By Derek Price
That’s becoming a rare thing as today’s pickups — even their heavy-duty, tough-as-nails varieties that feel like they could tow entire planets — are experimenting with ways to soften their ride to be more car-like over the road. They drive like they stuffed their suspensions full of cotton candy and marshmallows, which helps with their comfort but also makes them seem a tad cutesy in this category known more for testosterone and sweat.
Well, there’s nothing cute about the F-250. It’s designed to do tough jobs, and it feels that way from the driver’s seat with a muscular suspension setup and lots of sensory feedback to let you know what all four wheels are doing at any given moment.
I spent a week driving the 2015 F-250 Super Duty with the 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engine, and I had a blast driving down country roads listening to Willie Nelson’s satellite radio channel. Even if you don’t have a planet to tow, it’s hard not to smile in an iconic American truck with old-school country music cranked up.
Of course it wins the “makes you feel like a cowboy” contest, but how does it stack up to the competition?
The biggest impression I walked away with was just how well Ford has managed to keep the Super Duty competitive as it reaches the end of its lifespan. Now that the new light-duty F-150 will be hitting the Ford showroom floors, a redesigned F-250 is widely expected to follow. And if it’s as big a leap as the F-150 seems to be, the next-generation Super Duty could be a game changer.
For now, the interior quality of Ford’s heavy-duty lineup lags behind the more recently redesigned competitors at Ram and General Motors. It doesn’t feel quite as soft, supple, and tightly assembled as they do — which, again, means it’s a truck that actually feels like one.
Ford has been bragging this year about being the only truck manufacturer to design and build its entire powertrain lineup in-house, and that makes logical sense to me. Ram and General Motors both outsource some of their engines and transmissions to other companies and, however well-respected those outside companies are, I think Ford deserves some kudos for keeping things under the same roof.
The F-250 really does drive like an integrated package. The power delivery, shift points and overall refinement under acceleration all feel fantastic.
While Ford has come out with a new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel for 2015, my F-250 tester didn’t have it. Still, the gasoline V8 is a monster engine with 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, which is tremendous fun on highway on-ramps. The loud, deep growl makes this my favorite sounding Ford truck engine, and all that torque makes it great for people who do a lot of towing.
Speaking of which, my test truck was rated for 12,500 pounds of conventional towing. With the right equipment and a diesel engine, you can outfit a Super Duty for up to 19,000 pounds of conventional towing or 31,200 pounds with a gooseneck trailer — something Ford says is the best fifth-wheel tow rating in its class.
Pricing for the F-250 starts at $31,045 and ranges up to $54,510 for the luxurious Platinum model.
At a Glance
What was tested?
2015 Ford F-250 SRW 4X4 Crew Cab XLT ($41,695). Options: Ruby red metallic paint ($395), all-terrain tires ($125), 3.73 axle ($390), XLT Value Package ($1,345), FX4 off-road package ($295), electronic shift on the fly ($185), power sliding rear window ($405), powerscope trailer tow mirror ($165), up fitter switches ($125), rear view camera ($540), tailgate step ($375), spray-in bedliner ($475). Price as tested (including $1,195 destination charge): $48,280
Wheelbase: 156.2 in.
Length: 246.8 in.
Width: 104.9 in.
Height: 79.7 in.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8 (385 horsepower, 405 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Estimated Mileage: Not rated
2015 Ford F-250
Why buy it?
It’s built for work, with a tough, heavy-duty suspension and two powerful engine choices. The new 6.7-liter diesel is a nice upgrade for 2015, and the gasoline V8 is no slouch, either.