Ford Announces 2017 Super Duty Towing Specs
Ram & Chevy are left in the dustby Mark McNabb, on
The numbers game never ends with full-size pickups, and especially heavy duty segment at that. Well, Ford announced the new specifications for the new 2017 Super Duty in the latest move of one-upmanship. The numbers include payload, towing, horsepower, and torque specs for the entire Super Duty lineup. This includes the F-250 up to the mighty F-450. In short, watch out Peterbilt and Kenworth.
Two specs take the cake: the 6.7-liter Power Stroke’s torque rating and the F-450’s maximum tow rating. This new second-generation 6.7-liter Power Stoke now cranks out 440 horsepower and a whopping 925 pound-feet of torque. That’s 25 pound-feet more than the Ram 3500’s Cummins turbodiesel. Towing also surpasses the Ram 3500, besting the Ram by 1,290 pounds for a max gooseneck tow rating of 32,500 pounds. Fifth-wheel users can tow 27,500 pounds – 2,500 pounds more than the next best competitor.
The remainder of the specs are equally impressive. The F-450 can tow a conventional tag-along trailer weighing 21,000 pounds without a weight distributing hitch. That’s impressive. It’s also 1,000 pounds more than the next-best competitor. Payload takes the prize as well, with the F-450 hauling a gargantuan 7,630 pounds in its bed. That essentially makes it a 3.8-ton truck. So much for that whole “one-ton” classification, huh?
The F-450 isn’t the one shining star in the Super Duty lineup. The F-250 with the Trailer Tow Package and F-350 with single-rear wheels are now rated to tow 18,000 pounds at the receiver hitch. The F-250 can also haul 4,200 pounds, 600 pounds more than the other guys.
For those not able to splurge for the pricey Power Stroke, the Super Duty’s standard gasoline engine now comes with more power and torque, too. The 6.2-liter V-8 now pumps out 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. While horsepower remains unchanged, torque is increased by 25 pound-feet. F-350 and F-450 trucks come standard with the same TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. F-250 trucks with the 6.2-liter V-8 come with Ford’s TorqShift-G six-speed auto designed for improved fuel economy.
There’s only one problem though… Keep reading for the dilemma
Continue reading for the full story.
Towing Heavy Stuff Requires a CDL
Yep, you guessed it. You’ll need a commercial driver’s license in order to legally drive the Super Duty at its maximum trailer weight. A CDL is needed when the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeds 26,001 pounds. Ford proudly boasts the F-450 has a GCWR of 41,800 pounds, or “more than half the maximum weight of an 18-wheeler.”
Just let that soak in for a second… The F-450 and its fully loaded trailer can weigh more than half of what a semi-truck is legally allowed to carry per federal regulations. 80,000 pounds is a lot of weight and the F-450 – a truck you can buy at your local Ford dealership – can lug this mass up a mountain grade without overheating, blowing a turbo, or melting its brakes off (or so says Ford).
The other problem is cost. You can be your bottom dollar the 2017 Super Duty will be more expensive than the 2016 model. Remember, the 2017 Super Duty adopts the F-150’s aluminum skin, more refined cabin, and slew of high-tech gadgets like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, blind spot monitoring for the trailer, and the 360-degree camera system. That’s on top of the powertrain improvements. These things undoubtedly cost money, so expect the consumer to pay the price. Literally.
Why it matters
Of course, towing and payload numbers matter to the marketing agencies and public relations firms that hawk the Super Duty. In turn, it matters to the competition’s marketing agencies and public relations firms, which then put pressure on engineers to develop products that outshine. This perpetual game of one-upping has been going on since the automobile was invented. However, no where else in the automotive industry is this corporate ego match more textbook than in the pickup segment. Welcome to the game, folks.
So that begs the question, who really needs to tow 32,500 pounds of trailer? The answer: not many people. Sure, there’s the vehicle delivery service that supplements medium-duty commercial trucks with relatively less expensive one-ton consumer trucks to haul a gaggle of vehicles on a gooseneck trailer around the country. And maybe there’s farmers out in the Midwest who haul hay or cattle to market – although likely illegally down narrow country roads not built to support anything over 18,000 pounds. But how many “real” consumers use this capability on the daily? I’d venture to say very few.
So why build a beefier truck?
It all goes back to the ego match. It’s all about whose got the baddest truck at the local diesel pump. “Mine’s bigger than yours…” and the bench racing commences. But hey, I can’t fault truck guys for eating the hype. It’s a fun game to play, although the cost for entry is getting more expensive by the year.
Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty here.