2013 Ford F-450 DRW CrewCab Lariat (6.7L V8 Turbo Diesel 4x4 6-speed Automatic 8.2 ft. Bed)
Driven On 11/26/2013
This humongous Ford F-450 DRW (Dual Rear Wheels, or "Dually" as it's known) lets us play with trucks as adults. It was designed for towing 18,000-plus-pound trailers, yet it has all the comfort features for everyday use. As fun and capable as this big Ford is, rival trucks from GM and Ram are more polished overall.
PerformanceFord's most recent 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 is a sweetheart, putting out 400 super-smooth horsepower. It's impressively quick for such a large beast, and it's perfectly easy to drive, even around town. Oddly, the Ram 3500 has a better tow rating.
Short gearing and a low-revving turbodiesel mean the 6-speed automatic shifts early and often. With 800 lb-ft of torque and four rear wheels, it hits 60 mph in 8.6 sec. Engine gives a nice diesel snarl.
The brakes worked well at the track, hauling this big rig down from 60 mph in 139 feet, with good resistance to fade. Around town the brakes were a bit spongy and underpowered, a trait towing-focused trucks can show.
Better feel than Super Dutys we've tested in the past, although effort is still on the light side. The steering is slow, and the long wheelbase leads to busy hands. Turning radius is good, though.
The dual rear wheels aid stability. The stiffly-sprung suspension allows minimal body roll, but there's also minimal grip from the tires. The non-independent suspension is easily upset by mid-corner bumps.
Always plenty of smooth power from the big turbodiesel engine. The 6-speed automatic isn't the smoothest upshifter ever, but it's decent. Easy to see out of, plus a backup camera. Seats are comfy.
The F450 Dually can tow 18,500 pounds with a hitch, or 24,700 with a fifth wheel. But the Ram 3500 DRW can tow up to 29,000 pounds with a fifth wheel.
The 4x4 system on this truck is intended for fire roads, snow or muddy ranch work. This is too big of a truck to even think about any kind of Jeep-like bouldering.
ComfortBecause this truck is intended for towing trailers, its stiff suspension gives a particularly jiggly ride. The plush seats go a ways toward curbing this. Most surprising was the complete lack of road noise, despite the huge truck tires.
Well-padded leather seats with nicely-cushioned armrests on doors and center console. These seats are needed to counteract the jiggly ride. Rear outboard seats are plenty comfy, although seatbacks don't recline.
All pickups suffer from the dreaded cement-slab freeway jiggle, but it can get extra annoying in this ultra-stiff, ready-for-towing Dually model. Your passengers will notice every bump of any consequence.
There's some impressive sound deadening in this F-450, because even with these truck tires, road noise is nearly zero. Wind noise is also minimal, but there's always at least some hint of diesel engine rattle.
InteriorAlthough the Ford's interior looks a bit dated and lacks the classy materials of its GM and Ram competitors, there's no denying this thing has a ton of room inside. Surprisingly, it doesn't ride that high, so it's easy to get in/out of.
Good driving position. Controls are mostly easy to use, though radio tuning knob is a reach for the driver. Quick phone pairing. USB ports on top of dash seem like an afterthought.
For a full-size pickup, this thing is easy to get in/out of front and rear, thanks to running boards and perfectly-placed grab handles. And this F-450 actually has a lower height than some 350s/3500s.
Gobs of front headroom, elbow room and legroom. The rear seat has even more headroom than up front, plus plenty of knee room. Rear foot space slightly compromised by front seat rails.
Good front views, plus super-tall front and rear side windows. Huge mirrors with power extending abilities for towing. Standard rearview camera on the Lariat makes parking this long-bed truck pretty easy.
Lots of storage. The multi-level front door pockets are narrow but long. Eight cupholders total, front ones hold bottles well. Handy bin for rear seats. Bed is huge, can haul dirtbikes with tailgate up.
ValueThere's no getting around the fact this F-450 is expensive. Do ranchers really spend nearly $70,000 on a work truck? Make sure you consider the Ram 3500 DRW turbodiesel, which has a nicer interior and a higher tow rating.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The quality and materials in/on this truck are decent, but not near-$70,000 decent. Some interior trim panels feel dated compared to the GM and Ram trucks. Too much hard plastic.
At the F-450 Lariat Platinum's $67,550 base price, it comes with a power sliding rear window, running boards, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, navigation and a backup camera.
Options such as a spray-in bedliner, dual alternators, fifth-wheel hitch prep and skidplates ran the as-tested price to $69,430. This truck is almost too nice to use for everyday work.
Big diesel trucks like this F-450 get roughly the same fuel mileage no matter what you're doing with them. We averaged 13.0 mpg overall, including 13.7 mpg on our 116-mile evaluation loop.
The basic warranty is good for 3 years/36,000 miles. The powertrain is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles, but that lags behind the 100,000-mile coverage offered by GM and Ram.
You get roadside assistance for 5 years/60,000 miles, but again, GM and Ram offer it for 100,000 miles.
Fun To DriveBig trucks can be fun to drive, and there's no better example than this F-450 Crew Cab Dually turbodiesel. It's huge. The engine is smooth, yet it can literally pull stumps out of the ground. You feel like nothing on the road can stop you.
You're living the truck life. Dial back the aggression, revel in the high driving position and comfortable seats, let the big turbodiesel just idle along. And crank up the country music.
Instead of garnering attention for being smokey and clattery, modern turbodiesel trucks are ultra-smooth and mega powerful. Acceleration is effortless. The dual rear wheel setup is uncommon.
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