2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty Review
Pros & Cons
- Beastly towing capability
- appealing technology options
- quiet cabin.
- Interior looks and feels old
- vague steering.
Edmunds' Expert Review
With a formidable turbodiesel V8 and industrial-grade construction, the 2016 Ford F-450 is immensely capable, and it also offers numerous upscale options. It's dated inside, though.
Heavy-duty trucks like the 2016 Ford F-450 are tools. They're intended for hard work and can move, haul and tow extreme loads like no other passenger vehicle. At the very top of Ford's F-Series truck range is the F-450, which is essentially unchanged this year. Intense competition as of late has produced a bumper crop of desirable big trucks, but the 2016 F-450's eye-popping capabilities continue to set it apart.
Indeed, the F-450 Super Duty carries a tow rating so high that fully exercising it requires a commercial driver's license. When properly equipped, the F-450 can tow a staggering 31,200 pounds. Delivering this brawn is a true beast of an engine, a 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 that develops 440 horsepower and 860 pound-feet of torque. You can get the diesel V8 in lesser F-Series Super Duty models, too, but their tow ratings are relatively modest. The F-450 is what you need if you're going to be towing a large horse trailer, for instance, or a motorhome equipped with heavy granite countertops and dual pop-outs. It's the truck you buy when nothing less will do.
The closest rival to the F-450 is the 2016 Ram 3500. It boasts a similarly towering 31,210 -pound towing capacity, while its higher trim levels pamper occupants with a more pleasant cabin and a ride quality that's a notch plusher. Given the gaudy tow ratings of the Ford and Ram, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD's 23,200-pound maximum might appear meek, though it's still a fine choice if your towing needs aren't enough to tax the other two trucks. Another factor to consider is that the Silverado and Ram are offered in a variety of configurations, whereas the F-450 is only available as a four-door crew cab with an 8-foot box, 4x4 and dual rear wheels. For other configurations in the Ford, look to the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty. But when big tasks call for big tools, the "Edmunds "B"-rated 2016 Ford F-450 should definitely be on your radar screen.
2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty models
The 2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty is offered in just one configuration: a four-wheel-drive, four-door crew cab with an 8-foot cargo bed and dual rear wheels. There are five trim levels available: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum.
Standard equipment on the base XL includes 19.5-inch aluminum 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 (with adjustable driver lumbar support), 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 mirrors with an integrated blind spot mirror, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, remote 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 port.
The Lariat trim comes with foglights, chrome running boards, power telescoping and folding mirrors, body-color door handles, rear parking sensors, a power-sliding rear window with defrost, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery (front row), eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), power-adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 4.2-inch color driver information display, 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 Sony audio system.
The two range-topping trims include many of the Lariat's optional items and bolster them with special design elements. Specifically, 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.
The Platinum is equipped similarly to the King Ranch, but features a significantly different design aesthetic inside and out, while adding 20-inch wheels, a tailgate assist step and a heated steering wheel.
Many of the higher-end standard features are available as options on lower trims. Other options (depending on trim level) include a transmission power take-off (for powering accessories like snow plows), a heavy-duty alternator, 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 skid plates and Rancho shock absorbers.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 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, a 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 capacity for the F-450 is 5,300 pounds.
During Edmunds performance testing, an empty F-450 went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is a good performance for the segment.
The 2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty comes standard with antilock brakes, trailer sway control, hill start assist, side curtain airbags and an SOS post-crash alert system. Stability control isn't available but traction control comes standard.
In Edmunds testing, the F-450 in Platinum trim came to a stop from 60 mph in 146 feet, which is a bit longer than average, even for such a big, heavy vehicle.
If you have a lot to tow, the 2016 Ford F-450 is surely up to the task. Like all crew cab dual-rear-wheel heavy-duty pickups, though, it casts an imposing shadow. At nearly 22 feet long and 9 feet wide, this big pickup is a handful in urban settings and just about any parking lot. A wider track compared to Ford's other Super Duty models means that turning it around will require even more room than the big-truck norm.
When we put the F-450 through our full battery of tests, it came out the other side with an Edmunds "B" rating, receiving top marks for its powertrain. It tows huge loads with greater ease than other trucks, thanks to the might of the engine. We found the six-speed automatic transmission to be fully competent, with crisp and well-timed shifts. 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 standard exhaust brake. The F-450's steering is vaguer than that of other heavy-duty pickups, however, making it less confidence-inspiring when maneuvering heavy loads. And it should go without saying that its unladen ride quality is very stiff.
Your choice of trim level will have a significant effect on the F-450's cabin ambience. That's because the base XL has a bare-bones interior with vinyl seats, uncarpeted floors, hard plastics and a measly little two-speaker AM/FM radio, while upper trim levels dress things up to luxury-class levels. While the materials quality and presentation may not match that of a Ram 3500, the F-450 still delivers advanced technology features like the MyFord Touch electronics interface and a long list of luxury features like supple leather and ventilated seats. Having said that, the uninspired design motif and a handful of poorly laid out controls remind us that this aging truck could benefit from a redesign in the manner of the recently redesigned F-150.
At its core, however, the F-450 is all about getting work done. This mission also explains the thought that went into interior details such as lockable storage bins, 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. Also included on those trims is the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which brings dual 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.