"Mine's Bigger" moves the metal in the heavy-duty pickup world, so every detail of the restyled and revamped 2008 Ford Super Duty trucks has been tailored to enhance the impression of size. The Super Chief concept vehicle that presaged it was inspired by and named after a locomotive, and the hardware backs up that image, with new reinforced frames, stiffer body structure, a stronger diesel engine, and innovations to make these trucks better at hauling and towing.
There's also added refinement in a new quieter interior patterned after the light-duty F-150's. So what are its prospects at grabbing the golden calipers? Let's examine Ford's Super Duty against the criteria:
Significance: Ford has been a perennial top-seller in the pickup world for decades, and the company's Super Duty trucks have really pulled their weight since Ford separated them from the lighter duty F-series for 1999. An already broad model lineup widens a bit more this year with the introduction of an all new F-450 model-the industry's first factory-available Class-4 pickup. Riding atop a completely unique frame with special rear leaf springs and a wide-track, coil-sprung, leading-arm beam or live front axle, it boasts class-leading payload and towing capacities of three and 12 tons respectively.
Value: Anyone pricing prospective vehicles by the pound of curb weight or towing capacity will be amazed at the value a big Ford Super Duty represents, especially if you go easy on the trim-level upgrades. Got a big fifth-wheel trailer to tow? The new F-450, in XL trim can haul 12 tons at a purchase price of well under $2/pound.
Superiority: Ford's attempt to become the towing champion of the world has led to such innovations as TowCommand, an integrated electronic trailer-brake controller that increases trailer braking intensity when the truck's anti-lock brakes engage, and PowerScope sideview mirrors that motor out to see around wide trailers. Ford's tow-motor of choice is a new 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel option featuring piezo-electric injectors that can deliver up to five separate spritzes of fuel at up to 26,000 psi and sequential twin turbochargers that can charge the intake to 42 psi, delivering 350 peak horsepower and 650 pound-feet. Other hauling innovations include an optional tailgate-step and a collapsible bed extender that stows up against the sides of the pickup box.
Will the many revisions to the Ford Super Duty lineup be sufficient to trump its GM heavy-duty pickup competitors, not to mention the bigger, better, badder Toyota? Click back on December 18 to find out.
Click here to see an exclusive 2008 TOTY photo gallery of the Ford F-250 4x4 FX4 & Ford F-450 4x4 King Ranch!