F-250 Super Duty

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2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Test Drive Review

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty The F-250 Super Duty delivers on power and capability, but it lacks the ride quality and interior refinement that is becoming the standard among heavy-duty pickups.

7.7 /10
Overall Score

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill was likely not referring to the heavy-duty pickup truck market when he uttered this quote, but it resonates nonetheless. It seems like every year the Big Three American truck-makers are trying to one-up one another, whether it's towing and hauling, passenger space, or technology.

It's unclear how many truck owners shop on superlatives alone. It’s also unclear how many shoppers need “the most” of one particular attribute. Sure, some will need the towing capability for certain jobs. But far more will buy these trucks and want a balance of attributes that is as well-rounded as their needs. While the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty gives up a bit of ride quality to achieve some best-in-class numbers, it’s a well-balanced truck. Read on to find out why.

Look and Feel

6/ 10

The Ford Super Duty has received some updates for the 2020 model year. Keen Blue Oval fans will notice the year-over-year visual differences, but they're somewhat harder for others to spot at first glance. The front bumper has a bit more black painted areas and a bit less bling. The massive grille has swapped out the large two-bar design for one that is less gaudy. Thanks to the altered shape of the grille, the headlights are somewhat sleeker, without changing the overall shape. The result is a truck that shows some styling restraint without going back to the drawing board.

Ford offers the F-250 in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels. The appearance of the F-250 can vary a good deal based on the trim level selected. The XL has a black grille, black bumpers, and 17-inch steel wheels. The XLT adds brightwork to the grille and bumpers, adds 18-inch alloy wheels, and adds corner signals to the side mirrors. The XLT and Lariat look similar, though the Lariat has fog lights, different 18-inch wheels, different grille details, and power-telescoping side mirrors.

The King Ranch offers a unique look, with a two-tone paint job, chrome-accented running boards, and chrome on the side mirrors and door handles. It also provides a remote-release tailgate.

Moving up to the Platinum adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique front bumper with LED fog lights, and below that, a lower front air dam for improved aerodynamics. The Platinum also features chrome window treatment and power-retractable running boards. The range-topping Limited trim features a similar look to the Platinum, but ups the luxury feel with a satin-chrome grille.

In addition to these trims, Ford offers the Tremor package. Available on XLT-and-up trims, it has a dark grille, dark wheels, and off-road tires. It also includes plenty of upgraded off-road gear (more on that in our Performance section).

Inside, The F-250 features a function-first cabin. Controls have a logical layout, and there’s plenty of places for all your gear. But it is not very welcoming. There are plenty of hard plastics and it often feels cold and mechanical. Since many of these trucks are tools to their owners, that is fine. But if you prefer a bit more comfort in your massive truck, check out the Ram 2500 and 3500. They are a masterclass in big-truck cabin-comfort.

The base XL model comes decently equipped for a work truck. Standard features include air conditioning, vinyl upholstery, steering-wheel audio controls, two USB ports, and a 2.3-inch in-dash screen. The XL also comes with an AM/FM/MP3 stereo with four speakers.

Moving up to the XLT adds some creature comforts like cloth seating, power doors and locks, and five-speaker stereo (seven-speaker in the SuperCab and Crew Cab models). Other features include satellite radio, a dash-mounted wall-style power outlet, and a 4.2-inch color screen in the instrument panel, and an 8-inch touchscreen running Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system.

The Lariat trim adds 10-way power-adjustable driver- and front-passenger seats, as well as leather upholstery for the front seats. The rear seats on the SuperCab are still vinyl, but the rear seats on the Crew Cab are leather, just like the front. The Lariat also includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a large 8-inch color screen in the instrument panel.

The King Ranch pairs its two-tone exterior to a unique saddle leather interior. The seats feature unique stitching and the leather center console lid has the “Flying W” sewn into it. The King Ranch also features voice-activated navigation, heated-and-cooled front seats, remote start, a heated steering wheel, and a memory easy-exit driver’s seat.

In addition to unique leather upholstery, the Platinum trim comes standard with ambient cabin lighting, and Ford’s Multi-Contour (read: massaging) seats. The Limited features all of this content, plus a stunning twin-panel moonroof. It covers nearly the entire canopy of the F-250 Limited.

Performance

9/ 10

The F-250 Super Duty comes standard with a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engine. It makes 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Ford also offers a 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. This engine makes 475 hp and an absurd 1,050 lb-ft of torque.

For 2020, Ford has added a second gas engine option. This new 7.3-liter gas V8 puts out 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Both gas engines route power through a new 10-speed automatic transmission, while the diesel V8 is paired to a six-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) comes standard, and four-wheel drive (4WD) with low range is optional. When equipped with the 6.7-liter diesel, 3.55 axle ratio, and High Capacity Tow Package, the F-250 can tow up to 30,000 pounds.

Historically, even with their large engines, heavy-duty pickups have not been the swiftest vehicles, but the 10-speed automatic transmission with the gas engines manages power well. We were surprised by its rolling acceleration. A big V8 with a lot of torque will always jump off the starting line, but the low-to-mid-range acceleration is surprising, and usable in everyday driving.

