It's not very often that a new model comes on the market that's so vastly improved it raises the bar for the entire category. That's the case, however, with the debut of the all-new 2017 Ford F-250.
Along with the other two models that make up the Ford Super Duty truck lineup (namely the F-350 and F-450, both reviewed separately), this full-size pickup has been reworked from the ground up. The improvements to the F-250 range from beefier underpinnings and more powerful engines to roomier interiors that can be equipped with a host of convenience and technology features, all designed to make this heavy-duty pickup a good deal more capable.
Knowing these trucks will be doing some heavy lifting, Ford's engineers started by giving the F-250 substantially larger frame rails and crossmembers made out of 95 percent high-strength steel. To compensate for the extra bulk, the truck's body panels and pickup box are now made out of lightweight aluminum (just as the F-150 received recently) that Ford says is both more dent-resistant and makes the new truck hundreds of pounds lighter than previous generations.
Then there's the list of newly available technology, from bright LED headlights to adaptive cruise control with collision warning to a multicamera system that gives the driver a 360-degree view around the truck, something that's invaluable in maneuvering through tight spaces. A host of towing-related technologies have been added, too, including an improved blind-spot monitoring system that covers the length of the trailer, a pair of rearview cameras to aid trailer hookup, an integrated trailer tire-pressure monitoring system, and a backup camera that can be mounted on the tail of the trailer itself.
Of course, the F-250 has some equally burly competitors in the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD (and its GMC Sierra 2500HD sibling) and the Ram 2500 pickup. Though all offer serious hauling and towing capabilities and surprisingly civilized demeanors, the Ford Super Duty F-250 has enough new features to give it an edge in this hotly contested category.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Ford F-250 include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control and hill start assist. Front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats are also standard. Inflatable rear seat belts are offered as an option on all crew-cab models. Ford's post-crash alert system is standard, as is the automaker's MyKey feature that allows owners to set restrictions for the protection of younger drivers.
Rear parking sensors are standard on Lariat and higher trim levels, while a rearview camera is standard on XLT models and above. A surround-view camera system that provides a 360-degree view around the vehicle is part of the optional Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System. This option package can also be had with a separate camera meant to be mounted on the customer's trailer and viewed on the in-dash display.
Other options include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and coverage for trailers up to 33 feet, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, and lane departure warning and intervention. Available trailer tire-pressure monitoring reduces the chance of a trailer tire blowout.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Ford F-250 is a full-size, heavy-duty pickup available in five trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. It is also offered in regular cab, extended-cab (a.k.a. SuperCab) and crew-cab body styles and with a choice of 6.75- and 8-foot bed lengths.
Base XL models come standard with a 17-inch steel wheels, black grille and bumpers, front tow hooks, manual front locking hubs (four-wheel-drive models), auto on/off headlights, intermittent wipers, manually adjustable telescoping towing mirrors, a removable locking tailgate with tailgate lift assist, a 2.5-inch trailer hitch receiver (with 2-inch insert), air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, a 40/20/40-split front seat, a 60/40-split rear seat, vinyl floor covering, manual windows and door locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a dual glovebox, an overhead console with storage bins (extended and crew cabs only), a driver information display and a four-speaker AM/FM audio system (six speakers in extended- and crew-cab models).
Step up the the XLT and you get 18-inch alloy wheels, a chrome grille and front and rear bumpers, manually telescoping power-adjustable, heated mirrors with built-in turn signals, four locking cleats in the bed, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, carpeted floor covering, rear under-seat lockable storage, power windows and locks, rear privacy glass (extended- and crew-cab models only), cruise control, a rearview camera, an alarm system, the Sync voice-controlled infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display and USB charging port and an AM/FM/CD audio system with satellite radio.
Springing for the midrange Lariat trim level gets you bright-finished 18-inch alloy wheels, an electronic shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system (four-wheel-drive models only), foglights, power-folding, telescoping outside mirrors (plus driver-side auto-dimming and integrated spotlights), tubular side steps, a power sliding rear window, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, a rear-seat center armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-inch center touchscreen display, an upgraded Sync 3 voice-controlled infotainment system, two 110-volt household-style power outlets, and a premium Sony 10-speaker audio system with two USB charging ports.
The Western-themed King Ranch model, which is offered on crew-cab models only, adds unique alloy wheels, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a body-color grille, accent-color bumpers and lower body trim, LED box lighting, unique fender badges, keyless entry/start, remote start, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel, and a navigation system.
