First Drive Review 2011 Ford F-250 Diesel V-8 Off-Road and Hauling, Summary, Part 5

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Diesel 2011 F-250 XLT 4x4 SuperCab Short Wheelbase Single Rear Wheel — Off-Road

Ford set up an off-road course at a rock quarry for us to try out an FX4-trimmed Super Cab pickup with the 6.7-liter diesel. It offered a groomed mix of rock crawling, steep grades, asymmetrically spaced moguls and mud pits to traverse.

Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.

The Super Duty adds a new electronic locking rear differential for 2011 that can be activated with the pull of the transfer case knob that's also used to shift the truck from two-wheel drive to 4HI and 4LO. It's only available for the single-rear-wheel trucks. The off-road course had a few technically challenging portions but none were so slippery that we required the use of the locker.

Hill descent control is another awesome new feature. HDC uses the truck’s antilock braking system to automatically modulate the brakes to slow travel down steep slopes so the driver can focus on steering. Having driven trucks that were equipped with similar systems, from the expensive Lexus LX 570 to the reasonably priced Nissan Frontier, Ford’s HDC is the best we’ve driven to date. The ABS modulations were smooth and unobtrusive, leaving our attention to focus on staying on the best line down the grade. It was easy to scrub speed or add velocity in one-mph increments with a touch of the brakes or accelerator.


As we crawled up, down and around steep grades, we also appreciated the new 4-inch productivity screen (again) that displayed the truck's pitch and yaw angle in degrees. It's a system that Ford borrowed from Land Rover.

The Super Duty's open C-channel frame excels in two areas: ride comfort while towing heavy loads and accessibility for upfitters to run wires and cables along the sides of the frame rails without having to punch holes in boxed sections. However, it's a bit challenged off-road because of the design's inherent flexibility — even with hefty 6.7mm-thick steel rails. In certain portions of the off-road course, like rock crawling and rolling over the moguls, the truck clicked and popped as it twisted over the uneven surfaces.

Both Ford and Ram fit solid front axles on their four-wheel-drive HD pickups, but the Ram is much quieter off-road thanks to its fully boxed frame. The Ram also offers an optional front locker in the Power Wagon model, though that model is only available with a gas V-8.


Diesel 2011 F-250 King Ranch 4x4 Crew Cab Long Wheelbase Single Rear Wheel — Hauling 1,000 pounds

Our last driving exercise was a fuel-efficiency challenge. While some on the trip hypermiled their diesels over 28 mpg, we drove 70 miles back to Phoenix on rural roads and the Interstate 10 freeway near the speed limit or keeping up with traffic. The diesel didn't shrug a bit with 1,000 pounds of concrete in its bed while returning an excellent 22 mpg.

The new 6.7-liter V-8 uses urea selective catalytic reduction to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. While this requires periodic refills at around $2.69 a gallon (pump price at Pilot truck stops), it also offers a big benefit to fuel economy because the truck can run a leaner fuel/air mixture than other NOx reduction solutions — like Chrysler's and Cummins' urea-free NOx trap — because diesel fuel isn't required to regenerate the catalyst.

The Super Duty's fuel economy is a big win for Ford. It's gratifying and confidence building, especially when the truck is being worked hard. It also will be helpful on cross-country trips, reducing the amount of time refueling and traveling to your destination.

Other Notable Items

Ford also set up several challenges near the off-road course to test its 2011 F-450 and F-550 trucks upfitted with dump bodies and water spreaders. Normally, dumping dirt or squirting water wouldn't be more than cool activities to try out, but what made these tasks interesting was playing with Ford's new Live Drive Power Takeoff feature on the Super Duty.

PTO enables running auxiliary equipment directly off the truck’s engine via either a splined driveshaft or the transmission. In Ford's case, it's off the gearbox in a way that powers the extra hardware while the truck is stopped and moving.


Parasitic power is limited while the truck is on the go. The Live Drive PTO offers up to 150 pounds-feet of torque at 750 rpm while the truck is moving and up to 250 pounds-feet of torque in the range of 900 to 1,200 rpm when it’s parked.


