2020 Ford Super Duty Gets 10 Speeds, an Updated Power Stroke, and a 7.3L Gas Engine
Midcycle Refresh Should Bring Major Capability Updates
Three model years in, Ford will update its hard-working F-Series Super Duty for 2020, giving it an updated Power Stroke 6.7L turbodiesel V-8, an all-new 7.3L gasoline V-8, and a stout new 10-speed automatic gearbox available on all engines. These changes will give the 2020 Super Duty its highest-ever payload and conventional, gooseneck, and fifth-wheel towing ratings ever, according to Ford.
Unfortunately, the company wouldn’t cop to official powertrain or capability numbers, but the outgoing Super Duty can haul up to 7,640 pounds of stuff in the bed, and it’s rated to bumper-pull a trailer weighing up to 21,000 pounds. A fifth-wheel hitch boosts that to 27,500 pounds, while a properly equipped 2019 Super Duty can haul up to 35,000 pounds. With Ford promising wholesale improvements across the board, don’t be surprised to see the 2020 Super Duty take back its max-haul crown from the all-new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty (currently rated at 35,100 pounds).
Engine RoomFurthermore, Ford thinks that the updated 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 available in the 2020 Super Duty will also improve significantly on its predecessor. Thanks to a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system and a revised variable-geometry turbocharger, as well as stouter and lower-friction engine internals, we predict the new Power Stroke to produce about 475 hp and at least 975 lb-ft (possibly even eclipsing the new Ram 3500’s available 1,000–lb-ft diesel). Whatever the case may be, expect Ford to offer the Power Stroke in every F-Series Super Duty variant, a contrast to Ram’s high-output Cummins that’s only available in the 3500 with the Aisin transmission.
Ford will also offer the 2020 Super Duty with an all-new gasoline engine option, a big-block 7.3L V-8 that will act as a middle child between the revised diesel and the carryover base 6.2L V-8. Ford says to expect best-in-class gasoline torque and power from the optional engine, codenamed Godzilla—and who else loves that a 7.3L V-8 is once again available in the biggest F-Series retail truck? With variable valve timing and piston-cooling oil jets on board, expect reasonable efficiency and reliability from the big gasser as well.
Get in GearBoth updated engines will be mated to an all-new TorqShift 10-speed automatic transmission as standard—the base 6.2L V-8 will come hitched to the new gearbox in some configurations as well. This gearbox is similar, but not identical, to the one found in most versions of the F-150, but it has been beefed up significantly to handle the loads expected in the Super Duty.
The gearbox boasts a wider ratio span than the TorqShift six-speed it replaces, with a shorter first gear to aid in launching from a stop and taller top gears for improved highway efficiency. It also carries over its predecessor’s live-drive power takeoff, a class-exclusive feature that allows industrial accessories to be engaged while in motion. There are multiple drive modes for the transmission, including eco and slippery, and the 10-speed fits in the same space as the six-speed, while weighing 3.5 pounds more.
Ford was also very clear in saying that it is distinct from the Allison-branded 10-speed auto found in the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD. However, we believe the two are at least distantly related, given they both share a common ancestor: the light-duty 10-speed auto jointly developed by Ford and GM.
Industrial DesignAs would be expected of a midcycle refresh, the 2020 Super Duty gets some cosmetic and functional updates to keep it fresh against new competitors from Ram and GM. Up front, the fascia has been redesigned with a grille with higher airflow, as well as more angular headlamps and a reshaped bumper. There’s also a grille design exclusive to dual-rear-wheel trucks with even greater cooling capacity. Around the rear, there’s a new tailgate and taillights, with a reshaped rear bumper as well.
Inside, things are largely the same. New appliques appear on the door panels and center console on the Lariat, while on the Platinum, those bits have been swapped out for new Onyx Argento wood trim. The Limited model has likewise been updated with a new color palette, Ebony and Highland Tan. The Limited will continue to be the last word in F-Series comfort, with excellent leather quality, genuine wood and metallic bits, and a Miko suede headliner.
In addition to the cosmetic changes, the 2020 F-Series Super Duty includes a few functional ones as well. Every new Super Duty will come standard with FordPass Connect, a 4G-LTE Wi-Fi modem that can connect up to 10 devices with the outside world. Added USB charging ports help keep everything juiced up.
Perhaps most importantly, Ford will now offer Pro Trailer Backup Assist on the 2020 F-Series Super Duty. Before, this feature was relegated to the F-150, but it joins the Super Duty’s Trailer Reverse Guidance System to aid in placing large trailers in parking spots or on the boat ramp. Both systems can accommodate all trailer styles, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.
Finally, Ford will offer an expanded suite of active safety features on the 2020 Super Duty. Standard on XLT and above will be Pre-Collision Assist automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with trailer coverage, and lane-keeping alert systems. Before, these features were optional on many trims, but now they’ll be standard on the Super Duty’s core models.
Super Duty Due DiligenceFord claims this is the most tested pickup in the company’s history. When it was launched for 2017, Ford put the Super Duty through 12 million miles’ worth of verification tests, and this midcycle refresh brings with it an additional 7 million miles of testing. Ford hopes that those tests will be enough to ensure the 10-speed automatic transmission, revised 6.7L Power Stroke V-8, and all-new 7.3L “Godzilla” V-8 are ready for action. We’ll find out this fall, when the trucks go on sale, and expect more powertrain details within a few months.