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Review of: 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 SRW 4WD Crew Cab 179" WB 60" CA Lariat

8.0

2017 Ford Super Duty: Got an apartment building you need moved?

By Jil McIntosh

Apr. 26, 2017

My friend Peter Bleakney puts it best: there are trucks you buy when you have to tow your cottage to the boat. The Ford Super Duty is definitely one of those. The three-quarter-ton F-250 and one-ton F-350 are all-new for 2017, now gaining the steel frame/aluminum body construction first seen on the half-ton F-150, along with a new fully-boxed frame, increased capacities, and new features.

My beast was the F-350, which starts at $39,849 for a Regular Cab 4×2 and goes north from there. I had a Crew Cab 4×4 Lariat, which started at $66,249. Mine was then considerably upgraded with an extremely long list of options, starting with a 6.7-litre V8 diesel in place of the gas engine, which added $9,950. Other items included a Lariat Ultimate Package for $5,675; power-operated running boards for $950; and a chrome package for $1,350, among others, bringing it to an eye-popping $94,463 before freight and taxes.

Pros & Cons

  • + Hangar-height parking required
  • + Smooth, strong engine
  • + Refined drive
  • - Column-mounted shifter
  • - Ventilation controls
  • - Price of options
Read the full review
  • Walkaround

    Big and beefy, the F-130 looks the part, with a huge grille, squared-off LED headlamps (a $1,200 option), and a sculpted tailgate that, on my tester, could be popped open with a button on the key fob (it releases and drops down, and doesn’t close electrically). The truck’s huge and I appreciated the power running boards, as well as an integrated step that pulls out of the tailgate for easier access to the bed. The step has been around for a while, but Ford improved it a little while back. The handle used to store flat on the tailgate, where it was easy to catch cargo on it. It now slides in, out of sight, alongside the step.

    Ford likes to tout the new body as “military-grade” aluminum, but it’s only a company marketing term, as there’s actually no such standard: it simply contains some of the same alloys used in military vehicles. (The Department of Defense does have a standard, called Mil-Spec, but Ford doesn’t mention that one.) The new frame is steel, and the construction contains numerous coatings and barriers to keep the two metals apart to prevent corrosion.

    These trucks are meant for work, and there are numerous and very thoughtful little features. The mirrors don’t just power-fold, but power-extend for towing, and they have bright spotlights on them to illuminate a work or camping area. The box contains LED lighting to illuminate the load, with a switch near the tailgate to activate them. And in addition to putting the trailer plug above the bumper, where they all should be for easy hook-up, my tester also had one inside the box to plug in a gooseneck trailer.

    8.0Very good
  • Interior

    The cabin design is as brawny as the exterior, although the luxury touches in my Lariat package softened the edges. I especially like the door handles, which have releases inside the door pulls for easy opening, even when wearing heavy gloves. Encumbered hands might have a bit more problem with the small buttons for the climate control, and for the heated and ventilated seats, but the temperature is adjusted using nicely-sized dials. One cool feature is the interior mood lighting, which turns red if a door is ajar.

    Small-item storage is good, and my truck was optioned with a lock box for an additional $450. It fills the centre console box, under the padded cover, and uses a combination lock. It’s a nice touch for those who might have to leave valuables at a job site.

    Ford continues to be the only truck with a flat rear floor, which makes it easier to load items into the back. The rear seat cushions lift to open up more floor space, and reveal cubbies under the seats.

    The shift lever is mounted on the column. It’s a bit stiff, and until I learned exactly how much force to use, I frequently pulled too hard and went past drive and into low range. Ford lets you lock out gears, handy if you’re towing or hauling and don’t want the transmission shifting into the top ratios. It also has manual mode for sequentially shifting gears, but it’s a toggle on the gearshift lever. Steering wheel paddles would be a lot easier to operate.

    8.5Very good
  • Tech

    The new truck has a whack of new available features, and mine had several. The Sony infotainment screen is a considerable improvement over the old MyFord Touch, where you tapped the tiny corners of the screen to bring up the functions. The new screen has big, simple icons, but it’s still not perfect, because you must tap a “Control” icon first to access the audio, climate, navigation, apps, and other functions. It would be nice to have these always visible.

    Speaking of navigation, I was extremely impressed with the voice control, which listened to the entire address—no need to say one line at a time—and then found each one flawlessly each time.