It's been only three years since Ford last updated the Super Duty lineup, and this time around it has fixed almost every weakness that the 2008-10 rigs had, starting with the all-new 6.7-liter V-8 Power Stroke diesel that replaces the 6.4-liter V-8 PSD. Adding to the good news, Ford is holding pricing steady for the diesel option and its popular F-250 XLT Crew Cab model.

Many potential buyers will be interested to see how durable and reliable the new diesel engine is, but based on initial reports from 2011 Super Dutys already out in the field with fleet customers, it appears that Ford has done its homework.

We'll also be keen to see how the new 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine performs, and we're looking forward to putting it through a rigorous set of tests soon. Stay tuned for more news about this engine.

Overall, as we stated at the start of this review, we're impressed with the new Super Dutys. At a time when spending money on a new truck requires more thought than ever before, Ford is making the right moves to hold and grow its majority share of the market against rivals Chrysler and GM.

Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.

We still have one more new truck introduction to go. GM is expected to start sales of its new 2011 HD pickups this summer and they look to be the most potent challengers to Ford since the Duramax diesel debuted in 2001. Before then, you'll be able to buy a new Super Duty starting next month.

What We Like

  • Trailer sway control that works with electric and hydraulic trailer brakes
  • Standard seat-mounted and side curtain airbags on all models
  • No change in price for the new 6.7-liter diesel engine option
  • Jaw-dropping levels of diesel torque available at highway speed and at low RPMs
  • Six-speed automatic transmission is available for both gas and diesel engines
  • Best driver information system among all full-size trucks
  • Excellent fuel economy from the diesel
  • Hill descent control and electronic locking rear differential in FX4 off-road model
  • Fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailer prep package is only $400 from the factory with a warranty
  • Much improved steering reduces driving effort
  • Telescoping steering wheel

What We Don't

  • The only way you can tell it's the new Super Duty is to see it head on. The rest of the truck looks old
  • Turning stalk doesn't latch in place when you want to signal a lane change beyond three clicks
  • 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine doesn't feel as powerful as the old 6.8-liter V-10
  • Needs better brake feel and power to handle big increases in towing and hauling
  • F-450 pickup has been downgraded in payload capacity and shares most frame hardware with F-350
  • Ride quality in crew-cab and extended-cab models could be improved with hydraulic body mounts

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this is great. i want this new diesel. i will def. be ordering one soon. great read mike. very detailed artcile, you left nothing out. i cannot wait for the shootout

- Diesel sounds impressive.
- Need a shoot out '10 V10 vs. '11 6.2 w/same gearing to see if difference is seat of the pants or real world.
- I agree, they look old.

Look fwd to more reports.

I noticed you did not test 6.2L with 4.30 rear end. Perhaps that would impressed further?

I need one of these now! 22mpg while hauling 1000lbs is impressive compared to the 6.4 PSD. As of now, Dodge stands no chance, and GM will need to have a MASSIVE trick up its sleeve to even compete with this Ford Diesel.

Thanks Mike, what a great read. Looking forward to driving one. Is FX4 its own model for the 2011 Super Duty, or is it a package like Z71 is to Chevy?

I should add it's completely obvious all three manufacturers are doing something similar here: Not pulling out all their tricks all at once.
Ford, new powertrain now, new body and chassis soon?
GM, new powertrain and chassis, new body soon?
Dodge, new body now, new/updated powertrain soon?

Something to keep the sales up for the next few years?

In addition to looking at the front, I can tell it's new from the side by looking at the flares. The vents, decals and emblems are also new. I can also tell by looking at the new interior.

Sounds like Ford really did their homework with the new diesel. Quiet, powerful, over 20mpg highway, all without a price increase? Sign me up!

The gas engine sounds like, as it's tuned right now, it really needs some lower gearing to make up for the torque deficit over the V10. However, it's also not at its full potential as mentioned in the article, so it might end up equaling or beating the V10 with time. All in all, for right now, if it gets 5.4L or better mileage with near V10 performance, I think most will be plenty satisfied with it. The V10 pulled like a demon, but you needed your own oil wells if you wanted to be able to keep a fleet of them running.

