Ford's Super Duty pickups are built for work or hard play. If such topics as tongue weight, payload, and bed size percolate to the top of the considerations list, the newest iterations of Ford's larger F-Series pickups should be bright blips on the buyer's radar.

Of special note in the newly redesigned 2008 Super Duty lineup are a sequentially turbocharged Power Stroke 6.4-liter diesel V-8 and an all-new F-450 version that boasts more than 6000 pounds of payload capacity and a fifth-wheel tow rating of over 24,000 pounds.

The 6.4-liter turbodiesel replaces the previously offered 6.0 and joins the carryover standard 5.4-liter V-8 and the optional 6.8-liter V-10 gas engines. The new diesel is fitted with piezoelectric fuel injectors fed from a high-pressure common-rail system, a technology that allows larger volumes of fuel to be sprayed into the cylinders more quickly and precisely than is possible with unit injectors. To maximize that capability, the engine is equipped with two turbochargers. The first is a small, quick-spooling unit that provides immediate boost off-idle to eliminate lag. The second is a larger but lower-pressure turbo that comes on as the engine reaches its performance peaks of 350 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque.

The new F-450 pickup is based on Class 4 and 5 medium-duty components. Above the frame, it's the same Super Duty you get everywhere else. Below the frame, it uses modified components from Ford's 450 and 550 chassis cabs. Rather than a straight rail frame, however, which is stiff when empty, the F-450 frame's wide ladder construction keeps the truck low and stable when towing the big trailers.

There's no mistaking the feel of mass behind the wheel of these pickups on the road, yet the new 6.4 turbo offers only a moderate roar during hard acceleration from a standing start, mellowing to a baritone croon during steady-state cruising. Surface-street stop-and-go and cornering exercises are nearly effortless, despite the large stance and wheelbase. The ride with even an empty bed is smooth and firm, without the jounce so often suffered in an unloaded pickup. In this case, though, that bed is made to be loaded.

Super Duty, indeed.


2008 Ford Super Duty F-250/350/450
Base price $23,305-$56,410
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD and 4WD 2-6-passenger, 2-, 2+2- or 4-door pickup
Engines 5.4L/300-hp/365-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-8; 6.8L/362-hp/457-lb-ft SOHC 30-valve V-10; 6.4L/350-hp/650-lb-ft OHV 32-valve twin-turbodiesel V-8
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 5-speed automatic
Curb weight 5700-8700 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 137.0-172.4 in
Length x width x height 227.0-262.4 x 79.9-95.5 x 75.9-79.8 in
EPA city/hwy fuel econ Not rated (over 8500 lb GVWR)
On sale in U.S. First quarter 2007