    The blind spot monitoring can include a trailer, once its approximate length is entered into the information screen. The system can also keep track of several trailers, and once they’re initially entered into the computer, bringing one up keeps track of how many kilometres it’s travelled.

    The numerous camera views make it easier to manoeuvre, but I was disappointed in the “ultimate trailer tow camera,” a $1,000 option that shows what’s behind your trailer. When Ford first announced it as an industry-exclusive feature, I expected a wireless Bluetooth unit you’d just slap on whenever you were ready to haul. In reality, you have to secure its long wiring cable the length of your trailer, and plug it into an adapter in the trailer pin connector. It’s still great to have that backward view, but it’s not something you can easily switch between trailers.

    7.5Good
  • Driving

    I predict we’ll see a truck with 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque within the next couple of years. My F-350’s 6.7-litre V8 diesel comes close, cranking out 925 lb.-ft. at 1,800 rpm, along with 440 horsepower. Both it and the standard 6.2-litre gasoline engine are mated to a six-speed automatic. While capacity depends on the configuration—with the lightest 4×2 regular-cab truck usually able to handle the most—the single-rear-wheel F-350 lineup is rated for a maximum of 18,000 pounds conventional towing; 27,500 pounds for fifth-wheel towing; and 32,000 pounds for gooseneck, with an overall maximum gross combined weight rating of 40,000 pounds.

    The 4×4 system can be shifted into high or low ranges using a dial on the dash, but my truck also had manual locking hubs. Ford says it still has customers who prefer to turn the hubs rather than use a dial (why, I have no idea), and so it offers the two redundant systems. A 4×4 auto setting is available on some models, which can be used on hard surfaces, but my tester wasn’t equipped with it.

    For all its monster size and styling, the F-350 is a pussycat to drive. It feels relatively light, although Ford says much of the weight loss gained by the aluminum body was rolled back into beefing up the frame and axles. The turning radius is tight, and steering is light but well-balanced, adapting to make parking and low-speed manoeuvres easier, while tightening at highway speeds. This truck is very refined, not just in comparison to the kidney-bruising one-tons of days gone by, but even against current half-tons. The engine isn’t all that loud when you’re standing beside it, and from inside the cabin, you hardly hear it. That, of course, can be controversial. Some people (like me) love the loud, clattery confirmation of a massive oil-burner, but I’ve also talked to people who work with their trucks all day and get tired of the noise.

    The ride is also more like that of a smaller truck, with relatively little bounciness when it’s empty, and effortless hauling when the box is full. Pressing a button activates the exhaust brake, which is also quiet—effective, yes, but I prefer Ram’s version, which sounds like an eighteen-wheeler slowing down. The optional adaptive cruise control and forward collision braking are programmed to work with a heavy trailer.

    Trucks this big aren’t officially rated for fuel economy, but in my week with it—almost all of it hauling air—I averaged 16.4 L/100 km. Like every diesel-powered truck, it requires diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) for emissions treatment, which is added through a filler beside the fuel cap. Ram was the first to add a DEF gauge to the cluster to indicate the level, and Ford has finally put one in as well.

    8.5Very good
  • Value

    It’s still hard to wrap my head around a pickup truck just shy of $100,000, although anyone who isn’t hitching a horse trailer and then leading their Triple Crown winner into it probably won’t option theirs that high. Of course you can get one for less, although it adds up quickly when you start ticking the option boxes. This isn’t the truck you get because you simply like trucks. This is for heavy work, and you have to outfit it for your needs.

    At a starting price of $48,249, the Ford F-350 Crew Cab 4×4 undercuts its one-ton rivals: the Chevrolet Silverado 4×4 starts at $52,930, while the Ram 3500 4×4 begins at $52,945. The Ford’s torque rating of 925 lb.-ft. also out-grunts them: the Ram’s 6.7-litre six-cylinder diesel makes 900 lb.-ft., while Chevrolet’s 6.6-litre diesel makes 910 lb.-ft. While the Nissan Titan XD is meant more for bridging half-ton and three-quarter-tons, its 5.0-litre V8 diesel makes 555 lb.-ft. of torque, and could be cross-shopped with the F-250.

    7.5Good
  • Conclusion

    The truck wars are heating up, and while Ford is sitting on the top of the heap right now for torque and the all-new construction, don’t expect it to stay alone there for long. Although the heavy-duty market is relatively small among non-commercial consumers, this big truck is setting some exciting new standards in it.

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