The suspension uses an independent twin I-beam with coil springs in front for the 2WD F-250 and F-350, mono-beam front for the F-450 and 4WD 250/350. In back, they all use a live axle with leaf springs. Steering geometry has been revised for 2011. What we noticed compared with previous models is the 2011's steering has a slightly slower response to driver input. This would be a disadvantage in a sport sedan, but in a vehicle that's going to be used for towing heavy trailers, it makes it easier to smoothly make minor corrections while on the road. The trucks use four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and side and side-curtain airbags are available.
Dimensions are close to the 2010 model's; wheelbase is identical, length is up by about 0.6 inch, width and height are within half an inch. Bed dimensions are also the same as before. In the cab, headroom is down about 0.7 inch in front, 0.3-0.6 inch in the second row, legroom is unchanged in front and down slightly in the rear, and hip- and shoulder room remain the same. In addition to the new screen and updated interior, there's also a new flow-through center console, with plenty of large storage spaces and a 110-volt inverter on the back. Also available for the cabin is a set of four auxiliary switches to control miscellaneous trucker accessories.
On the 400-mile drive, we found the King Ranch F-250 to be comfortable and remarkably quiet. Power delivery is fantastic, with 735 pound-feet of torque available at 1600 rpm and a terrific six-speed. Brakes are firm, but not twitchy. The ride feels better than in the last Super Duty, but still rides like a truck. Inside, the seats provide plenty of soft leather and cushioning, but won't lull you to sleep on a long drive. The driver information screen was intimidating at first, but toggling through the options and selecting the display you want is actually very easy-just push the directional keys on the steering wheel and select "OK." The order the information is listed in makes logical sense, too (the trip computer screen is just before the fuel economy screen, for example), so it wouldn't take long to learn the order and toggle through without having to take your eyes off the road. As it is, you won't have to give it more than a glance to see what's going on. And, going 75 mph for most of the drive-or at least where the speed limit allowed for that-the truck loped along at 1750 rpm and provided 18 mpg fuel economy, all on a single tank with plenty to fuel to spare.
Official pricing has not yet been released, but Ford did say that for some models there will be no increase in price from 2010, and in the case of the regular cab two-wheel-drive chassis-cab F-550, the price actually goes down $530. This means that the added cost of the new emissions system won't be passed along to the buyer. If pricing is as competitive as Ford says, you get best-in-class capability and a faster truck, with improved fuel economy and more cool options. That makes this truck a great value, and should prove a tough one to beat.
|2011 Ford F-250 King Ranch 4x4 Crew Cab|
|Base price||$48,000 (est)|
|Vehicle layout||Front engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|Engine||6.7L/390-hp/735-lb-ft OHV 32-valve V-8|
|Curb weight||7000 lb (est)|
|Wheelbase||156.2 in |
|Length x width x height||246.8 x 79.9 x 79.7 in|
|0-60 mph||9.2 sec (MT est)|
|EPA city/hwy fuel econ||Not rated|
|On sale in U.S.||Spring 2010|