First Drive Review: 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty Introduction, Part 1

First Drive Review: 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty

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You don't have to skip to the end of this review to find out our opinion of Ford's 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickups. At this moment, there's no doubt that Ford has once again raised the bar to new levels of performance and productivity for heavy-duty pickups. The Super Duty continues to be the standard against which its competition will be measured. Read on and find out why.

HD pickups are the workhorses of the truck world, and like pack animals that farmers used to depend on to deliver their crops to market, when a work truck is out of service it causes more than aggravation — it can cost hard dollars and time. And these trucks are worked hard. Ford says 97 percent of Super Dutys are used for towing, according to Super Duty Marketing Manager Brian Rathsburg.

A $50,000-plus price tag isn’t uncommon today, so two of the most important considerations a buyer might think about before committing their hard-earned cash are: Will this truck be able to perform the jobs that I need it to do, and do I feel confident that it will complete them successfully?

Ford is answering those questions by making many improvements to the Super Duty just three years after its last major update, but its most significant changes include two new gasoline and diesel engines and a new six-speed automatic transmission that's used for both versions. The ZF six-speed manual transmission has been dropped from the lineup. Both engines have been engineered from scratch. The standard 2-valve 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine develops 385 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm) and 405 pounds-feet of torque (at 4,500 rpm), up from the old 5.4-liter gas V-8's 300 hp and 365 pounds-feet. But it's the 4-valve 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine that's the darling of the powertrain lineup. It pumps 390 hp (at 2,800 rpm) and a staggering 735 pounds-feet (at 1,600 rpm). Roughly 60 percent of Super Duty pickups are ordered with diesel engines.

The outgoing 2010 Super Duty's standard 5.4-liter gas V-8 is rated at 300 hp and 365 pounds-feet, and the optional 6.8-liter V-10 is rated at 362 hp and 457 pounds-feet. So the new 6.2-liter V-8 has more horsepower than either of the old engines and just misses splitting the difference in torque between the 5.4-liter and 6.8-liter, with two fewer cylinders than the massive 6.8-liter.

The 6.7-liter V-8 is under special scrutiny. This is the engine that is going to have to live up to the reputation of the original 1999-2002 Super Duty's 7.3-liter Power Stroke V-8 and surpass the maintenance-challenged 2003-07 6.0-liter V-8 and fuel-efficiency-challenged 2008-10 6.4-liter V-8 PSD engines. The 6.7-liter also is introducing the use of diesel exhaust fluid to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions.

To fill the big boots that the 7.3-liter left behind, Ford's engineers say they've subjected the in-house designed-and-built oil burner to the toughest set of torture tests they've ever devised plus more than 10 million miles of on-road testing — that's the equivalent of more than 400 trips around the world.

Performance shouldn't be an issue. If it is, you belong in a medium-duty truck because Ford has boosted the Super Duty's trailer-towing ratings so high that we're at the point where a standard F-350 one-ton pickup with the 6.7-liter diesel and a middle-of-the-road 3.73 rear axle requires a commercial driver's license to pull its maximum-rated trailer, depending on the state in which you live. That used to be "Tow Boss" special package territory, or it meant moving up to a mighty F-450 pickup.

The old chassis-certified 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 is rated at 350 hp and 650 pounds-feet, so we're seeing a substantial jump in power by 40 horses and 85 pounds-feet from Ford's in-house designed and built 6.7-liter V-8.

Answering the confidence question is a bit more complex. Do I feel confident pulling and hauling huge loads that I'm able to safely? Do I feel confident that I won't run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere? And do I feel confident that the truck won't break down and leave me stranded on the side of the road?

To answer those questions as best we can, for now, we flew out to central Arizona (at our own expense and Ford's invite) to drive the 2011 Super Duty lineup in the high- and low-desert terrains near Prescott and Wickenburg.

Diesel 2011 F-250 King Ranch 4x4 Crew Cab Short Wheelbase Single Rear Wheel — Unloaded

The first truck we drove was a four-wheel-drive single-rear-wheel F-250 King Ranch Super Duty with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 for a quick 50-mile trip from Prescott to the base of the steep Yarnell Grade.

