2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty Platinum First Test
The Biggest They Come: Ford's Newest Heavy-Duty Pickup Redefines the Segment
You know the saying "go big or go home?" Ford's not going home. Absolutely crushing the truck scales to the tune of 9,083 pounds, the F-450 Super Duty Platinum is the heaviest heavy-duty full-size truck we've ever tested. In terms of capacities, it's also the strongest. Both the weight and the muscle come from the parts that separate the F-450 from its "little" brother, the F-350. Those consist of the axles, suspension, springs, wheels, and tires. The wheels are especially cool, as they're 19.5-inches -- the same as a semi-truck's. With the F-450 Super Duty Platinum, Ford is banking on size mattering.
Ford might just be right. This monster didn't seem to notice it had 10,000 pounds hanging off its fifth wheel gooseneck during our testing. I'm not kidding. The F-450 simply wasn't bothered. Hats off to the freaks at Ford for building one of the most insane engines the world's ever seen. Want to feel like Mel Gibson in the first "Lethal Weapon"? Drive this bad boy around unladed. The F-450 proves itself to be a riot as the back end tries to slide everywhere, and when it does hook up, the four rear wheels do their best to rip all the asphalt to shreds. First of all, 440 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at. That's more than most supercars made a couple decades ago and way more power than the competition. Then you have the astounding 860 lb-ft of torque. Mammoth grunt, truly. I drove the F-450 back from Arizona with more than 4,000 pounds of rubber horse mats in the back, and not only was the red beast totally unfazed, but the ride was also wonderfully improved. In terms of sheer muscularity, the F-450 Platinum is in a league of its own.
The Ford F-Series Super Duty is a 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year contender - find out before long whether it has what it takes to win.
The max tow rating of the F-450 Super Duty is the best you can buy, at 31,200 pounds. Second place is the Ram HD 3500 that can "only" tow 30,000 pounds. The big Ford's GCVW (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight -- truck plus trailer plus passengers and whatever else) is 40,400 pounds. The gnarliest Chevy HD you can purchase has a max GCVW of 30,500 pounds. Ram? 37,600. And that's with Ram's latest engine reflash, bringing its Cummins inline-six turbo's max torque rating up to 865 lb-ft -- 5 lb-ft of torque more than Ford. But that's just bragging rights, and honestly 0.6 percent more anything is inconsequential. Despite not making the absolute most power, the F-450 can actually tow much more than its competitors. That's the truth, and here's the math.
We haven't weighed a non-Platinum F-450, but Ford claims it will be lighter than the fake wood and acres-of-leather version. A good thing when you consider that 40,400 pounds minus the max tow rating of 31,200 pounds leaves you with 9,200 pounds. Remove the 9,083 pounds from the equation, and you're left with 117 pounds of overhead. So if you hook up a 31,200-pound trailer to the F-450's fifth wheel, you'd better find a naked 117-pound jockey to drive it. Of course the Ram is in real trouble, as it weighs more than 8,000 pounds and has a tow rating of 30,000 pounds but a GCVW of "only" 37,500 pounds. Point is, the Ford is by far the strongest in terms of towing and hauling, period. Of course you're paying for all that strength -- this F-450 Super Duty Platinum costs $75,795. That said, you could get a "base" F-450 Super Duty XL for as low as $53,145.
There are a few things I don't particularly like about the F-450, the first being the Man Step. Assuming you're actually going to throw stuff in the back of your truck, the Man Step is in the wrong place, as it actually blocks the path into the bed. Moreover -- and more annoying -- the soft pads of your fingers will get caught when you close it quickly and aren't thinking about it. A pretty silly feature, especially considering that Chevy figured out the real solution: corner steps that let you easily hop into the bed.
Then there's the elephant in the room. Make that on the scales. Again, the F-450 Platinum weighs 9,083 pounds. Which when you stop and think about it, is insane. That magnificent bulk is also why mileage is so repugnant. With two tons of payload (rubber horse mats that weigh a bit over 100 pounds each) in back, the biggest Ford "achieved" 13.8 mpg on our return to Los Angeles. That's horrible, especially when you consider that the Chevy Silverado 3500HD weighs in at a comparably slim 8,247 pounds, and hauling the same number of horse mats (40) returned 17.0 mpg.
However, and despite weighing nearly half a ton more, the F-450 is quicker than the Chevy when working. With just over 2,000 pounds in the bed -- and with Tow/Haul mode activated -- the Chevy needed 9.1 seconds to go from 50 to 70 mph up Arizona's notorious Davis Dam, whereas the Ford needed just 8.6 seconds. Moreover, when hooked up to 10,000-pound fifth-wheel trailers, the Chevy needed 18 seconds to hit 60 mph, compared to 17.1 seconds for the F-450. However, unladed, the Chevy could hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, whereas the big Ford needed 8.3.
Conclusion: If you have a serious need to tow and haul very heavy things and do not care about fuel economy, Ford builds your perfect truck.
|2015 Ford F-450 Platinum Super Duty|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$74,665|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||6.7L/440-hp/860-lb-ft turbodiesel OHV 32-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||9083 lb (56/44%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||263.0 x 96.0 x 79.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||16.3 sec @ 84.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||147 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.68 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||30.0 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|