I have an 06 F350 i love my truck and will not be trading up in the near future but when i do i will definitly getting another Ford, i have had a dodge and a chevy and they just dont compare

Looks better, but not as good as my 2001 F-250.

One other 'We Don't Like':
No 6-spd Manual Transmission!

Alot of customers would like the Manual Transmission with the 6.2L V8, Manual SOF 4x4, and Manual Hubs. And not on a strip down unit either. Customers want it loaded with all the other 'goodies' as well. Where is it Ford?! Don't listen to your marketing folks who have the facts wrong. There is a descent share of customers (>=10%) that would like to get manual transmission. And, Ford could probably get the competitive customers into a Ford (versus the competition) with your availability of this. Don't lose out on a winner option like that.

Well I guess I'm old school but there's no substitution for cubic inches. Diesel fuel is expensive in today's world and there's no benefit there. I think Ford should make an 8 liter gas engine with big hp and torque numbers. Quit messing around with these little motors trying to get hp out of tweaking electronics etc. I don't have 50 grand to pee off on a new truck anyway so it doesn't really affect me. I have a '92 F-250 I've had since brand new with a Banks turbocharger with 150,000 miles and it still performs good enough to pull my 34' Avion travel trailer with no problem and the truck is still like new and I haven't spent any money on it to amount to anything. Why change?

Lost me with not offering a manuel transmission, and not offering the V10 as well. Such nonsense, the Blue Oval letdown!!

No gear state display in the Ram HD? Are you sure? My 2008 model has it. Regardless, this is a beautiful package and a serious look see when I'm ready to buy in the future. Nice job!

This is only my opinion...I can do without the V10 - as I can buy an older one just to hear it roar - or rent a U-Haul truck for the day...but at least I think Ford should offer a manual shift gate in the auto (like GMC's Denali half-ton) if not a straight manny-tranny.

You reported the fuel econony on the diesel, so what about some fuel economy info on the 6.2 gasser?? Ford has been reporting an increase in fuel economy --> well???

The fuel economy is refreshing. 6.xs will become worthless on the used market.
But the lack of a 6spd manual could be a deal breaker for me.

For off road, is the electronic traction control system of AdvanceTrac programmed to guard against drive wheel slip, like it does on the F-150 and Expedition?

Does it switch from 2-wheel electronic traction control to 4-wheel electronic traction control when the transfer gearbox is placed in any 4-wheel mode. Like in Auto, 4Hi, 4Lo (Expedition) and 4Hi, 4Lo (F-150) ?

Very cool, but $50K is just stupid to pay for a truck. Just stupid. Especially considering I can do all of this with a diesel 01 that costs around 5k what gives??????? seriously these truck prices are out of touch with reality.

Big gas burners are gone for now, fleet wide federal MPG standards. The 6.2 has oil cooled pistons for high compression under heavy load, this would also be good for high boost and direct injection, that the 6.2 was designed to accommodate.

With 110% volumetric efficiency at peak torque rpm and 100% at peak HP rpm naturally aspirated it should really perform well with forced induction.

I really is amazing to see how many people lie about underperforming vehicles, trying to convince people otherwise.

"I really is amazing to see how many people lie about underperforming vehicles, trying to convince people otherwise". - This site is becoming a Joke

What he/she said.

I am very impressed with what I have read about this truck so far, especially considering the testing that ford engineers have done on it. For power, reliability, and efficiency it looks like this is going to be the truck to beat. I've never felt that way about any ford, but so far I'm convinced this truck is going to be winning the war between the big three heavy duty trucks until dodge or chevy come up with something new. I know GM will be releasing detail soon on the new duramax, but it's really just an upgrade to the old one, and I'm doubtful it will really compete well with this new ford diesel. I could be wrong, but I must say I'm pretty dang convinced. Ford Motor Company seems to be doing everything right lately. I am very impressed with the 10 million miles of on-road testing. I think ford ought to make that a point when they start TV ads for the new truck.