The Super Duty has fantastic towing and hauling capabilities, but that grunt comes at a cost. The suspension needs to be well sprung to handle all that weight, and when the truck is not loaded down, it is a very bumpy ride. It can be chattery over bumps in the road and feels top-heavy over on-ramps and off-ramps. But these trucks are built for serious work, and if you want a truck that’s optimized for road comfort, once again, check out the Ram models.

The available FX4 off-road package adds upgraded off-road shocks, added underbody skid plates, and Trail Control, which is like cruise control for the trail.

For 2020, Ford has added the Tremor off-road package to the Super Duty lineup. It has big 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires, a 2-inch lift, rock crawl driving mode, and some dark monotone styling touches. This package is available on a number of trims with the shorter bed, and either the 7.3-liter gas V8 or 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine.

Form and Function

9/ 10

The F-250 is available in Regular Cab, extended SuperCab, and full four-door Crew Cab. The F-250 is also available with either 6-foot-9-inch or 8-foot bed sizes. No matter the bed size, the Super Duty is available with the tailgate step. It telescopes from the opened tailgate and includes a handle.

The cabin of the F-250 is spacious and functional. Every cup holder and cubby are deep and designed to hold large items. The center console is massive and can store files, tools, or even a laptop. The rear seats on the SuperCrew and Crew Cab fold up, revealing a load floor for large items. This is a great way to store equipment like a generator overnight, without worrying about it being out in the truck bed.

Tech Level

8/ 10

The base XL comes standard with four speakers, an AM/FM/MP3 radio unit, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB-C port. Moving up to the XLT provides five speakers for the regular cab and seven speakers for the SuperCab and Crew Cab. It also adds SiriusXM satellite radio (with a six-month subscription), an additional USB-C port, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system. SYNC is intuitive and has a sensible menu layout. It also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

FordPass Connect is standard across the lineup. It includes a WiFi hot spot with the ability to connect up to 10 devices. FordPass Connect also lets you use a smartphone for a number of tasks. You can remotely lock and unlock the vehicle, receive vehicle status updates, and locate your truck. You can also remotely start the truck using a smartphone app, and even schedule remote start times. Many of these services are subscription-based, however.

Safety

7/ 10

Standard safety features on the F-250 include front- and side-impact airbags, trailer sway control, hill start assist, and AdvanceTrac traction control with roll stability control. Optional safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Other safety options include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera system.

The 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While these trucks are available with many high-tech safety features, it would be nice to see some of these features made standard equipment on the Super Duty, which is becoming more commonplace across the industry. Frankly, trucks are getting larger, and the only way to safely navigate a crowded parking lot anymore is with the help of some additional sensors.

Cost-Effectiveness

7/ 10

The EPA does not require heavy-duty pickups to post fuel-economy estimates. Given how many of these trucks are purchased for daily driving and personal use, we’re getting way past the point where that’s OK. Automakers are pouring billions into hybrid and electric-car development. Meanwhile, the heavy-duty truck market is allowed to keep up this output arms race. We love monstrous power and capability, but we wouldn’t have these absurd torque numbers if truck makers had to post their fuel-economy numbers.

Base MSRP for the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty is $34,035 for a Regular Cab XL. The XLT trim starts at $38,815, and the Lariat starts at $46,930. Looking upmarket, the King Ranch starts at $59,335, the Platinum trim starts at $66,225, and the range-topping Limited starts at $89,930.

A popular configuration of the Super Duty is the Lariat trim with the Crew Cab and 6-foot-9-inch bed—which starts at $49,620. A Crew Cab Limited trim with the 8-foot bed and a healthy number of options selected will come in at more than $87,000.

Like all modern heavy-duty pickups, the number of possible configurations is seemingly endless. The higher-end trucks are getting more and more expensive, but people are buying them in large numbers as well. If your budget is more realistic, a decently equipped F-250 will cost between $45,000 and $50,000. Many of these high-end trucks will show up on the used market at far more manageable prices. The fact is, these big, well-equipped trucks are designed for the long-haul. That could mean buying a used truck with plenty of hard-working years ahead of it, or one owner with a versatile, well-equipped truck in the driveway for decades.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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Ford F-250 Super Duty Questions

2020 Ford F250 W/ 7.3 Gasoline Won't Start When >5*

On cold days (>5*) truck is totally dead. Not a light, beep, or click. As if the battery was totally removed. Check battery with Voltmeter and battery is fine... Booster pack or Jump "might" get thing...

Why Cant Ford LB Mean 8' Bed?

I have to sift through photos of trucks im not looking for due to search criteria being incorrect. can you fix this?

Is It Possible To Get 10-WAY PWR DRV/PASS SEATS In F250 XLT?

This is my wife's most important desired feature, and I would prefer not to have to purchase Lariat+ to get them especially on the passenger seat

Ford F-250 Tremor Package

When will CarGurus have a filter option for a Ford F-250 TREMOR package?