For buyers who need a tougher, more capable truck than the F-150, Ford offers the hard-working Super Duty line of pickups. Available in F-250, F-350 and F-450 models, these brutes possess eye-popping towing and hauling abilities along with a dizzying number of cab style, bed length and technology options.
The F-450 sits atop the Super Duty range as the biggest and most capable of Ford's pickups. It rides on its own unique chassis that is not shared with the lesser Super Duties, and is available only as Crew Cab, dual-rear-wheel model with a turbodiesel V8.
After receiving upgraded brakes, increased towing and payload capacities, and a luxed-up Platinum trim level for the previous model year, the Super Duty lineup is unchanged this year.
arge, in charge and not particularly subtle, the F-450's exterior styling reveals much of what you need to know about this truck - especially the locomotive-like hood and grille, which hints at the big power that lurks beneath.
The massive pickup comes exclusively with a 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 that boasts 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of earth-moving torque. A six-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.
When properly equipped, the F-450 has a maximum payload capacity of 5,880 pounds and can tow up to 18,500 pounds. Add a fifth wheel and the latter figure rises to 24,700 - not too shabby, but far behind the Ram 3500's 30,000-pound maximum.
The F-450 is available only as a four-door Crew Cab model with an eight-foot bed and four-wheel-drive. It utilizes dual live axles and leaf springs at all four corners. This suspension setup plays a big part in the F-450's strong payload and towing ratings, although the tradeoff comes in the form of jittery ride without a load in the bed. The same, of course, can be said for most other similarly sized and similarly capable pickups. Handling is predictable for the most part, although aloof steering means it can be tough to place the big truck accurately at times.
The Inside Story
Although its overall layout is beginning to look slightly dated, the F-450's interior remains a surprisingly refined and high-tech space. Extensive sound deadening measures make for a luxury car-quiet cabin - all the better to make use of the Bluetooth-based "SYNC" connectivity system, which come standard on all but the base model.
SYNC allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. It can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, and allows the use of Ford-approved apps like The Wall Street Journal news and Pandora radio.
The F-450 can also be spec'd with MyFord Touch, an infotainment system that builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyFord Touch also features a center-mounted eight-inch touchscreen, dual 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack. For use in the F-450, Ford modified the system to better accommodate the needs of pickup users - changes include more redundant buttons for audio and climate controls that can be used with work gloves on.
Many consumers report that the system is a "love it or hate it" item, so those interested in the F-450 are advised to try before they buy.
As one would expect of a work-focused pickup, there are numerous cupholders and storage nooks interspersed throughout the cabin. Material quality ranges from hard plastics in base trucks to supple leather and imitation wood accents on up-level models.
Trim Level Breakdown
The F-450 is offered in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.
The stripped-out work truck of the lineup, the XL, comes standard with A/C, vinyl upholstery, vinyl floor coverings, a two-speaker AM/FM stereo, black plastic exterior trim and 17-inch steel wheels.
The XLT adds power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, SYNC, an upgraded four-speaker stereo with a CD player and an AUX input, keyless entry, heated exterior mirrors, cloth upholstery, floor carpeting, an integrated trailer brake controller and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The Lariat brings leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, MyFord Touch, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, foglights, an eight-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, power-adjustable pedals, a power rear window, imitation wood trim and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The King Ranch includes upgraded leather upholstery, a navigation system, unique exterior trim (including two-tone paint), power-folding and telescoping mirrors and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
The range-topping Platinum gets copious amounts of chrome adorning the door handles, mirror caps, running boards, exhaust tip and tow hook, perforated mesh accents and a satin chrome surround for the grille, and unique 20-inch wheels. Inside, there's unique faux-wood trim, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel and premium leather upholstery.
An available FX4 Off-Road Package prepares the F-350 for tackling tough trails with Rancho shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, skid plates, hill descent control and all-terrain tires.
All F-450 models are fitted with dual front, front side and side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Though brand loyal buyers of heavy-duty, full-size pickups seldom cross-shop their preferred vehicle with its competitors, those looking at the F-450 can nonetheless compare the big truck with the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD/GMC Sierra 3500HD twins and the Ram 3500.