F-450 Super Duty

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2018 Ford F-450 Super Duty Overview

There are a few jobs so intense that they require a truck that can carry the world on its back. For these, Ford offers the F-450 Super Duty. This over 1 ton pickup boasts the highest towing ratings of any heavy-duty truck. But that isn’t the full story with Ford’s biggest truck. Like the F-250 and F-350, the F-450 underwent a massive redesign in 2017 which brought a number of key improvements, including a stronger frame, aluminum body panels, and a range of new technology and convenience features.

2018 brings forth a new trim to the F-450 called the Limited. Serving as the F-Series Super Duty’s flagship trim, the Limited includes a number of features and design touches normally reserved for luxury sedans. Passerbys will immediately notice its satin chrome grille, LED headlights, chrome wheels, and satin finish trim for the tailgate. Drivers will enjoy a plush interior with two-tone camelback leather upholstery, ash wood trim, stitching for various interior panels, and a laser etched badge in the center console with the truck’s VIN number. Standard equipment includes the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System that provides a 360-degree view around the truck, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and a panoramic sunroof.

Imposing is the perfect word to describe the F-450’s design. None of the competition can touch it: with an overall length of 266.2 inches and width of 96 inches, this is the biggest pickup truck a consumer can buy. Up front is a massive grille with rectangular headlights sitting on either side. Wide fenders and a set of 10-bolt wheels wrapped in 19.5-inch commercial tires make up the side profile. On certain F-450 trims, the tailgate will come with an integrated step and handle. When the tailgate is down, a person can pull the step out and raise the handle to make it easier to get in and out of the bed. Ford only offers the F-450 Super Duty as a crew cab with an 8-foot bed.

The F-450’s interior can range from spartan to luxurious depending on the trim. The base XL comes with vinyl upholstery and flooring that is very easy to clean, along with manual crank windows. Step up to either the Platinum or Limited to get high-quality leather seats, soft-touch materials, and a long list of high-end features, such as a premium audio system and 10-way power front seats. One area Ford’s designers haven’t forgotten about is making the interior user-friendly: the design of the dash utilizes large buttons and knobs to control various systems.

The F-450 can seat either 5 or 6 people. Like the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty, the F-450’s front seat doesn’t offer quite as much space as you’ll find in GM’s heavy-duty pickups, but the back seat offers plenty of legroom. Even tall adults will be able to stretch their legs back here. There are a number of storage spaces throughout the F-450, including a large glove box, deep door pockets, and a lockable storage area under the rear seat that can be folded away when not in use.

The XL and XLT feature a standard AM/FM audio system with a small color screen. A CD player and satellite radio come standard on XLT models. Optional for the XL and XLT, and standard on the Lariat and above, is an 8-inch touchscreen with the SYNC 3 infotainment system. Reviewers like SYNC 3’s simple interface and fast response times when switching between various functions. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is standard on the 8-inch system. Lariat and higher trims also get a configurable 8-inch screen in the gauge cluster that can display various information like transmission temperature and diesel emission fluid levels.

Ford only offers the impressive 6.7-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel V8 for the F-450, which produces 440 hp and 925 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive. Despite a curb weight of just over 8,500 pounds, the PowerStroke moves the F-450 with authority. 0-60 times are said to be in the 8-second range, which is quick for such a massive truck. Some of this quickness can be attributed to the aluminum body panels that help cut a significant amount of weight from the F-450. When it comes to towing, the F-450 Super Duty is at the top of the heavy-duty truck pile. Ford says the F-450 can tow up to 21,000 pounds when using a conventional trailer hitch or a class-leading 32,500 pounds when pulling a trailer with a gooseneck hitch. Maximum payload is rated at 5,320 pounds.

The F-450 Super Duty is built to haul, with stronger suspension parts and a beefed up chassis to handle heavy loads. While this stiff suspension can make the ride a little rough, it becomes slightly smoother when hauling a load in the bed or on a trailer. Most trucks this huge can be quite the handful when maneuvering in tight spaces, but Ford has employed some tricks to help make the F-450 easier to drive. The front axle is a wide-track monobeam that allows the front wheels to turn much sharper. Compared to the smaller F-350, the F-450 has a 7.4-foot shorter turning radius (50.4 vs. 57.8 feet). For an even better driving experience, customers can choose Ford’s adaptive steering system that uses a small electric motor and special gearing to adjust the steering angle based on how fast the truck is moving. At low speeds, the system increases the steering angle to help when parking and reduces it at higher speeds to help keep the truck continue straight and make lane changes smoother on the highway.

In terms of safety, the F-450 is quite impressive. Standard equipment includes a full set of airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, hill start assist, trailer sway control, post-crash alert system, and MyKey that allows an owner to set restrictions for other drivers. A backup camera comes standard on the XLT and above, and rear parking sensors are standard on the Lariat and above. Optional safety equipment includes the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System, the Trailer Reverse Guidance system that provides help when backing up with a trailer, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and tire pressure monitoring for the trailer.

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Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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