Full 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review
What's New for 2011
The Ford F-250 Super Duty has been redesigned for 2011, with new exterior styling, new gas and diesel engines, a six-speed automatic transmission, and many new standard and optional features.
The 2011 Ford F-250 represents the entry-level Super Duty, but don't think for a second that it is not up to very demanding tasks. The 2011 F-250 features new exterior styling to go along with its increased ability to get the job done. Behind the blocky grille is space for the choice of two new V8 engines -- a 6.2-liter gasoline mill or a stout 6.7-liter "PowerStroke" turbodiesel. The big diesel will certainly be the engine of choice for the majority of owners who plan on towing trailers or equipment, as it churns out an impressive 800 pound-feet of torque. This kicks the F-250's towing capacity up to 16,500 pounds for fifth-wheel applications.
We're also duly impressed by the Super Duty's flexibility that allows it to be configured for a variety of uses -- from a down-and-dirty work truck to a luxurious hauler. Also noteworthy is the increased fuel economy and lower emissions from the diesel power plant. Regardless of which route you choose, you'll also be treated to class-leading refinement, comfort and capabilities that set the benchmark for other manufacturers to follow.
Choosing a heavy-duty truck these days is tough, however, especially with the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD and GMC Sierra twins also receiving a redesign this year and the 2011 Ram 2500 still benefiting from its own update last year. You're certainly not going to go wrong with any of these trucks, so much of your choice will come down to brand preference and pricing. But we think quite highly of the 2011 Ford F-250 and certainly give a strong recommendation.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty is available as a regular cab, SuperCab (extended cab) or crew cab body style. The SuperCab features two smaller rear-opening rear doors, while the crew cab has four full-size doors. SuperCab and crew cab models are available with either a short (6.75-foot) or long (8-foot) bed, but the regular cab model is only available with the long bed.
Buyers may choose among four trim levels: the base XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. The Lariat is available on SuperCab and crew cab models, while the King Ranch is only offered with the crew cab. The XL is the workhorse of the stable, with standard equipment that includes 17-inch steel wheels, a black grille and bumpers, manual-telescoping trailer tow mirrors, air-conditioning, vinyl floor coverings and upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a two-speaker AM/FM radio.
Stepping up to the XLT will add a chrome grille and bumpers, heated outside mirrors, cast-aluminum wheels, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, an integrated trailer brake controller, a carpeted floor, cloth seats, lockable second-row under-seat storage with a power point and a four-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary audio jack.
The Lariat trim level adds foglights, power-telescoping mirrors, rear parking sensors, 18-inch wheels, a power rear sliding window, chrome tubular step bars, dual-zone automatic climate control and upgraded interior upholstery. Also standard is a 4.2-inch LCD multifunction screen, wood grain trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals, leather seats, a middle front seat that converts into a center console, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, the Ford Sync voice activation system and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio.
The range-topping King Ranch piles on power-folding mirrors, two-tone paint, a body-colored grille with chrome insert, unique exterior and interior badging, remote start, upgraded Chapparal leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, driver seat memory and a rearview camera.
Some features on the Lariat and King Ranch trims are available on the XL and XLT models. Other add-ons (depending on trim level) include 20-inch wheels, a stowable bed extender, a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), heavy-duty alternators, fifth-wheel mounting points (compatible with Reese hitch units), roof clearance lights, a spray-in bedliner, a sunroof, integrated accessory switches and a hard-drive-based navigation system.
The available Ford Work Solutions package is offered on XL and XLT models and adds an in-dash computer that is customizable to suit commercial users and fleets. Also available is the FX4 Off-Road package that includes an electronic locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, underbody skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers.
Powertrains and Performance
Buyers of the 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty are given the choice of either a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 or an optional 6.7-liter diesel-fueled V8. The gas engine produces 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. Early F-250 models with the diesel made 390 hp and 735 lb-ft; this was later upgraded to 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque. Ford says the upgrade can be applied to the early-built models for free at any Ford dealership. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and can be had in rear-wheel- or four-wheel-drive variants.
Properly equipped, the F-250 Super Duty can tow up to 14,000 pounds with a conventional trailer setup. When configured for fifth-wheel towing, that figure jumps to 16,500 pounds. Maximum payload capacity tops out at 4,050 pounds.
The 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, trailer sway control, hill launch assist, side and side curtain airbags and an SOS post-crash alert system. An integrated trailer brake controller is standard on XLT and higher models, while the Lariat trim level adds rear parking sensors and power-adjustable pedals. A rearview camera is optional on the XLT and Lariat and standard on the King Ranch model.
Interior Design and Special Features
Most of the 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty's interior carries over from the previous model, featuring a blocky, industrial theme. Compared to the offerings from Dodge and GM, the Ford's cabin is beginning to look a little long in the tooth. Hard plastics abound throughout the interior on lower trim levels, but are on par or better than other trucks in this segment. Opting for the Lariat or King Ranch models will add a decidedly upscale experience with rich leather and added amenities.
New for 2011, the F-250 adds a lockable bin under an available front center bench seat, which also folds to serve as an armrest. Another lockable bin is located under the rear seats that can easily accommodate longer items (like a hunting rifle) and also features a 12-volt power point. Another nifty addition is a 4.2-inch LCD multifunction display placed in the instrument panel. This display allows the driver to customize settings and relays trip computer, fuel economy, towing and off-road information.
We were already impressed with the 2010 Super Duty's ride and comfort, and the 2011 Ford F-250 has managed to impress us even further. Compared to the competition, the Ford Super Duty line is noticeably quieter, with wind and road noise pleasantly silenced. Even the trademark diesel clatter has been reduced to barely detectable levels. As with any heavy-duty pickup, the ride can be a bit jittery when unloaded, but the F-250 remains well-mannered over the rough stuff. The chief downside to the Ford's dynamics is the steering, which feels numb and is slow compared to its more agile rivals.
Towing is a big part of the Super Duty's capabilities, and the new 6.7-liter PowerStroke diesel will likely be the engine of choice. Even when lugging a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep grade, the diesel climbs with ease -- never laboring or hunting among gears. Drivers may also selectively lock out higher gears to ensure optimal towing prowess. Descending is also made simple thanks to a well-managed automatic transmission that seems to select just the right gear at the right time.