2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review
Today's heavy-duty trucks are ever more capable and civil. The 2020 Ford F-250 is a perfect example. It's loaded with the kinds of connected technology, comfort and driver assistance features more common to light-duty pickups, blurring the conventional lines between work truck and family truck.
Offering more capability than the light-duty F-150 and more affordable pricing than the F-350 or F-450 Super Duty trucks, the Ford F-250 combines impressive utility with everyday usability. This year's truck has new engine and transmission combos that now provide up to 20,000 pounds of conventional trailer towing capacity. Then you have a cab full of tech comforts, such as voice-controlled infotainment and Wi-Fi hotspot, available leather interiors, even cooled front seats, and ambient lighting. One thing's for sure: Today's heavy-duty truck is no longer limited to the job site.
The Super Duty also gets a new off-road package package called the Tremor, which is a step up from the existing FX4 package. The Tremor package upgrades start with a 2-inch front lift and shorter airdam, followed by 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires. It also includes a retuned suspension, upgraded shock absorbers, a locking rear differential, a limited-slip front differential, a rock-crawl mode, and low-speed cruise control. The skid plates from the FX4 package are also included.
As heavy-duty trucks drift more into the mainstream, so too does the automaker's interest in keeping its trucks competitive. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and GMC Sierra 2500HD twins have been redesigned for 2020, and Ram redid its 2500 just last year. Even Nissan is looking to win you over with its newly redesigned Titan XD. But even though the Ford F-250 Super Duty isn't the freshest choice, it remains a compelling pick if you want a truck that can do just about anything.
The Ford F-250 Super Duty has an appropriately brawny look for a heavy-duty pickup, and Ford backs it up with strong towing and hauling performance. Inside, the crew cab treats occupants to plenty of space and decent amenities, but Ram still leads by a large margin here.
How does the F-250 Super Duty drive?
Our F-250 crew-cab test truck had the optional diesel engine. We found that it provides strong and smooth acceleration in just about any situation. There's a tiny bit of lag before the truck gets going, but the new 10-speed transmission shifts quickly.
Braking performance is disappointing, however. The brakes feel reasonably capable in typical conditions, but our truck took 153 feet to execute a panic stop from 60 mph, which is longer than average for the segment. The steering feels somewhat numb and inert, but the truck does track straight on the open road. This big Ford feels somewhat maneuverable, but there's no hiding its sheer bulk.
How comfortable is the F-250 Super Duty?
If you have any heavy-duty pickup experience at all, the F-250 will seem sufficiently comfortable. It's not a benchmark by any means, but it does a decent job of keeping occupants happy. It's fairly quiet when it comes to wind and road noise, and the air-conditioning system has no trouble keeping the cabin cool.
It's hard to fault an F-250 for riding firmly when it's not carrying any load. But even though the overall feeling is agreeable enough, it's worth noting that the Ram 2500 is smoother-riding. The F-250's seats are what we're most lukewarm about. They're nicely adjustable and spacious, but the cushions — particularly the seat bottoms — feel flat and don't conform to an occupant's shape very well.
How’s the interior?
No one should be surprised that it takes a big step up to get into this truck. It's tall even for its class. But unfortunately, our test truck didn't come with the relatively inexpensive option of side steps. For an F-250, we'd say those are a must-have.
Inside, there's more than enough space for everyone, and it's easy to fine-tune the positioning of the driver's seat and steering wheel to your liking. All of the relevant controls are within reach and operate as you'd expect them to. As for visibility, the F-250 gives you nice views out thanks to its big windows. All the same, we recommend opting for rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
How’s the tech?
Ford's audio and navigation system is built around the Sync 3 interface. The interface is proven and it works, but it no longer stands out. It's missing recent competitor innovations in screen size and menu control. That said, this system does well when it comes to voice recognition support and smartphone integration.
Safety equipment in the F-250 has caught up with most competitors thanks to features such as lane departure warning for the truck and attached trailer, a blind-spot monitor with trailer coverage, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
How’s the storage?
The F-250 offers strong towing and hauling capability. Its aluminum body saves weight, and the savings amount to extra payload capacity. In this class, it's all about the numbers, and the Ford can nearly match the Ram 2500 in most cases. Everyday loading, however, is hampered by the bed's tall sides.
Inside, both cargo space in the back half of the crew cab and storage for personal items are quite generous. And while toting kids isn't the first thing you think about when buying a truck, the big crew cab makes it easy to fit car seats of any size. (Getting the kids up and in is another matter.)
How economical is the F-250 Super Duty?
The fuel economy of heavy-duty pickups like the Ford F-250 is a mystery because this class of trucks is exempt from official labeling and testing. We did record consumption over 800 miles of driving, though, and it averaged 16.5 mpg over that distance. Our best tank on a mostly highway route was 18.9 mpg — a 2-mpg bump over the last F-250 we tested with the six-speed automatic.
Is the F-250 Super Duty a good value?
The heavy-duty pickup arms race is in full swing. This updated 2020 F-250 has done quite a bit to catch up, but it might not be enough. Sure, there's the new 10-speed transmission and more power, but the interior trimmings are still average. Ford's warranty coverage is average, though the diesel engine's coverage lasts for 100,000 miles instead of the 60,000 you get with the gas V8.
All heavy-duty pickups are big, but even among them the Ford F-250 makes a statement. It knows what it is, and the styling is hardly subtle. The driving experience matches that persona. It's no joy to drive, but neither is it a chore. Fun doesn't enter into it. The F-250 is built to work and to do a job, and it delivers on that promise.
Which F-250 Super Duty does Edmunds recommend?
Buying a heavy-duty pickup comes down to finding the features that best suit your work or family life or both. But the XLT is a good place to start, offering a respectable list of standard features and plenty of options to suit specific needs. The XLT is also available in pretty much every bed and cab configuration.
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Ford F-250 Super Duty models
The 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty is a full-size, heavy-duty pickup available in six trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. It can be configured as a regular cab, an extended cab (aka SuperCab), or a crew cab with either a 6.8- or an 8.2-foot bed length.