The Ford F-450 Super Duty returns for 2014 with no major changes.
While a lot of people continue to drive smaller pickups as a lifestyle statement, it's a pretty safe bet that anyone you spot behind the wheel of a 2014 Ford F-450 Super Duty means business.
That's because this full-size truck is all about getting the job done, whether it's shuttling a pallet-load of concrete blocks to a job site or pulling a supersize fifth-wheel camping trailer. With the ability to tow up to 24,700 pounds when fitted with a fifth-wheel hitch (18,500 pounds with a bumper hitch) and more than two tons of payload capacity, this big boy will haul just about anything most folks are ever likely to want hauled.
Unlike lesser members of Ford's Super Duty truck family, the F-450 is offered in just one body style and one powertrain: a four-door crew cab with an 8-foot bed and a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 mated to a six-speed automatic and four-wheel drive. On the upside, that means that buyers need only decide which trim level suits their needs, be it a no-nonsense work truck or a gussied-up cowboy cruiser. The selection of available comfort and convenience features is just as broad, ranging from practical items such as lockable storage compartments to nice-to-have extras like heated and ventilated front seats.
While there's no arguing the 2014 F-450's capabilities, it will be worth your time to check out the latest incarnation of the 2014 Ram 3500 pickup. Various revisions this year result in a mind-blowing 30,000-pound max tow capacity, and that's on top of the truck's already superior interior design. Still, although it may no longer lead the heavy-duty pack in terms of sheer numbers, the 2014 Ford F-450 remains a strong contender for anyone with a big job to do.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Ford F-450 Super Duty is offered in just one configuration: a four-door crew cab with an 8-foot cargo bed and dual rear wheels, powered by a 6.7-liter turbodiesel engine and four-wheel drive. There are five trim levels available: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum.
Standard equipment on the XL base model includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a black grille and bumpers, roof clearance lights, manual-telescoping trailer-tow mirrors, running boards, air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery and floor coverings, a 40/20/40-split front bench, a 60/40-split-folding rear bench seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a two-speaker AM/FM radio.
Stepping up to the XLT gets you a chrome grille and bumpers; heated outside mirrors; deep-tinted rear privacy glass, keyless entry; cloth upholstery; a carpeted floor, lockable second-row underseat storage with a power outlet; an integrated trailer-brake controller; cruise control; full power accessories; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; the Ford Sync voice activation system; and a four-speaker sound system with CD player, auxiliary audio input jack and USB interface.
The Lariat trim level adds foglights, power-folding and telescoping tow mirrors, rear parking sensors, chrome tubular step bars, a power rear sliding window with defrost, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a center console, power-adjustable pedals, wood-grain trim and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic upgrades include a 4.2-inch multifunction screen, the MyFordTouch interface with an 8-inch touchscreen display, upgraded Sync functionality, a rearview camera, a 110-volt household-style power outlet and a nine-speaker premium Sony audio system with satellite radio.
The King Ranch model ups the ante with two-tone paint, a body-color grille with chrome insert, lighted running boards, unique exterior and interior badging, remote start, exclusive leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory settings and a navigation system.
The top-of-the-line Platinum includes all of the Lariat's goodies, plus additional chrome exterior trim, a tailgate assist step, upgraded leather upholstery, unique wood-tone interior trim and a heated steering wheel.
Some of the upper trim levels' standard features are available on lower trims as options. Other add-ons (depending on trim level) include a stowable bed extender, different axle ratios, a transmission power take-off (for powering such accessories as snow plows), fifth-wheel mounting points (compatible with Reese hitch units), a drop-in or spray-in bedliner, a sunroof and integrated accessory switches.
The available Ford Work Solutions package is offered and adds an in-dash computer that is customizable to suit commercial users and fleets. Other work-related options include snow plow and camper prep packages and the FX4 Off-Road package, which provides all-terrain tires, skid plates, a locking rear differential and Rancho shock absorbers.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Ford F-450 is powered by a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 engine that produces a robust 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of peak torque. The F-450 also features engine exhaust braking to help maintain control on downhill grades while towing.
A six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive are standard. Properly equipped, the F-450 Super Duty can tow up to 18,500 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch. When configured for fifth-wheel towing, this figure increases to 24,700 pounds. Maximum payload capacity is a stout 5,880 pounds.
The 2014 Ford F-450 Super Duty comes standard with antilock brakes, trailer sway control, hill start assist, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and an SOS post-crash alert system. Stability control isn't available.
Interior Design and Special Features
One look at the range of trim levels offered by the 2014 Ford F-450 will erase all notions of heavy-duty pickups being bare-bones workhorses. While the XL base model's no-frills interior matches the stereotype with its vinyl seats, bare floors, hard plastics and sad little two-speaker AM/FM radio, upper trim levels are another story altogether.
Though the F-450's cabin looks less stylish than those found in competitors like the recently updated Ram 3500, the atmosphere in upper trim levels can be quite upscale with quality leather upholstery and attractive simulated-wood trim. In fact, some of the features that come standard in the King Ranch and Platinum models are the stuff of which premium sedans are made.
At its core, however, the F-450 is all about getting the job done, and that explains the thought that went into interior details such as lockable storage bins, conveniently placed outlets for charging cell phones and other electronics, and the available front seat console designed to hold laptop computers and hanging files.
Available technology like Ford's Sync system, which allows the driver to make calls or play music from a compatible smartphone using voice commands, complements these low-tech features by making the hours spent behind the steering wheel more productive and enjoyable. The premium Sync system with MyFord Touch that's standard on the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models takes things to the next level with customizable color displays, including a large 8-inch touchscreen in the dash, and added capabilities like the ability to receive and respond to text messages without taking your eyes off the road. Redundant knobs and buttons for the climate control and audio systems make it easy to access these functions even while wearing work gloves.
When there's heavy lifting to be done, the 2014 Ford F-450 casts an imposing shadow. At nearly 22 feet long and 9 feet wide, this big pickup can be a handful in tight quarters like crowded urban streets or parking lots. A wider track compared to Ford's other Super Duty models also means that turning around will require some extra room.
On the road, the F-450's steering feels noticeably more numb than that of its competitors. Ride quality is surprisingly decent, but as with all heavy-duty pickups the ride feels a little more skittish when running without a load.
As far as performance goes, the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 engine under the hood has power to spare even when towing a good-sized trailer up a steep grade. The six-speed automatic also does its part by always seeming to be able to find and hold the right gear for the situation at hand. The transmission's standard Tow/Haul mode gives the driver an extra measure of control when climbing or descending hills, backed up on downhill sections by the F-450's standard exhaust brake.
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