The great thing about pickups is almost never finding yourself in a vehicular situation where you can't do something, especially when you're talking about a crew-cab HD truck with a diesel engine like the 2013 Ford F350 Lariat Platinum 4x4. Apart from their sometimes unwieldy size in urban or suburban settings, these big brutes can do it all. When you deck them out in an upscale trim, as was our F350, they're even fit for a tuxedo-and-evening-dress night on the town.

That feeling of supreme confidence seems to seep through the sumptuous leather hides right into your psyche as you're driving the truck. You're looking almost eyeball-to-eyeball with big-rig and bus drivers, and can see all the other drivers texting on their iPhones beside you. But the confidence comes from more than just being big.

Despite its crushing weight of more than 8000 pounds, the ridiculous horsepower and torque produced by the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 gives the F-350 an almost comical sense of responsiveness and authority on the road. Its 0-60 time of 8.0 seconds is nothing spectacular on-paper, but what that figure doesn't convey is the seemingly bottomless reserves of torque available at nearly any RPM which whisks the big bruiser down the road with ease. Equally as impressive as the engine's power and responsiveness was its refinement, with just a low hum audible in the cab at idle, and just a hint of gravelly diesel growl under throttle.

But a Super Duty is built to work, and although it would seem a shame to soil the Platinum's beautiful, leather-lined interior, it would be an equal shame not to utilize this truck's substantial capabilities, which include a 14,000-lb towing capacity and 4000-lb payload. Whether you're towing your boat, Airstream, toy hauler and sandrail, or old hot rod, you'll arrive in style and comfort, thanks to the Platinum's heated and cooled front seats. You’ll have plenty of entertainment options, too, from its MyFord Touch touchscreen audio display.

With such substantial load-hauling capabilities, the F-350's suspension needs to be up to the task, and like most HD trucks, its ride is not exactly what most would call supple. But within the context of the class, the F-350's unloaded ride is impressively smooth.

Even the observed fuel economy was relatively impressive at around 15 mpg. If you scoff at that figure, keep in mind the F-350's crushing four-ton weight (not an exaggeration), less-than-ideal aerodynamics, and the fact that it was being driven by an enthusiastic editor who enjoyed feeling all 800 lb-ft of its torque output. We've tested crossovers and SUVs that weighed about half as much that barely matched that level of fuel economy.

Of course, this level of go-anywhere, do anything capability comes at a cost, and in the case of our tester, that total was a startling $65,225. Yet having seen top-trim HD trucks approach or crest the $70,000 mark, we don't consider that tab exorbitant considering the F-350 Platinum is truly a no-excuses vehicle.

You could knock nearly $8000 off that total by skipping the Power Stroke diesel and getting the 6.2-liter gas engine. Although on-paper, the gas engine delivers similar acceleration times, in our experience, it gets much poorer fuel economy, and is not nearly as effortless under load as the diesel, having literally about half as much torque. If the prospect of paying $60,000 for a truck doesn't bother you, neither should shelling out the extra $8k for the diesel.

We just returned from the 2013 State Fair of Texas, where the even mightier 2015 Ford Super Duty was previewed, with engine updates that will surpass the already stupendous output of the current Power Stroke. Externally, not much had changed on the truck, but with the kind of sales dominance the Super Duty enjoys in the HD segment, Ford worked on what matters to its customers, which is never having to say no to a challenge, perceived or real. We found little to gripe about on this loaded specimen, least of which was its power. But if 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque isn't enough for some customers, their hunger for more power will be satisfied soon enough.


2013 Ford F 350 Super Duty Lariat Platinum
BASE PRICE $54,650
PRICE AS TESTED $65,225
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 6.7L/400-hp/800-lb-ft turbodiesel OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 8060 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 156.0 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 246.8 x 79.9 x 80.8 in
0-60 MPH 8.0 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.2 sec @ 86.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 150 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.68 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT30.2 sec @ 0.51 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON N/A