Crucial Cars: Ford Super Duty F-250

From timeless icons to everyday essentials, Crucial Cars examines the vehicles we can’t live without. In this installment, we explore the unstoppable beast that is the Ford Super Duty F-250.

2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty photo 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty

When it comes to geography and trucks, bigger is always better. Just ask the people of Texas, or any Super Duty truck owner.

The smaller Ford F-150 pickup is enough muscle for most weekend warriors towing the occasional camper, horse trailer, or boat for a getaway. The same holds true for drivers hauling a bed full of hay bales, mulch for the flower beds, or a relative's furniture. But when the game shifts to towing bigger, heavier loads more frequently, and for longer distances, that's when truck drivers opt for the big guns: the Ford Super Duty F-250, now in its third generation.

V8 Car Engine

Super Duty – it wasn’t a truck first

The Ford Super Duty F-250 debuted in 1998 with the '99 model year. Those early models featured distinct styling – including unique headlamps and grilles – and the countless Ford Super Duty F-250 accessories available help it stand out from its less powerful F-150 little brother.

That first 250 featured a 5.4-liter V-8 delivering 255 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque, with available options including a 6.8-liter V-10 or a 7.3-liter turbodiesel.

Fittingly, since the 250's branding and performance focus on power, the Super Duty moniker first appeared on the scene in 1958 not as a truck but rather as a big, weighty engine, producing high torque at low RPM. And this engine was never designed for the light-duty tasks of transporting kids to a Saturday morning soccer game or hauling a couple of bags of potting soil and some plants. No, this beastly power plant worked hard and was usually found only in industrial-type vehicles such as buses, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and cement mixers.

Forty years later, the first Ford Super Duty F-250 model would seem a fitting way to honor an engine similarly designed for heavy lifting and hard work.

  Ford Super Duty F-250 towing trailer

2015 Ford Super Duty F-250

Towing capacity is what matters.

Ford says: “90 percent of all Super Duty trucks are purchased by customers who tow often." That's the main reason truck marketing, and particularly Ford Heavy Duty ads, emphasize towing capacity. But how much can they tow? Just over 15,000 pounds in a two-wheel drive 2019 F-250 – and that's just for starters. Move up to a gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch setup and those numbers head north.

Towing capacities vary greatly depending on which Super Duty model and engine you choose, and whether it's two- or four-wheel drive, or a dually, as well as the bed length, and cab configuration.

Delivering the power in the 2019 Super Duty F-250 is a 6.2-liter SOHC 2 Valve Flex Fuel V8 cranking out 385 horsepower at 5750 RPM, and torque in the 430 @ 3800 RPM range with the TorqShift® G 6-speed SelectShift Automatic® transmission. Jumping to the 6.7-liter Power Stroke® turbodiesel adds another 65 horses and torque of around 935 lb-ft @ 1800 RPM.

Ford Super Duty F-250
Source | Ford


New features for the 2019 model include the Lariat Sport Package with 20-inch wheels replacing the stock 17s, and a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo where there was previously a Sony sound system. And because staying connected and entertained is a must in today's digital age — unlike when the first F-250 debuted — a Wi-Fi hot spot featuring 4G LTE, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are all available features.

Looking down the road to the 2020 F-Series Super Duty models, a new gas 7.3-liter V-8 engine and an available 10-speed automatic transmission will make their debut, along with available automatic emergency braking as one of the safety features.

Ford got it right

The Ford Super Duty F-250 isn’t necessarily the right choice for every pickup truck driver out there, but Ford's lineup of impressive F-Series trucks continue to blast the competition out of the water. The F-250 Super Duty is no exception. It's no wonder why F-Series is the best-selling truck in America.

Editor’s note: If you’re searching for Ford Super Duty F-250 parts or accessories, stop by Advance Auto Parts for everything your truck needs. Buy online, pick up in store, and get back to the garage.

Last updated November 19, 2019