When you want something done right, do it yourself! About damn time Ford got rid of International and did it right from square one. I think GM will tweak their upgraded durmax to get over 400hp just for bragging rights but if they can't match these fuel mileage figures I'm seeing on this new Ford than they don't stand a chance!

The only thing i don't like is no manual trans. I've never owned anything with an automatic trans-keeps all the posers from borrowing your truck. Does ford give suggestions now to keep deadbeats (and maybe wife) from wanting to use my truck? lol

wow! 22mpg thats amazing with 1000lbs in the bed! thats 25mpg+ when empty! beat that chevy!

Ford 250 Diesel never has a MPG on it at all. I understand why....different towing capabilities. I know that. But for a guy like me that will be using it on the HWY everyday also with NO towing, I would like to know what to expect.
Can you help? SHE wants to know before I get one. LOL


I hate the chrome grill. A good truck like the Unimog or the Land Rover Defender doesn't need to thump its chest with an acre of chrome. This grill is like stuffing socks in your pants.

The ford is a good truck with a weak frame. The big 3 also need to start making the body panels with aluminum. Welding aluminum has come a long way and robotic welders can pump out repeatable welds on Al with few faults.

I don't mind electronic controls but ford needs to make a commitment to stock components. There is no reason why this truck, if well maintained, can't have a 20year service life.

@Ian. The F-series has a weak frame? Compared to what? You don't honestly think a Defender has a tougher frame do you? Do you realize what would happen if you took that 6.7L V8 diesel and put it in the Defender that normally has a 2.4L 4 cyl diesel? It would absolutely destroy the crap out of it. Though a Defender is tough and reliable with what it's got in it.

Great article. Now it makes it that much harder to choose from.....Dodge Mega cab to hold my family of 5 or the new 2011 Ford in which I never considered because of the previous diesels engines (6.0 & 6.4). Cummins has always been a solid engine for years. Well I guess choices are a good thing now.

new v10 based off this 6.2 engine with 6 speed auto! reg cab work truck thats all i want

Ian. The Defender would likely blow the engine or a differential well before the Ford was broken in. Aluminum is great but try to find an autobody shop to paint and fix it, then see the difference in the bill.

I am looking at buying a new f 250 diesel this winter and i dont know alot about diesels. should i buy last years model 2010 or this year 2011?

I recently researched the beautiful new Ford 2011 F-250 Diesel. It is a beautiful sight and was so quiet that my wife was very attracted to it. One concern though was a little fact that a diesel instructor mentioned to us. He of course said that not much is known about the new Ford diesel because of its' new technology but if one is planning to keep the truck for years out of warranty one should remember that to work on the tightly packed engine, one has to remove the whole cab and fender assembly. My question to the engineers; is the cab designed to be removed when the engine needs serious repair? I couldn't believe it until I asked the dealership who admitted it was true!

Dont buy your DEF from the dealership. NAPA sells the same quailty Fluid at 1/3 the cost per gallon.

I bought a 2011 King ranch and love it. Great power and wonderful ride. I recommend this truck. I've owned all of them and Ford did it this time. great job. 17.6 mpg on the highway.

Alright let me sum this up for all you people commenting on here about how amazing dodge and chevy is. So GMC is finally making a come back and their gonna pay off their debt. The new sierra and silvarado's are finally a nice truck. Sales are increasing for them and they have a few nice small cars coming in to boost their sales. Ford released this superduty which is an entirely new engine built by ford engineers (just like the good old days). its a beast on the road. anyone who has ever done a moderate amount of towing in it will love it. Not to mention Ford outsold GMC for the first time in 50 years, they outsold toyota, and they outsold.. well everyone? Ford is no longer a company that relies on truck sales to keep them going, and its only getting better. With next years turboed F-150, the silverado and the sierra will be blown out of the water. As for Chrysler? I wish them well. Sorry folks but you can't make support a company selling dodge trucks, which the industry is dominated by ford and gmc, and the odd jeep (which are the worst quality since, ever?)

