Full 2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty Review
What's New for 2015
The 2015 Ford F-450 gets an upgraded engine with an additional 40 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque, along with chassis upgrades such as new front springs, which allow it to tow more than 30,000 pounds. Also added are standard 19.5-inch wheels.
If you're interested in a heavy-duty truck it's likely because of necessity rather than preference. With a heavy-duty truck like the 2015 Ford F-450, you've probably got much bigger tasks planned than hauling a small load of lumber or helping a friend pick up a new couch. With those super-heavy loads in mind, Ford has given the granddaddy of its Super Duty trucks added power and an upgraded the chassis this year, allowing it to pull more than ever before.
From a towing perspective, the changes to the 2015 Ford F-450 are massive. It comes with just one powertrain, the highly capable 6.7-liter diesel V8 that's been significantly revised to produce 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque (up from 400 and 800, respectfully). Ford has also upgraded the wheels, steering, suspension and fifth-wheel gooseneck to increase towing power. When properly equipped, the F-450 can now tow a colossal 31,200 pounds ? 6,500 more than last year's model.
Thanks to power and towing capability increases, there aren't any non-commercial vehicles out there that can tow as much as the Ford F-450, but that may not be your only concern. The closest rival to the F-450 is the Ram 3500. It boasts a similarly mind-blowing 30,000-pound max towing capacity and as an added bonus, a more comfortable ride and a nicer interior. The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD maxes out at a relatively measly 23,200 pounds, but if you aren't pulling that much weight the Chevy is still an excellent option. Also, the Ram and Chevy both come in multiple body styles, while the F-450 is only available in one configuration: a four-door crew cab with an 8-foot cargo bed and dual rear wheels.
While competitors may offer a few advantages over the Ford F-450, there's no denying the numbers. Yet, with some nice interior touches on upper trim levels, though, the F-450 is more than just a tow rating and is worthy of any heavy-duty truck shopper's attention.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 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 19.5-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential, a black grille and bumpers, roof clearance lights, manual-telescoping trailer-tow mirrors, running boards, a locking tailgate, 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 with an integrated blind spot mirror, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, keyless entry, an integrated trailer brake controller, padded door armrests, a middle front seat that converts into a center console, a carpeted floor, cloth upholstery, the Ford Sync voice command system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, lockable storage with a power point under the rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
The Lariat trim comes with foglights, chrome running boards, power telescoping and folding mirrors, body-color door handles, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, a power-sliding rear window with defrost, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), power-adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 4.2-inch color multifunction display, wood-tone interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, upgraded Sync functionality, a rearview camera and an eight-speaker audio system. In crew cab configuration, the Lariat gets a premium Sony audio system.
The two upper trims include many of the Lariat's optional items and bolsters them with special design elements. As such, the King Ranch adds two-tone paint, a body-color grille with chrome insert, unique trim and color schemes, remote start, a navigation system, special leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front bucket seats with a fixed center console and driver memory settings, and the Sony audio system.
The top-of-the-line Platinum is equipped similarly to the King Ranch, but features a significantly different design aesthetic inside and out, while adding 20-inch polished alloy wheels, a tailgate assist step, unique wood-tone interior trim, upgraded leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel.
Many of the features that are standard on upper trims levels such as navigation and the tailgate assist step are available as options on lower trims. Other options (depending on trim level) include different axle ratios, a stowable bed extender, a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), heavy-duty alternators, fifth-wheel/gooseneck mounting points, drop-in or spray-in bedliners, a sunroof and integrated accessory switches.
The available Ford Work Solutions package adds an in-dash computer that's customizable to suit commercial users and fleets. Also available is the FX4 Off-Road package (4WD models only), which includes an electronic locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Ford F-450 is powered by a turbocharged 6.7-liter diesel V8 engine that produces 440 hp and 860 lb-ft 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, limited-slip differential and four-wheel drive are standard. Properly equipped, the F-450 Super Duty can tow up to 19,000 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch. When configured for fifth-wheel towing, this figure increases to 31,200 pounds. When properly equipped, max payload for the F-450 is 7,260 pounds.
The 2015 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.
In Edmunds testing, the F-450 came to a stop from 60 mph in 139 feet, which is typical for such a big, heavy vehicle.
Interior Design and Special Features
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, the upper trim levels are another story altogether. The overall style and materials quality may not match a Ram 3500, but the F-450, especially in King Ranch and Platinum guises, boasts quality leather, abundant luxury features like ventilated seats and high-tech equipment like the MyFord Touch electronics interface.
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.
On the Lariat trim and higher, there is a large multifunction display in the instrument cluster that allows the driver to customize settings, and relays trip computer, fuel economy, towing and off-road information. They also get the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which includes two USB ports, an SD card slot and an 8-inch touchscreen that controls phone, climate control, entertainment and navigation features. This version of MyFord Touch also incorporates large physical buttons for the climate and audio controls that allow them to be operated by those wearing work gloves.
If you have a lot to tow, the 2015 Ford F-450 is surely up to the task but it 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.
We haven't driven the F-450 with the increased horsepower and updated chassis, but in the past we found the six-speed automatic to be very competent. It is 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.