Full 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review
What's New for 2009
For 2009, the Ford F-250 Super Duty expands its appeal via new features such as power-telescoping tow mirrors and the Sync multimedia voice control system. Options include an in-dash computer with Internet access and a large, lockable compartment between the cab and bed, both geared toward those who work out of their truck. For more rugged types, there's the new Cabela's FX4 package, which pays homage to the popular outdoor enthusiasts outfitter with a fancy paint scheme, cabin upgrades and -- of course -- emblems.
A 1500-series pickup truck is usually more than adequate for the average person's needs. These trucks (traditionally known as the "half-ton") will easily handle hauling goods from the home improvement store, moving a kid to college and hitching up recreational stuff like motorcycles. For these folks' purposes, employing a heavy-duty pickup would be akin to using a hammer to set thumbtacks into the kitchen's corkboard.
But equestrians, owners of big boats and those who pull trailers larger than their time-share condos do need a hammer -- a big one. And for them, the 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty makes perfect sense. The available PowerStroke turbodiesel engine makes serious pulling power -- we're talking 650 pound-feet of torque -- which allows the F-250 Super Duty to tow up to 12,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Although it was just redesigned last year, the Ford F-250 Super Duty gets a handful of notable new features for 2009. Ford's Sync system allows voice command of your cell phone, the audio system and the navigation system. It can also provide weather, gas prices, sports scores and movie times via Sirius Travel Link. Ford's Work Solutions is essentially an optional onboard system geared toward folks (such as contractors) who work out of their trucks. It includes an in-dash computer with Internet access, a "mid-box" storage system (a lockable compartment located between the cab and bed) and the Tool Link system. The latter allows one to keep tabs on tools stored in the truck's box via radio-frequency tracking. Also available is a factory-applied, heavy-duty spray-in bedliner.
With its impressive work capacity, well-rounded ride and handling qualities and large array of convenience and luxury features, the 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty is bound to offer big-truck consumers the right tool for the most demanding jobs.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup comes in regular cab, SuperCab (extended cab) and crew cab body styles. The SuperCab has a pair of small rear-opening rear doors, while the crew cab has four conventional full-size doors. SuperCabs and crew cabs are available with a short (6.75-foot) or long (8-foot) bed; regular cabs are long bed only.
Four trim levels are offered: base XL, midlevel XLT, off-road-oriented FX4 (4WD only) and luxurious Lariat. Regular cabs are available only in XL and XLT forms.
The XL is meant for those who just need a basic work truck. It comes standard with air-conditioning, plain vinyl upholstery, an AM/FM radio, 17-inch wheels and manual trailer-tow mirrors. The XLT adds chrome wheels, keyless entry, power and heated trailer tow mirrors, an integrated trailer brake controller, privacy glass, cloth upholstery, an auxiliary audio jack, a 40/20/40 front bench, a CD player, cruise control and full power accessories.
The FX4 provides upgraded off-road hardware including skid plates, heavy-duty shock absorbers, a limited-slip rear axle and a manual-shift transfer case. It also adds front bucket seats, a power driver seat, power telescoping and folding mirrors and satellite radio. High-line Lariats come with luxuries like 18-inch alloy wheels, running boards, a power-sliding rear window, leather upholstery, dual power and heated front seats (power driver seat only on regular cab), the Sync multimedia voice-control system and dual-zone automatic climate control. Much of the Lariat's extra equipment can be added to the FX4 via optional packages.
Option highlights (depending on trim level) include reverse park assist, a rearview-mirror-mounted back-up camera display, a sunroof, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system. In addition, there are several packages to further fine-tune the F-250 Super Duty to one's needs. The XLT sport package includes color-matched bumpers and grille, foglamps, chrome step bars and privacy glass. The new Cabela's package is inspired by the largest outfitter for outdoor enthusiasts and features unique two-tone color and interior trim schemes. The King Ranch package similarly provides two-tone paint but goes further uptown with 20-inch alloy wheels, fancy leather seating and trim inspired by a western saddle, and a premium audio system. There's also the Harley-Davidson package with a similar level of interior and exterior upgrades.
Highly recommended for those who tow is the TowCommand option, which seamlessly integrates the control of the trailer brakes with those on the truck. Optional on all F-250 Super Duty trims is a clever flip-down tailgate step that hides within the tailgate when stowed.
Powertrains and Performance
There are three engine choices for the 2009 Ford F-250 Super Duty: the standard 5.4-liter gasoline V8 (300 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque); an optional 6.8-liter V10 (362 hp and 457 lb-ft); and the most popular choice (and the one recommended for those who do serious hauling and towing), the available 6.4-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8, which makes 350 hp and 650 lb-ft. Regardless of engine choice, buyers have a choice of transmission: a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic and either two- or four-wheel drive.
Properly equipped, an F-250 Super Duty can tow up to 12,500 pounds and handle a 3,200-pound payload.
Antilock disc brakes are standard, but neither side- nor side curtain airbags are available. Power-adjustable pedals are optional on XLT and Lariat models (equipped with the automatic transmission), as are rear parking sensors.
Interior Design and Special Features
A rugged, industrial theme marks the cabin, and materials quality is good. Chrome accents surround the gauges and air vents, while the center stack puts controls within easy reach. Dual door pockets and a massive center console/armrest provide generous in-cabin storage -- in fact, the center console box is big enough to accommodate a laptop and/or hanging files. In crew cabs, folding the rear seats up reveals a flip-out utility tray that keeps the load floor flat.
Though we've driven the Ford F-450 and come away impressed with its easy driving and riding demeanor, we've yet to sample the 2009 Ford F-250. Check back later for specific F-250 commentary.