Ford gave the Super Duty a new front end for 2011 that's focused around the biggest Blue Oval badge ever slapped on a Ford vehicle and two chunky chrome bars in the grille. Bold? Outrageously so. Ford must be working its chrome mines overtime to produce so much bling. Thankfully, the chrome was offset on the KR by a body-colored black surround and tan painted bumper. Depending on trim level, other models can be ordered with a completely chromed nose and bumper or simple black plastic.


The rest of the truck's exterior is carried over virtually unchanged from the 2008-10 model, except for the dually, which gets new rear rounded fenders over the rear tires and subtle cargo box changes that add vertical ribbing structures similar to the F-150.

It's been 12 years since Ford introduced the original Super Duty platform on which this truck is still heavily based. We're wondering when we'll finally see an all-new body that will bring Ford's trucks up to the par with the Ram and GM HD pickups because the Super Duty's flanks are starting to look a bit dated. We consider the Ram, which received all new sheet metal in 2010, to be the best-looking HD pickup on the road today.

Inside, the new Super Duty ranks a notch above the old for quality and equipment. Truck cabins don't get any nicer than when they're decked out in King Ranch trim. The 2011 KRs are the best ones yet. Our rig came with the trademark rich brown Castano leather 10-way power seats (that are now shared with the F-150), but instead of the traditional beige carpeting, the floor was as black as the Tuxedo Black exterior paint job. It's a new option for 2011 and it looks stellar until you track dirt on the mats, which the beige does a better job of hiding. The console was covered with a dark wood appliqué. The steering wheel has a welcome new telescoping feature to customize its reach for individual drivers.

There's a fresh, new 4-inch LCD driver information system centered in the handsomely updated gauge cluster. Hands-down, it's the best trip computer in the industry across all pickup truck segments, and it's the benchmark by which all others that follow will be measured. It includes features like a fuel-efficiency monitor, pitch and yaw angles while off-roading and a robust set of towing apps that can store names and notes for up to 20 trailers plus provides a hitch checklist to help ensure you've hooked up the trailer properly before you tap the accelerator.


We think that driver information systems like this computer and Ford Work Solutions will spark some of the biggest innovations in pickups over the next decade. Timely knowledge provided by these computers will coach drivers and fleet managers to get the most out of their pickups to help save time and money and improve fuel economy.

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They ruined the front looks ugly !! This truck is hideous ,big lights,way too big logo..ugly is a Ford heavy duty..

I like it

They said the same thing in 08. "They ruined it." Now they love the 08 and the 2011 is ruined. Whatever. Wait to you see it in person before you judge. It will grow on you just like the previous models.

I'd like to see the axle, GVW and GCW for the F-450 dually pulling the 24K gooseneck (looked like a fifth wheeler to me?).

With 20% of the trailer weight on the pin, the trailer would have dropped 4,880 lbs in the bed of the truck. With a load capacity of 4,950 lbs, by the time you put a 180 lb driver behind the wheel, you're over the GVWR of the F-450. Add the option weights, girlfriend, two dogs and the cooler and you'd be seriously over the wimpy 4,950 lb cargo weight rating of the wimpy F-450.

Ford blew it with the weight ratings on the F-450.

As to the 17.5 inch wheels on the F-450 instead of 19.5, their excuse was speed rating. The F-450 is a tow beast. I'd like to know what customers they listened to that said that 80 mph wasn't fast enough and they needed to go 90 mph pulling a 24K fiver.

I like the truck,but GM called and asked for their front bumper back (HD models only).

I encountered you guys driving them in Prescott and would appreciate when your convoying leaving some space between each other for other drivers.

Ford can say and do whatever. But no motor will outdo the 7.3 powerstroke......what were they thinking by not producing it anymore.....big big mistake!!

Still hate it...emblem way tooo big,headlights way tooo big...Wont buy one,they lost me now..I am scared to see it in person..the lights and emblem will look bigger !! One thing Dodge has done is kept making good looking trucks,what happened to Ford !!

OK get over the 7.3, it's GONE ... it's not coming back!

My money is on the Fords. Not only a superior product, but its also non Government owned. You can't say that about GM or Chrysler/Dodge products.

