By Robert Nichols
Trucks have been steadily getting larger and larger. This trend seems a bit silly in the ½ ton market wherein what is essentially a work vehicle has become a more macho replacement for the minivan. Where this seemingly ridiculous size does make sense is in the ¾ – 1 ton market. These are the real work trucks found at jobsites throughout Canada. Their bulk makes it possible to haul heavy loads and tow even heavier equipment.
I spent a week familiarising myself with the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat. In keeping with the current hormone induced growth this truck is a monster. The new Quad-beam LED headlights ($1200) are huge and bookend a bold chrome grille so large it wouldn’t look out of place on a straight-truck. My tester came with a massively powerful 6.7L Power stroke V8 Turbo-Diesel engine that develops more than enough torque to alter the earth’s rotation. In Lariat trim this “work” truck surprised me with a near luxury interior and a generous amount of tech.
When it came time for me too look under the hood I was taken aback by the fact I would need a stool to check the oil. The hood is chest level on me, for reference sake I am over 6’ tall. Thankfully Ford supplied this tester with both the power running boards ($950 of money well spent) and the tailgate step. Without the running boards it would be one giant step up to climb in. Have you ever watched an infant trying to get onto a couch? This is how I felt trying to get into the bed without the tailgate step.
Ground clearance is a must have on working trucks and the F-250 offers up 208mm, and when that proves to be insufficient the optional FX4 off-road package($450) protects the under carriage with skid plates on the fuel tank and transfer case. This package adds Rancho brand shocks and on single rear wheel models hill descent control as well.
The fully loaded example I drove came with all the flash from the roof mounted clearance lights ($100), the chrome package ($1350), the 20” aluminum wheels ($1490) as well as some heavy duty work ready options like the wheel well liner, mud-flaps and splash guards ($425), the mandatory spray-in bed-liner ($550),and the 5th wheel prep kit ($380).
Subtlety is not in the Super duty vernacular. With a wheelbase of 4059mm and an overall as spec’d length of 6350mm the F-250 proves that bigger is better.
I have driven the F-150 in Platinum trim and it has everything one would want in any family SUV or sedan. To my surprise so does theF-250 work horse. The first thing you cannot help but notice is the full glass roof which makes the massive space seem infinite. This comes as part of the Lariat package ($5675) which adds a navigation system, adaptive steering, lane keeping alert, remote start and the afore mentioned tailgate step. The premium accoutrements continue with heated and cooled leather seating, a Sony sourced audio system, heated steering wheel, dual zone climate and a centre console safe. Rear seat passengers will enjoy limo like leg room while front seat occupants will take in the commanding view ahead, or in any direction they choose to look.
On the tech front the new F-250 delivers and then some. The centre stack controls are large, and easy to use even with gloved hands. The vastly improved SYNC3 with voice recognition allows you to keep your eyes on the road instead of looking across the vast dash as you lean just a little further to select a new channel. It offers all of the latest in safety equipment with BLIS (blind spot and cross traffic alerts-$650). This system can be programmed to include the length of your trailer. If you plan on a lot of trailering you may want to look into the available trailer reverse guidance feature which uses cameras in the tailgate and side view mirrors which take into account to make parking a one and done affair.
The cabin offers 803L of cargo behind the front row. The best part is the floor is flat when the rear seats are flipped up. The space below the rear seats can also be secured by locking the seats down. Not an inch of wasted space can be found, with numerous cubbies and holders all throughout.
On the Road
The height which can make getting in and out a bit tricky has one definite advantage, outward visibility. You will be looking down on other traffic; the view ahead seems endless and gives you a sense of invincibility. The seating is fantastic, if your idea of vacation is pulling a large camping trailer across the country this might be the truck for you. The whole experience is effortless and that came as a bit of a shock if I am honest. The steering is light and direct without being flimsy or vague; bumps and ruts or even ditches will be handled with ease. There is some roughness associated with a heavy duty suspension, but when the truck is loaded down this will settle nicely. I managed to parallel park this behemoth without breaking a sweat because of the numerous cameras keeping an eye on anything in immediate danger of being flattened and despite a rather large diesel power-plant I could carry on a conversation never having to adjust my volume.
Speaking of diesel power it is abundant. We will get to figures in a moment, but on the road the truck delivers its torque in a very smooth manner. The shifts while accelerating normally come quickly happening below 2,000 rpm. At 100 km/h the engine taps along happily barely breaching 1,200 rpm. If you need to pass be assured you will not get caught out as a tsunami of torque rushes forward.
Under the Hood
If you are thinking of buying this truck it comes with your choice of two engines. Not tested is the 6.2L V8 gasoline unit that develops 385hp @ 5,750rpm and 430 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm. That’s cute! When there is a job to be done you need POWER. The 6.7L PowerStroke Diesel that’s tested here conjures up 440 hp @ 2,800 rpm and an astonishing 925 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm. That is some serious grunt. Need to pull a backhoe, bulldozer, or a building? No problem.
As impressive as those figure are we should compare the equivalent offerings from the competition. The only companies who offer this size of truck are the big three, Ford, GMC and Ram; at least that we can buy in Canada anyway. The GMC Sierra 2500 equipped with the 6.6L Duramax Diesel is good for 445 hp @ 2,800 rpm and an impressive 910 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm. A Ram with a 6.7L Cummins Diesel makes 370 hp @ 2,800 and 800 lb-ft @ 1.600 rpm. If you want bragging rights than your choice is obvious. The Ford and GMC are so close that personal preferences will likely be the determining factor.
There is no gentle way to go about this so I will be blunt. As tested this 2017 F-250 Super Duty Lariat has a price of $94,064. I was floored too due to the fact that this is not the top trim level. To be fair we need to bear in mind there is some $28,000 in options rolled into that sticker. A base model with the diesel, crew cab and 4X4 is $64,249 before fees and taxes. Given the type of work that this truck can handle I would expect a purely work spec’d unit to be a relative bargain when you consider an F-150 can easily approach the $70,000 mark.
The F-250 with its huge flat grille and massive weight and diesel returned a week’s end average of 13.4L/100km. My driving style was as fuel efficient as I could possibly muster and at no point did I haul or tow anything.
The 2017 F-250 Diesel offers the most power in the segment. By refining the software, replacing the injectors and mounting an even larger turbo this large aluminum bodied behemoth will surprise in many ways. The power is immense and endless; unburdened acceleration is quick, and not in a relative way. This truck moves! Unlike any diesel before it the new PowerStroke goes about its business in a smooth and quiet way that may put off those looking to fulfill dreams of driving a big-rig. The amount of available tech is impressive and the interior refinements can transform a hardworking utilitarian unit into a near luxury family hauler.
Base Price $64,249
As Tested Price $94,064
- Quiet yet hugely powerful diesel
- Abundance of easy to use technology
- Options galore
- Can get expensive
- Massive size can make moving around town and finding parking a chore
- GMC Sierra 2500HD
- RAM 2500
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500