Choosing the top-of-the-line Platinum model, again offered on crew-cab models only, gets you 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive steering, LED headlights, LED foglights, power running boards, a remote tailgate release, a built-in tailgate step, LED taillights, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and multicontour front seats.
Many of the standard features offered on upper trim levels are offered as options on the rest of the lineup. Other noteworthy options include a power sunroof, a heavy-duty trailer tow package (offered only with the turbodiesel engine), a massive 48-gallon fuel tank, a fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch prep package, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, skid plates (four-wheel-drive models only), an Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System (a total of seven cameras), a separate rearview camera that can be mounted on a customer's trailer, trailer tire-pressure monitoring and a spray-in bedliner.
The 2017 Ford F-250 comes standard with the familiar 6.2-liter gasoline V8 that's been tweaked to up the output to 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Also available is a revised version of the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 that now puts out an impressive 440 hp and a whopping 925 lb-ft of torque.
Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is offered as an option.
Properly equipped, the F-250 is rated to tow conventional trailers up to 18,000 pounds and fifth-wheel/gooseneck trailers up to 18,600 pounds. A two-wheel-drive regular cab F-250 has a maximum payload of 4,200 pounds, and the popular crew-cab 4WD can carry a maximum of 3,450 pounds.
On the road, the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty's beefier frame and fine-tuned suspension combine to give it a more solid feeling. Handling feels more confident than the previous generation, and the ride quality is also improved.
The steering has the familiar slow and deliberate response with the standard set-up. The optional adaptive steering makes a distinct improvement by altering the steering ratio — i.e., how many turns of the wheel it takes to turn the vehicle — to quicken response and make the truck far more maneuverable in tight quarters. At highway speed and when in Tow/Haul mode, the system slows response to improve straight-line stability.
Performance from the 6.2-liter gasoline V8 is robust enough that it's a realistic choice for many applications. That said, it pales in comparison to the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8, which generates brisk unladen acceleration and moves heavy payloads or trailers without seeming to break a sweat thanks to its abundant torque.
One new feature, adaptive cruise control, takes much of the tedium out of long highway miles by maintaining a set distance from the vehicle ahead. What's noteworthy is that the system performs equally well when towing a trailer, even on downhill stretches, where downshifts from the transmission's Tow/Haul mode and automatic engine braking on diesel models work together to keep vehicle speed in check.
Leave the pavement behind and a properly equipped four-wheel-drive F-250 will impress with its off-road capabilities, even in situations that far exceed anything the majority of buyers will ever want to tackle.
Inside, the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty is noticeably roomier than its predecessor thanks to body shells shared with the automaker's recently revamped F-150 pickup. For example, extended-cab models gain 6 inches in length, while crew-cab models grow 3 inches longer compared to cabs of the outgoing models, making for more spacious interiors all around.
Seating comfort is especially good in upper trim levels with the 10-way-adjustable power seats. The available multicontour seats on top trims take things to the next level with heating, cooling and a built-in massage function. Not surprisingly the rear jump seats on extended-cab models are still best suited to kids, but the crew cab's rear bench now offers adults more room to stretch out.
As for the interior materials and amenities, they run the gamut from plain to posh. The XL is a no-nonsense work truck with vinyl floor coverings and upholstery and manual windows, door locks and mirrors, while the cabins of King Ranch and Platinum models are decked out in sumptuous leathers and sport all the comfort and convenience features you'd expect in a luxury car.
Topping the list of useful options is an Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System with seven cameras, including a grille-mounted unit with a 180-degree view that offers enhanced visibility when pulling out of a street or driveway with limited sight lines. The package also includes four cameras that give a top-down image of the truck and two separate rearview cameras designed to make hooking up a conventional or fifth-wheel/gooseneck trailer much less labor-intensive. A new Trailer Reverse Guidance System helps when backing up a conventional trailer and includes a jackknife warning and even on-screen directions on which way to turn the steering wheel when attempting to back up in a straight line.
Other neat tricks include a rear under-seat lockable storage area that folds flat when not in use, and a two-place cupholder in the center console that can be slid sideways to double its capacity.
Out back, both long- and short-bed models use aluminum that is 20 percent thicker than that of F-150 and backed by more substantial crossmembers to better withstand heavy use. Long-bed models also get a new 48-gallon fuel tank that will noticeably improve the truck's range between fill-ups.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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