Full 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013 the Ford F-250 Super Duty gets stronger brakes, adopts MyFord touch and adds the ultra-plush Platinum trim level to the lineup.
Like the athletes in the World's Strongest Man competition, the entries in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment are constantly trying to outdo their muscle-bound rivals. The 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty is right there in the thick of it with its impressive towing and payload capacities. Still, in this small yet highly competitive class, it's not enough to simply be able to drag your mobile condo from New York to Florida, so the F-250 Super Duty gets a few tweaks for this year. The latter include the adoption of MyFord Touch and the addition of the sumptuous Platinum trim level to the line.
The F-250 Super Duty represents a well-rounded package. Of course it has the requisite big rig styling complete with imposing chrome grille and football-sized Blue Oval badge. But this tough Ford truck has a gentler side with its quiet cabin that boasts comfortable seating and plenty of modern amenities to make life on the road easier. For the hard worker or commercial owner, there's also a long list of available options and packages that allow them to tailor the truck to their specific needs.
Still, the 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty has formidable rivals in the form of the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and Ram 2500. These competitors are all so closely matched and probably have a lot more capability than most folks would need, so a purchase decision could come down to just brand loyalty, styling preference or a certain feature's availability. That said, we think quite highly of the 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty and have no problem recommending it.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty is offered in two- or four-wheel drive with the choice of three cab styles: two-door regular cab, four-door SuperCab and four-door crew cab. The SuperCab has rear-hinged, access-style rear doors, while the crew cab has four full-size conventional-opening doors. SuperCab and crew cab models can be mated to either a standard (6.8-foot) or long (8-foot) cargo bed, but the regular cab model is only available with the long bed.
Buyers have a choice among five trim levels: base XL, midlevel XLT, upscale Lariat, luxury King Ranch and posh Platinum. The Lariat is available on SuperCab and crew cab models, while the King Ranch and Platinum are offered only in crew cab configuration.
The XL is the workhorse of the stable, with standard equipment that includes 17-inch steel wheels, a black grille and bumpers, a drop-in bedliner, 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 radio.
The XLT adds 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 upholstery, the Ford Sync voice activation system, lockable storage with a power point under the rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
The Lariat trim boasts foglights, power telescoping mirrors, rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power-sliding rear window, dual-zone automatic climate control and leather upholstery. Also standard is a large trip computer screen, wood grain trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals, leather seats, a middle front seat that converts into a center console, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a rearview camera, MyFord Touch and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio.
The King Ranch piles on power-folding and telescoping tow mirrors, two-tone paint, a body-colored grille with chrome insert, unique exterior and interior badging, remote start, a navigation system, unique leather upholstery and door trim, and driver seat memory.
The top-of-the-line Platinum includes all the Lariat features and adds more bling and luxury by way of more chrome exterior trim, 20-inch polished alloy wheels, unique wood-tone interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel.
Some of the upper trims' features are available on the lower trims. Other options (depending on trim level) include a stowable bed extender, a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), heavy-duty alternators, fifth-wheel/gooseneck mounting points, roof clearance lights, a spray-in bedliner, a sunroof and integrated accessory switches.
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 (4x4 models only) that includes an electronic locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty comes standard with a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of peak torque. The optional 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 is rated at 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of peak torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
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 16,800 pounds. Maximum payload capacity tops out at 4,240 pounds when properly equipped.
The 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist and side curtain airbags. 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 standard on the Lariat and above models.
Interior Design and Special Features
Compared to the Dodge Ram, the Ford Super Duty's interior is beginning to look a little long in the tooth. Hard plastics dominate the interior on lower trim levels, but are on par or better than other trucks in this segment. Opting for the Lariat will add a decidedly upscale experience with rich leather and added amenities, and the King Ranch and Platinum models take it up a few more notches.
Storage and utility options abound in the Ford F-250. There's a lockable bin under an available front center 40/20/40-split bench seat, which also folds to serve as an armrest. Another lockable bin that can easily accommodate longer items (like a hunting rifle) is located under the rear seats and also features a 12-volt power point to charge computers or cell phones. The available 40/console/40 seat can be configured to accommodate a laptop, hanging files and other office-style items. It also offers a 12-volt power point and 110-volt inverter for portable printers or other electronic accessories.
A large multifunction display in the instrument cluster that's standard on Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models allows the driver to customize settings and relays trip computer, fuel economy, towing and off-road information. Platinum models feature a storage area atop the dash that includes two USB ports, audio-video connections, an SD card slot and an additional 12-volt charging port. Another perk of the Platinum trim is MyFord Touch, which includes an 8-inch touchscreen that controls phone, climate control, entertainment and navigation features and also includes an expanded voice control vocabulary. This version of MyFord Touch also includes large physical buttons for the climate and audio controls that allow them to be operated by those wearing work gloves.
Compared to the competition, the 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty line is noticeably quieter, with wind and road noise pleasantly silenced. Even the diesel's customary clatter has been hushed 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 rough roads. The chief downside to the Ford's dynamics is the steering, which feels numb and instills less confidence (especially when towing) than its competitors.
Towing is a big part of the Super Duty's capabilities, and the 6.7-liter 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, and the six-speed automatic never labors, nor does it get caught hunting for the right gear. Drivers may selectively lock out unwanted higher gears to ensure optimal towing prowess, but the tow/haul mode does most of the work very well. Descending is also made simple thanks to the well-managed automatic transmission teaming up with the diesel's exhaust brake. However, we found the throttle a little reluctant to respond to small inputs while towing.