I like the large FORD logo...that's what says it's a TRUCK. I'd rip the grill off in a nanosecond if it had a small ford logo. That's for cars and crossovers. Anybody don't like the big logo go drive a Smart car!

Ford Man,

Blah,Blah about gov. owned...Chrysler said by 2014 it will pay it back,I am sure GM as well at another date.....Ford was lucky enough to get a bank loan before the meltdown,otherwise it would of been in the same situation..remember they went to all of the meetings,Ford included...

Ford's are not superior to Dodge trucks..yes in sales,but more fleets buy Ford trucks..Dodge trucks drive smoother,look better,handle better,perform better..interior on a Dodge is superior to a Ford !! just look at the face of that new ford..truly only a die hard Ford Fan could love that !! They trashed that truck,ugly my man..ugly !!! The Ford heavy Duty trucks were the only ford trucks I liked ..until this monstrosity !!!

Oh really Dodge is paying back the billions they took from tax payers over the next 6 years. Goody for them. Does that include interest? But you know what... you cant unsuck a d!@K. And Chrysler has done it twice. At this point its just a dead eyed shell of its former self to be slapped around.

I have to laugh at the front end. Who is in charge of the styling at Ford. Seriously step back, it looks like a 2 year old drew it. What can be next? Maybe just put up some bricks made of chrome.

Dodge has the best looking truck? Great. Hows that working out for them?

I love it when people mention fleets sales of Ford pretending that the other 2 don't have any fleet sales what so ever. I guess those aren't Chrysler vehicles I rent from Enterprise? Could have fool me.

In fact nearly half of all of Chrysler vehicle sales go to fleet and that's a fact. Ford and GM only a third. Numerically its still more than Chrysler but that's because nobody actually buys Chrysler vehicles. I cant wait until they introduce the next car/truck to turn everything around...THE NEW CHRYSLER!!!....again.

There is a reason Ford is #1 in pickup truck sales.
The fuel mileage alone will sell this truck.
They finally got rid of Navistar as their diesel engine supplier, everyone knows an in house project is the best.

any doubters just look around. Look at your local fleets. municipality, or power company, or construction site.
Youll see Ford Superdutys.

check Ford stock too. It's a healthy company.

Dodge, are you serious when saying the dodge has a superior interior to Ford? Interior in a Ford is superior to all trucks. Last time I checked, dodge had the lowest rated interior of the big 3.

i think gm took like 60bil in loans and is repaying around 7 bil, the rest the government get stocks... great deal for us...

anyway why does everyone mention fleet sales like its a bad thing? wouldnt youd rather know what truck companies are buying that actually use them as trucks vs ppl who get groceries with them?

For those of you who think that Ford is excluded from government money need to do research before you speak/ type. Ya they might not have took the most money or even "Bailout Money" but to say they did not take a Government loan is asinine.

The day that any V8 ever outdoes a I6 motor in efficiency and longevity is the day Ford/GM might actual have a truck worth buying!

For those of you who think that Ford is excluded from government money need to do research before you speak/ type. Ya they might not have took the most money or even "Bailout Money" but to say they did not take a Government loan is asinine.

The day that any V8 ever outdoes a I6 motor in efficiency and longevity is the day Ford/GM might actual have a truck worth buying!

For those of you who think that Ford is excluded from government money need to do research before you speak/ type. Ya they might not have took the most money or even "Bailout Money" but to say they did not take a Government loan is asinine.

The day that any V8 ever outdoes a I6 motor in efficiency and longevity is the day Ford/GM might actual have a truck worth buying!

typical underpowered Ford V8, this is the best they could do after 10 years of having the same V8 on the market ? and i also think its a silly move to get rid of the V10... O well atleast the diesel seems like it is good...

"The day that any V8 ever outdoes a I6 motor in efficiency and longevity is the day Ford/GM might actual have a truck worth buying!"

you said that twice. you said that twice.........

I like Ford because they are actually an independent automobile company, unlike GM & Fiat... Ford owns!

What government loan are you referring to D57H? IF you can not reference your accusations perhaps you should not make them or bad mouth people that disagree with you.

