Getting ready for the drive to Los Angeles from Phoenix after Ford's introduction of the new Super Duty, we saw a running 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty sitting out front of the hotel where we had been staying for the event. As the hotel's main doors slid open, we could hear a loud clackety-clack, the sound you would associate with a truck's diesel engine. For a moment, we wondered if Ford's claims of a quieter engine been false. However, the Super Duty was blocking the view of the courtesy van that was actually making all of that noise, and when it pulled out of the parking lot, there sat the Super Duty, quietly purring away.

We had just spent a couple of days behind the wheel of the new Super Duty, and were about to take it on a road trip home. Our Ford was a diesel four-wheel-drive single-rear-wheel short bed F-250 Crew Cab Lariat, also equipped with the topline King Ranch package.

Ford's brawny pickup looks similar to the 2010 model, except for a few noticeable differences. For example, the new grille uses two thick, solid horizontal bars (not unlike those seen on the F-250 Super Chief concept) in black or chrome with a huge 13-inch-wide Ford blue oval dead center. In addition, the hood now has a power dome, allowing more clearance to accommodate the new diesel engine. The fuel door is now wider, making room for the filler spot for the Diesel Exhaust Fluid, said to need refilling every 7500 miles, depending on the demands put on the truck. Wheels come in 17- to 20-inch sizes.

There are two engines available in the new Ford, neither of which is carryover. The base engine, a 6.2-liter V-8, replaces the three-valve 5.4-liter V-8 offered through 2010. The new engine puts out 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, up 85 and 40 respectively, while it's said to improve fuel economy by 15 percent. This size/weight category isn't rated by the EPA for fuel economy, so those numbers are based on Ford's estimates. We spent a short stretch on the road with the 6.2-powered Super Duty, and you can definitely feel the increase in power with the new engine. Response off the line is much quicker, the engine's growl much more menacing, and the excellent new 6R140 six-speed automatic works well with this V-8. However, the Super Duty feels like it's gained some weight, so the difference isn't as huge as 85 more horsepower would suggest.