview mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, 110-volt/400-watt inverter outlet, a Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-in screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and satellite/HD radio. An upgraded Sony audio system is standard in the Crew Cab version.

The F-250 King Ranch ($56,485) and the F-350 King Ranch ($60,855) are Crew Cab only, with Power Scope trailer tow/heated/power-folding side mirrors. Other equipment includes leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats with driver's-side memory settings (including the position of the power-adjustable pedals), remote start, keyless entry/ignition, remote tailgate release, a heated steering wheel, a garage door opener, a navigation system and Sony audio setup.

The Crew Cab-only F-250 Platinum ($64,075) and F-350 Platinum ($64,410) models feature more luxury touches, like 20-in alloy wheels, LED headlamps, powered running boards, heated rear seats, tailgate access step, premium leather trim, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and adaptive steering.

F-250 Limited ($81,315) and F-350 Limited ($82,490) come with the diesel engine, all-wheel drive and Crew Cabs as standard, then add 2-tone leather seating surfaces, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation, a 360-degree camera system, Trailer Reverse Guidance, a moonroof and auxiliary upfitter switches.

Many standard features in the higher trims are optional in the lower trims. Other equipment choices include spray-in bedliners, beefier alternators, connectors for gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailer mounts and a choice of axle ratios. An FX4 Off-Road package for all-wheel drive models includes a specialized suspension, all-terrain tires, hill-descent control and an electronic locking rear differential.

Safety

The F-Series Super Duty comes with front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger. SuperCab and Crew Cab models add side curtain airbags. Naturally, there's a trailer sway control. Anti-lock brakes have ventilated discs at each wheel. A post-crash alert system is also standard.

All trucks have AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, which uses reduced engine power and selective wheel braking to limit the risk of rollover during hard cornering or evasive maneuvers.

Heavy duty trucks are not crash tested by either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Behind the Wheel

Replacing steel panels with aluminum hasn't resulted in markedly lighter trucks. Weight saved in that area went into making a super-strong frame and strengthening the axles. But it does mean a lower center of gravity, bringing benefits in ride quality and handling.

For such a massive truck, the Super Duty is surprisingly manageable. Despite having more bulk up front than an F-150, it doesn't feel much bigger. The frame is impressively stiff -- an important attribute for towing and hauling.

The standard steering setup is a hydraulic power-assisted recirculating ball system. The optional adaptive system comes with an electric motor and worm gears, reducing steering ratio at low speeds and increasing it at higher speeds. In tight situations, there's more steering with fewer rotations; on the highway or towing, small inputs are minimized. There's some numbness at center, typical of electric power steering, but the low-speed maneuverability is worth the trade-off.

Acceleration is good with the gasoline engine, but the turbodiesel gives the Super Duty a truly monumental ability for pulling, hauling, climbing and descending (thanks to a smart exhaust braking feature). Both engines run smoothly, with scant engine noise or vibration coming into the cabin. Only at full throttle while towing might the diesel's sound become a factor. Even then, it's still possible to have a conversation without raising voices.

The ride isn't luxuriously smooth, nor is it harsh. It's set up to be at its best under load. And the plush appointments in the higher trim levels help the miles melt away.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Ram 2500/3500 -- Immensely capable. The 2500 has coil springs at the rear for a refined ride. The 3500 sticks with traditional leaf springs.

2018 Chevrolet Silverado HD/GMC Sierra HD -- GM's twins offer similar configurations and engine options as the Super Duty, and their diesel unit can go piston to piston with Ford's 6.7-liter powerhouse.

2018 Nissan Titan XD -- If the full Super Duty treatment might be too much, consider the excellent Titan XD, which occupies that ground between half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks. It can still come with a gooseneck trailer connection or a fifth wheel.

Used Ford F-450 -- If a mere F-250 or F-350 isn't enough, the F-450 has awesome towing capacity. Going for a lightly used model can save thousands.

Autotrader's Advice

For the sort of work the Super Duty is normally put to, the torque-rich diesel engine is highly recommended. The XLT trim makes a good proposition, coming at a reasonable initial price while leaving money in the budget for options.

Find a Ford F-Series Super Duty for sale

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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-Series Super Duty: New Car Review - Autotrader