Up coming fleet mpg standards probably killed the V-10. The 6.2 was designed for direct injection and turbos, maybe we will see those. With 110% volumetric efficiency at peak torque and 100% at peak HP, it has promise.

This truck is awesome it has the looks and its a exciting time for us ford truck guys . Hope mike puts some pics up on the 2011 Harley Davidson f350

Those Lights looks good. Look at Chevys light they are big too... I think its just to many Jealousy!!! LOL

I like the looks of the grill color matched to the body. The chrome looks good with the paint. The fully chromed grill looks ugly. Way too much chrome. It sounds like Ford has done their homework with the drivetrain. I can't wait to see how the new GM's perform. It will be a great shootout.
Ford should offer a front e-locker, and a lift kit with their trucks. Everyone wants a PowerWagon with a diesel. Ford should offer a similar set up in gas and diesel.

Never been a fan of the Dodge grill. Some years it reminds me of a storm drain cover, to plain. Another thing of the big three, the Dodge's always seem to be rusting out first. What brand of bulbs does Dodge use from factory? They most always have the High Mount brake lights burnt out. Never heard good things about there electrical stuff. I'll admit the new Ford grill is a bit bold & time will tell if it's accepted. I've said that about a lot of cars on the road.

Ford will kick GM's butt with these trucks.
Tug - o - war = no wonder Ford declined. It wouldn't even be a contest.
Dodge - buy one if you want a limited edition truck.
If you don't like it - pick up your purse and leave.

Trying to made a Ford fan realize they drive inferior vehicles, makes one less intelligent. Don't get sucked into there brain washed, decades old arguments, GM/Ram guys.

Looks are entirely subjective, but I believe there are plenty (and most likely a majority) of Ford guys who will "love" this truck just because it's a Ford. If this truck had a 10 inch Ram badge on the grill with a 12 year-old cab and bed, everybody would stomp and spit all over it, and NOBODY can deny that.

Blue Ovals don't roll well.

Well I actually prefer the previous model Ram styling to the current one. That is my opinion. I thought it looked beefier. Dodge has given priority to new styling over a new powertrain. Ford and GM thought the opposite. Who cares, buy what suits your needs/wants. If you want a truck that has less power and torque, uses a lot more fuel, but at least it "looks pretty," buy a Ram. My preference is Ford first, then GM not far behind, I just don't like the cab as much. The seats seem smaller, more like sitting in a car. I like the room you get in the Ford, and prefer the solid front axle. We're not all going to agree with each other.

Here is a link for those of you who don't know how to use Google on the Ford Government loans!

The difference is D57H, Ford was doing fine before that and didn't go bankrupt. GM and Chrysler went bankrupt. The difference might mean little to you, but it makes a HUGE difference in the eyes of their suppliers. Maybe you could call a few of them to ask what the difference is?

Alex your reasoning is all wrong. Dodge didn't need to redesign their power train because it was already 2010 compliant. Ford and GMs were not. They is why Dodge didn't need to spend billions to redesign it.

No manual tranny, OK. In dash computer, that is pushing it a bit. Do I need or want a truck that can track tools or has way more displays than I can look at. Give me the basic, temp, alt, tran temp, add pyro for exhaust and call it a day. Keep your eyes and hands on the road where they belong. Take the bling off, make more XL strippers at lower cost. Their may be some real he men that work construction that will buy an FX4 or Harley model for bragging rights or it may be all the dealer had at the time and they could afford that. But I find it much easier to wash out the old 97 farm F350 with a garden hose in the spring, then all the work I have to do with the FX 4 F250 with freakin carpets. But I bought that one used, so I guess I got what I paid for. So please build a lot of XLs so that when I go to buy one of these used, I can afford it too!

Another Lie, probably a big reason why they didn't change the Powertrain and went for styling. But it's not going to be as good. I want something that does more than just meet emissions standards.

D57H - Did you actually read the articles you linked? One states Ford took money to develop "green" manufacturing facilties and research "green" technologies. IIRC this money was offered to all manufacturers, even foreign. Nissanis also taking money for green product development.

