Ram & Chevy are left in the dust

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

Ford Announces 2017 Super Duty Towing Specs - image 682763

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.

2017 Ford Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648381

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty here.

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Press Release

Ford, America’s truck leader, is taking heavy-duty trucks to the next level with the all-new 2017 F-Series Super Duty – empowering customers with the most towing and hauling capability and the most horsepower and torque of any heavy-duty pickup truck.

Super Duty’s enhanced capability starts with high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy and high-strength steel that help reduce weight by up to 350 pounds. Ford reinvested that weight savings in more robust components everywhere it counts to give customers more towing and hauling capability than ever before.

Foundational improvements for every Super Duty pickup truck include an all-new, fully boxed frame that is more than 95 percent high-strength steel and up to 24 times stiffer than the previous frame to support increased towing and hauling. The all-new high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body is more dent and ding resistant than the previous steel body.

“This is the best heavy-duty truck we’ve ever made,” says Doug Scott, Ford truck marketing manager. “We listened to our customers and created the toughest, smartest and most capable Super Duty ever.”

The future of towing is now
The 2017 Super Duty is the undisputed leader in towing, offering available best-in-class performance in all towing categories, plus smart technology no other competitor has to enable greater confidence when towing.

Ford F-450 Super Duty SuperCrew 4x4 now features a maximum gooseneck tow rating of 32,500 pounds – 1,290 pounds more than its nearest competitor, a regular cab two-door pickup. Maximum fifth-wheel towing is increased to 27,500 – 2,500 pounds better than the nearest competitor.

Maximum conventional towing is increased to 21,000 pounds – 1,000 pounds better than the nearest competitors’ trucks and without the need for a weight-distributing hitch. Maximum conventional towing with F-250, with the all-new trailer tow package, and F-350 single-rear wheel are increased to a class-leading 18,000 pounds.

Maximum gross combined weight rating for truck and trailer now tops out at a class-leading 41,800 pounds. That is more than half the maximum weight of an 18-wheeler semi-tractor trailer combination on most federal highways.

This industry-defining capability is matched by never-before-seen towing technology. Super Duty is the first truck to offer adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support for heavy trailers, allowing truckers to traverse steep mountain grades while maintaining speed – even with a trailer weighing 32,500 pounds.

A center high-mounted stop lamp camera provides visibility into the cargo box, which is especially helpful when hooking up gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers. An Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System uses four digital, high-definition cameras to give the driver a 360-degree bird’s-eye view surrounding Super Duty. Trailer Reverse Guidance provides visual cues and tips to help ease backing up a trailer. A first-ever factory-available trailer camera can be custom-placed on a trailer to improve visibility backing up.

Trailer towing customers benefit from a segment-first in-cab trailer tire pressure monitoring system, accessible from the comfort of the cab while stopped or on the highway. Blind Spot Information System with trailer tow is optimized for Super Duty to include the length of the trailer up to 33 feet long; BLIS® uses radar sensors in the taillamps to monitor areas that may not be visible to the driver.

Payload dominance
Super Duty can haul more than any other heavy-duty pickup. Maximum payload of the 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 is 7,630 pounds – more than any competitor, period. F-250 Super Duty boasts the same dominance over its peers; with maximum payload of 4,200 pounds, it can haul more than 600 pounds over its nearest competitor.

More power than ever
The Ford-designed, Ford-engineered, Ford-built second-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 turbo diesel that powers Super Duty now delivers a best-in-class combination of 440 horsepower and a staggering 925 lb.-ft. of torque. That power is standard for every Super Duty diesel pickup – from F-250 to F-450 – without requiring special tuning or unique hardware.

The standard 6.2-liter V8 now offers best-in-class torque among gasoline engines of 430 lb.-ft., with standard 385 horsepower.

Both diesel and gasoline engines are backed by the TorqShift six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission for reliable and efficient cross-country towing. The F-250 pickup with 6.2-liter V8 and all-new TorqShift-G six-speed automatic delivers improved fuel economy and capability for three-quarter-ton Super Duty customers.

Ford has redefined leadership in the heavy-duty pickup truck market, delivering never-before-seen productivity for today’s heavy-duty truck customer. The 2017 F-Series Super Duty is a purpose-built machine for getting work done faster, smarter and more efficiently. The all-new Super Duty goes on sale this fall.

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