Advancements in technology help drivability

Ford has invested millions into the 2017 Super Duty, a member of its top-selling F-Series lineup. Part of that money went into new technologies designed to make operating a heavy-duty pickup easier for the average Joe. Ford now offers things like a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, and a blind spot monitoring system that even keeps track of a trailer’s blind spots. Headlining the drivability category, however, is the Super Duty’s new Adaptive Steering system.

As the short video points out, the adaptive steering system changes ratio with vehicle speed and driver input, altering the steering input from the steering wheel to the front tires by as much as 30 percent. This helps reduce the steering effort excreted by the driver by cutting down on the number of rotations of the steering wheel and the force needed to turn the wheel.

The system works by using a computer to control an electric motor and gear unit. Based on steering wheel inputs by the driver and the vehicle’s rate of speed, the adaptive steering system will add or subtract rotations needed by the driver to turn the tires. Ford says that up to one full rotation of the steering wheel can be reduced at low speeds. The system also has a specific algorithm when Tow/Haul mode is engaged, making the steering system more adapt to maneuvering a trailer. This helps reduce the effort needed to move the front wheels from lock-to-lock.

This is clearly demonstrated in Ford’s video, with the picture-in-picture shot of adaptive steering verses a Super Duty with conventional steering. And yes, the system is an option of the 2017 Super Duty. According to Ford’s Build and Price website, it’s available on all but the base XL trim package and costs $685. The range-topping Platinum trim level makes the Adaptive Steering Package a standard feature.

While the Super Duty might catch all the headlines, Ford’s adaptive steering system actually debuted on the 2016 Ford Edge.

Continue reading for more info on the 2017 Super Duty.

Why it Matters?

Ford’s efforts to make the 2017 Super Duty class-leading seem to be well-excreted. Things like adaptive steering and the innovative camera system all work to make piloting a 6,000-pound truck pulling a 30,000-pound trailer feel like a cakewalk. These technological innovations work in conjunction with carry-over tech like the 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 and the powerful 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel.

While the Power Stroke has been slightly revised for 2017, it remains largely a carry-over item from the last generation Super Duty. Those slight revisions, however, now push the turbodiesel to make 440 horsepower and a class-leading 925 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline mill isn’t a dud either, making 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque.

Both of these engines were developed in-house by Ford engineers, unlike previous engines in the Super Duty history like the 7.3-liter Power Stroke developed by International. The same can be said about the pair of six-speed automatic transmissions – the TorqShift G and the TorqShift.

The Super Duty may be new for the 2017 model year, but Ford designed the truck along side the current F-150 half-ton truck, which debuted for the 2015 model year. This is because Ford decided to utilize the same design and engineering elements in both trucks. Not only did this help reduce research and development costs, it also cuts down on production costs, which helps maximize company profits. The cab section and interior parts are the most common parts between the trucks, with only minute details creating a difference.

Other parts, like the full box ladder frames, are similar but not identical. This is because of the vast differences in towing and payload capacities between the F-150 and the range-leading F-450. Of course, the most obvious difference is the exterior styling up front. The Super Duty wears a completely unique front fascia compared to the haft-ton F-150.

The 2017 Ford Super Duty is already in dealer showrooms. Prices start at $32,535 for the F-250 in XL trim with the 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 in regular cab, long bed form with RWD. Opt for the F-450 in Platinum trim with literally every bell and whistle added, and the price zooms to $85,000.

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

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