Had 97 powerstroke for 14 years. Got tired of waiting for good motor from Ford and bought a 2010 Ram 3500, Just traded in for 2011 F 250 Lariat. The new Ford is great, beats Dodge milage 3-4 mpg, feels like a V8. Wow does it ever feel great to get back in a Ford. Only mistake is selling the 97. Only nick is the Dodge rode just a bit smoother, just a bit.
Remember, the new Ford has two air filters, two fuel filters. A little bit more to do, but well worth it. The new engine is beyond quiet, very quick and smooth, and really feels like a truck. Mine is Crew Cab long box 4x4 Black Lariat, hard loaded.
Best ever!!

ford please give as manual transmision for gas and diesel and for f 150 too


I am a very excited person. I just got my new 2011 king ranch fx4 and absolutely love it. the mileage will get better as it is broken in however I am getting around 18. The new power plant is awesome plenty of power and torque the upgraded audio system and new features are amazing will have to give it some time and see if i am still in love with it but i hope i am.


This sounds great. Ford actually designed and built this engine in house, glad to hear it.
Now Ford needs to cut this engine in half and design it to go into their cars. Why not, it is high tech and the design sounds better then any car diesel out there.
I am glad to hear Ford is making a come back. I use to drive Ford trucks then switched to a Cummings Ram. I just hope the UAW cooperates and helps Ford make a complete recovery, I might even buy the stock.

Bought a 2011 F250 King Ranch Diesel, at this point I really feel this is the worst $65K+ purchase I’ve ever made!! 15.2 MPG @ 75 mph tank to tank on Highway driving with no load, 355 gears, the leather is cheap according to the 2006 king ranch I had, I got 20+ mph on the same trip to Toronto Canada on the 2006 King Ranch I traded. This is the worst disappointment I’ve ever experienced with Ford, GM is looking like the next stop for me!! I’m looking NOW, I only have 8K miles on this Ford, anybody interested please let me know!

after reading all this its got me a little confused, is the new powerstroke supercharged or not?


I have a 2010 f 250 Duramax Diesel 6.4. It seems after driving it for about 15 to 20 minutes it blows out a thick white smoke. brought it back to ford truck dealer and they can't find anything wrong. It is so bad cars actuall move from behind me. Does anyone have any clue or did this ever happen to you. The problem is it doesnt do it all of the time. They are telling me it is the regeneration system but I've never seem trucks blow out that much smoke and I am a truck driver for aliving.

Ok lets get one thing straight, Ford makes powerstroke not duramax, second off i love my 2011 F-250 that thing will do anything and im loving every minute with it

Trying to decide to whether to buy the new Dodge 6.7 diesel mega cab dually or the F350 crew cab dually.
I currently own two F350 7.3 diesel Power strokes that I love and one F450 6 litre that has caused me many visits to the repair shop costing me thousands each time. Dodge cummins is reliable with decent economy and power (nicely finished inside finally). I currently get about 9 mpg towing with my F450. If by buying the new ford will save me 20%+on fuel economy over the Dodge (plus more power), it would be a no brainer. I can not get a consistant MPG out of the new truck from the bloggers. some are saying they are getting barely 15mpg unloaded etc and some are saying over 24mpg?? I just want to buy what will be more efficient for my company re considering maintenance and running cost etc.
Is there anyone pulling a gooseneck trailer with 16000 lb in it that can tell me what they average in fuel per mpg??

@mick - did you read this shootout?

I have a 2011 f250 diesel and I am not sure where the 22 mpg finding came from but my truck has never seen anything close to that. the truck rides nice, but squeeks real bad when towing or standing on the bumper. dealer not sure what the problem is. I would recommend the fx4 as the regular 4x4 sags in the rear with 5,000 lbs behind it. I would not buy another one unless some bugs were worked out. The urea is a nightmare, does not go oil change to oil change before needing filled as promised by several ford dealers.

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