When it comes to pickup trucks, Ford has the market blanketed with their F-Series in many different forms fitting for just about any job you would throw at such a vehicle. Their latest lineup of Super Duty pickups has retained their spot at the top of the hill for sales, and the 2020 model year makes improvements and exterior updates to go a long way to keep things fresh and well-endowed with the necessary goods to get the job done.
At the starting spectrum of the Super Duty line, the F-250 finds a nice position to offer plentiful options to appease a wide range of consumers. For this week, I get to check out the F-250 Super Duty at the middle of the row for trim levels, the Lariat trim featuring a new 7.3-liter gasoline V8 engine. The new 7.3 V8 is a beastly engine that may not feel as forward-thrusting as the optional PowerStroke 6.7-liter Diesel, but it has the robust power to tow about 14,700 pounds as my test vehicle is configured. The new 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine makes do with 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque and gets mated to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, which is a good benefit to the drivability and shear towing capacity of the F-250.
Out on the road, the F-250 is, at times, unpredictable with the power demands where you must really ring it out to get the massively-sized Super Duty moving with authority. While there is plenty of power available, the V8 engine tends to lug around until you really dig into the throttle – which in turn has the engine drinking copious amounts of fuel. All is not bad with the 7.3-liter V8. It proves to be quite a powerhouse in its ability to tow. Even though the 7.3-liter V8 may get taxed more than the PowerStroke Diesel with thousands of pounds to haul or tow, it demonstrates real-world capability in towing for a gasoline engine, a leap over the standard 6.2-liter V8 that has 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque that only gets a 6-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the new 7.3-liter is the way to go for some “balance” in pricing if you don’t want to foot the note for the PowerStroke Diesel.
The ride quality of the F-250 is rugged and jiggly, which is expected due to the nature of the Super Duty line of trucks from Ford and with my test vehicle’s large LTX/AT2 275/65R20 Michelin tires wrapping darkened 20-inch wheels. When you opt for the Super Duty line, things are somewhat overbuilt to accommodate hauling and towing thousands of pounds and still deliver on a taste of comfort. Inside the long-wheelbase F-250 Crew Cab is a comfy interior that mimics the rest of the F-Series line for equipment offerings and easy, straightforward use of controls, including the latest Ford Sync 3 infotainment system fed through an 8-inch touchscreen.
Highlighted equipment on my F-250 Super Duty Lariat test vehicle includes leather-trimmed power-adjustable ventilated and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, automatic LED headlights with auto highbeam, LED fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, dampened and remote-open tailgate, remote start, 360-degree camera system, blindspot monitors, lane departure warning, and plentiful leg and shoulder room up front and out back.
The tall stature of the F-250 Super Duty Lariat will make climbing in nearly impossible without the use of its side steps. Additionally, the height of the F-250 Super Duty Lariat takes a bit to get used to for some when driving. Visibility for the driver in the F-250 is surprisingly good with wide power-folding and power-extending mirrors – and it helps that it has an attractive look on the outside and bright LED daytime running lights that are noticed by others. The new exterior colors and dark trim and wheels on my F-250 test vehicle all add to a unique appeal that can be had in the 2020 Super Duty line of Ford trucks, which is a necessary character to set some trucks apart from others as the F-Series continues to be the best-selling vehicle in the United States.
There’s no questioning the abilities of the F-Series Super Duty line of pickup trucks. The F-250 exhibits a nice starting point for such a class of pickup trucks from Ford, which continues to build upon the aluminum-themed build of a truly capable large truck. By offering a more-powerful V8 gasoline engine, the F-250 Super Duty appeals to a wider gamut of consumers, including tradesmen and all collar-classes. The only discernment I find in the F-250 Super Duty with the new 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine is the dismal fuel consumption that I averaged, which was about 13.3 mpg on the highway and around 12.1 mpg in the city. While the EPA doesn’t rate large and heavy trucks, it’s safe to assume that the F-250 7.3 Super Duty is quite the thirsty truck. However, thanks to a massively large fuel tank, upwards of 34 gallons, you can fill up and not worry much about the fuel consumption until you pay attention to the dollar amount that it takes to pump over 30 gallons of unleaded.
Pricing is also a questionable area where a new 2020 F-250 can rise quickly to reach over $84,000 for the Limited trim with the class-leading 1,050 lb-ft of torque from its 6.7-liter PowerStroke V8 Diesel. Still, if you want a basic Super Duty work truck without any of the frills, you can start at a price of just $34.035. My nicely-equipped 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat test vehicle comes to a respected price of $68,665, which is a sweet spot to balance equipment and capability for such a truck, in my opinion.