The other article is from Spet 2008 and is the first lifeline all 3 of the Big 3 got. IIRC Ford went to this as a just in case and never took the money. GM and Dodge did and still went bankrupt. Even id Ford did take cash, the are not on life support like the other two and did not need government assisted bankruptcy hearings. HUGE difference!! Ford is still their own entity, not a puppet of the government or FIAT.

Facts are facts and like I said it might not be BAILOUT money but it is government money that Ford did take some so they are NOT exempt even if it is for building a worthless GREEN machine! I unlike most of you am happy the Government and Fiat saved my job along with thousands of others who want Chrysler to succeed no matter who the owner is! What most of you don't know is if one fails they ALL fail that is how bad the economy is not a single manufactures ability to stay alive!

Nobody said it was a bad idea to save the two bankrupt companies D57H, just don't go talking like loans and bailouts are the same thing. Most companies rely on credit to make future investments. The government was not good for any car maker, trying to dictate to all of them how to make cars. The car maker looses even more control when they REQUIRE bailout money to survive.

Alright look government money or not that is not what this article is about. Rather than argue about who recieved money or not is stupid. Back to the trucks... My dad and i were talking and the truth is you cant convince a chevy guy a ford is better, same with dodge and visa versa. I am a ford guy so i'll admit i will be a good bit biased. I personally love what these truck companies are doing it's fantastic. I do think this diesel being built in house is a great idea because now ford has WAY more control in the building of this truck. Way to go ford keep it coming! 33 years straight.

also can't wait for the svt raptor with the new 6.2!

DH57H I'm glad you were one of the lucky ones who's job got saved... As mentioned by others yes Ford did take government money, but this was money that was up for grabs by EVERY auto manufacture! I dislike someone who tries to slant everything one way instead of providing all the facts.

Every news tidbit I can read about this truck suggest the fuel economy is GREAT with this truck with most avg around 25mpg empty weight depending on how it was driven. The look of the truck will have to grow on me but I can see myself driving it for sure. Does Dodge have a better looking truck? Sure they do but has a Dodge ever known to be dependable as a GM or Ford? Hell no... that's the difference right there.

Oh and as for the I6 comments... they did have one good Diesel that could match it... the ole reliable 7.3L Yes it is gone but not forgotten... I know a few that are up in the 700,000 mile range now and there still daily drivers and worked hard on the farms pulling and towing anything the farmers I know can think of.

I'm not so sure Dodge has a better looking truck. The Ram is more conservative, and the lines flow more smoothly from front to back but is it better looking? I do not think so. The new Ram looks like they tried to copy the F-150 that came out in 04. If the Super Duty looks old, the new Ram looks old, too and conservative. Nothing on the Ram makes it stand out. Quite frankly, it is kind of boring. It has a very conservative chrome grille, plain headlights, chrome bumpers, plain sides and plain rear. If you like the plain conservative look, the Ram is for you. If you want something bold and tough, the F-150 and Super Duty are for you. Inside, I like the Fords better and the new dash is amazing.

And like Mike Levine always says, truck interiors don't get any nicer than Ford's King Ranch package.

Way-to-go Ford. Great job on the 2011 Super Duty

as a person who likes Ford trucks, and some GM trucks I think its ridiculous for we the government to continue to pay chryslers bills for them so they can sell out and we never get our money back, I could make a nice truck yo if someone else paid for it. The new fords are beautiful my order is in for a 2011 6.7 diesel. Pull your Ram up anytime and we'll have at it.

OK this is only my opinion about Ford's four diesels.

For sound, I like the 7.3 L diesel, even with the stock exhaust, it sounds ragged, which I love with a PASSION 6.7 > 6.4 > 6.0 least

OK my last post got screwed up, but in short I like the 7.3 the most, 6.7 next. I don't like the 6.0 and 6.4 diesel as well, as they were plagued with problems.

Had to laugh at:

"But it's the 4-valve 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine that's the darling of the powertrain lineup. It pumps 390 hp (at 2,800 rpm) and a staggering 735 pounds-feet (at 1,600 rpm). "

My 1998 Cummins 5.9L 24V ISB has 660 ft/lb from 1300-2000 rpm. Not much if any improvement in the last 13 years for Ford. Of course "only" 275 HP but that is at 2000 rpm as well not 2800.

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