Used 2003 Ford F-350 Super Duty Review

The Ford is a fine choice, but the newer Dodge and General Motors heavy-duty trucks should also be considered.




what's new

The 2003 model year sees a new FX4 Off-Road Package with skid plates, Rancho front and rear shocks, a steering damper and decals. The regular off-road package is no longer available, but a skid plate package can still be had on all 4WD trucks. All XLs can be had with a vinyl 40/20/40 reclining split bench that has a fold-down armrest with a console and cupholders. Ford has also upgraded seat material quality and installed a tailgate lock on this trim level. If you order a SuperCab or Crew Cab in XLT trim with the Sport Package, you can also order a reverse sensing system and a power driver seat. Late-availability additions include an optional power moonroof for Crew Cabs and optional heated telescoping trailer tow mirrors with integrated turn signals. A King Ranch version of the Crew Cab will also appear later in the year. Finally, the torque rating for the 7.3-liter turbodiesel V8 has been boosted to 525 pound-feet. By mid-year, expect an even more powerful 6.0-liter diesel to appear.

vehicle overview

Introduction: Commercial use is one of the fastest-growing segments in the expanding truck market. With its F-Series Super Duty trucks, Ford is aiming squarely at fulfilling this segment's demand.

The Super Duty trucks, introduced in 1999, are built on a separate platform from the smaller F-150. Bigger, stronger and more robust, they are meant to perform feats of which the F-150 isn't capable. The maximum GVWR for the F-150 is 7,700 pounds, the F-250 Super Duty can handle 8,800 pounds, whereas the F-350 Super Duty starts at 9,900 pounds and ranges up to 11,500 pounds. The Super Duty isn't for everyone; depending on model, the turning circle can top 58 feet. That's not much fun in city traffic. Pricing on a diesel-equipped Crew Cab can approach $40,000. However, if you need more truck than the regular F-150 can provide, Ford has quite an impressive lineup of heavy-duty trucks to peruse.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: To match your needs better, the Super Duty comes in Regular Cab, SuperCab and Crew Cab styles. The overall look is much more aggressive than the standard F-150, and its bigger dimensions allow Ford to use larger cabs without compromising load space. Unlike the F-250, the F-350 can be had with dual-rear wheels. SuperCab models have small rear-opening doors, while the Super Duty Crew Cab has four fullsize swing-out doors. A variety of optional equipment is available, including electronic shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, a heavy-duty suspension package and telescoping trailer-towing mirrors. For owners who don't want to skimp on luxury, leather seating is available on Lariat models. Powertrains and Performance: The Super Duty trucks are built on a separate platform from the smaller F-150. Bigger, stronger and more robust, they are meant to perform feats of which the F-150 isn't capable. The maximum GVWR for the F-150 is 7,700 pounds, whereas the F-350 Super Duty can manage 11,500 pounds.

To provide the necessary grunt, Ford offers four different engines. The gasoline engines are a 5.4-liter V8 and a 6.8-liter V10. The V8 generates 255 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The V10 generates 310 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. A 7.3-liter turbodiesel V8 is also available, and it makes 250 horsepower and a dominating 525 lb-ft of torque (up 20 from last year). All of these engines can be equipped with an optional automatic transmission. A more powerful and efficient 6.0-liter turbodiesel will be released later this year, making 325 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, as well as offering 10 percent better fuel economy and 20 percent lower emissions. It's mated to a new five-speed automatic transmission that features higher first- and second-gear ratios to launch a truck loaded with cargo more quickly and smoothly. The F-350 can tow up to 13,000 pounds of conventional trailer when properly equipped. Safety: Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard. The Super Duty also offers power-adjustable pedals. As of yet, there is no NHTSA or IIHS crash test data on the Super Duties. Interior Design and Special Features: Inside, the roomy cabs have large, comfortable seats and generous seat-track travel. Five or six adults can ride inside with little problem as long as you choose the SuperCab or Crew Cab body. In addition, there are many interior convenience features designed for today's business owners. For example, a fold-down armrest and utility bin are designed to house a portable fax machine or laptop computer. Driving Impressions: Given their size, the F-350 Super Duty trucks maintain a confident on- and off-road feel. They feature modern power steering systems and suspension components to improve vehicle ride, handling, responsiveness and maneuverability. Just don't mistake them for cars. The Super Duty is a true truck and rides harshly when not towing or hauling loads. Parking a Super Duty ranges from tedious (a mall parking lot) to impossible (some home garages and underground parking lots).






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.