Used 1997 Ford F-250 Extended Cab Review

Edmunds expert review




What's new for 1997

Ford's F-250 joins the F-150 this year in a dramatic redesign. The new model has swoopy styling, a greatly improved interior, a much more rigid chassis, and carlike handling.

Vehicle overview

For nearly two decades, the Ford F-Series has been the best selling pickup truck in the United States. For more than half that period of time, it's been the best selling vehicle, period. Understandably, Ford execs were a bit hesitant to completely overhaul their Golden Child. After all, the F-Series, which hadn't seen substantial engineering improvements since 1980, seemed to be selling just fine as it was. Reality was, though, that deadlines for some stringent truck standards were approaching fast, and the F-Series was getting long in the tooth. The redesign was approved.

Five million development miles later, Ford introduced a radically new F-150 in January 1996. The bold look, passenger car accouterments, overhead cam engines, and short and long arm front suspension of the new pickup are either embraced or shunned by die-hard Ford truckers used to the traditional styling, bare bones interior, rugged pushrod motors and Twin-I-Beam suspension of the 1996 model. For 1997, the F-250 joins its little brother in the new styling

So what about this new truck? Overall length is up for all models, and SuperCabs provide substantial improvements in rear passenger leg and hip room. SuperCab models feature a third door as standard equipment, as more and more full-size pickups are purchased for personal use. Styleside and Flareside cargo boxes will be available for both cab styles. Dual airbags are standard, and the passenger side restraint can be switched off in the event that a rear-facing child safety seat has been installed. The new F-Series meets 1999 side-impact standards for trucks, and a four-wheel anti-lock braking system is optional across the board. New options include leather seats, a six-disc CD changer, and an anti-theft system.

Two engines will initially be available, followed by a third in the fall of 1996. A 4.6-liter V-8 is the standard engine, and it makes 220 horsepower at 4500 rpm and 290 foot-pounds of torque at 3250 rpm. That's more than GM, Dodge or Toyota. The second engine is a 5.4-liter V-8 which makes 235 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of torque. The third engine is a 7.3-liter turbo-diesel unit for which we don't yet have information. Tune up intervals occur every 100,000 miles thanks to platinum-tipped spark plugs.

Sounds good to us. After driving several F-Series trucks this year, it appears that Ford has taken a path designed to bring more personal use buyers into the Ford fold without alienating truck buyers who work their pickups hard. Styling, always a subjective point, might turn potential buyers off with its free-flowing forms and smooth contours. We, however, like its clean lines and lack of clutter; particularly around the grille. If you are in the market for a full-size pickup, you need to see why the F-Series has been the best selling truck on the market for the last decade.






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.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.