Mid-cycle vehicle updates tend to be more cosmetic in nature. Not so with the freshening of the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty. Ford pulled out all the stops in bringing the Super Duty current in the face of recent full redesigns of the GM Heavy-Duty and Ram HD trucks. Big changes or additions include the updated 6.7-liter V8 turbodiesel, an all-new 7.3-liter gasoline V8, the all-new Tremor Off-Road Package, the new Pro Trailer Backup Assist and standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability.
Ford offers the Super Duty as the F-250, F-350 and F-450, each with six trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Ground-floor base pricing is $35,300 for the F-250 XL, migrating northward to $92,125 for the F-450 Limited. The middle-of-the-road F-250 Lariat has a base price of $48,195. These prices include the $1,595 factory destination charge.
Under the Hood
Standard propulsion for all, but the Limited grade of the F-250 and F350 is the familiar 385-hp 6.2-liter V8 with 430 lb-ft of peak torque. F-250 and F-350 Limited versions, as well as all grades of the F-450 use the third-generation 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8, generating 475 hp and an eye-popping 1,050 lb-ft of torque. The turbodiesel is optional on all lower F-250 and F-350 trims. Except the Limited grade, all trim levels of the F-250 and F350 also qualify for the optional, all-new 430-hp 7.3-liter gasoline V8, making 475 lb-ft of torque.
F-250 models with the 6.2L send power to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on the F-350 and F-450 models, and optional on the F-250 is an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is optional on all Super Duty trucks. The government doesn’t post estimated fuel-economy numbers for heavy-duty trucks.
Keeping in mind that published towing and payload stats are often challenged by competitors, Ford is claiming class best and segment best in several categories. For instance, class-best conventional towing (F-450) of 24,200 lb, class-best gas-engine power and torque with 7.3L V8, segment-best diesel conventional towing (F-250) of 20,000 lb and at least a dozen more.
Tremor Off-Road Package
Sounding like the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Tremor is a new off-road package currently exclusive to Super Duty. “Currently” being the operative word. Although Ford suits at the Super Duty national media drive in Arizona stated there isn’t an effort to add Tremor to other models, more than one executive hinted that if Tremor is as well received as expected, it will probably migrate to other trucks and SUVs. With a couple of qualifications, today, it’s available on the XLT and above of F-250 and F350 models with either the 7.3L or 6.7L turbodiesel.
But, what is it? Several elements comprise Tremor, including Raptor-style fixed running boards, lift kit, upgraded wheels and tires, locking rear differential with electronic shift-on-the-fly, Dana limited-slip front differential, Trail Control with rock-crawl mode, special off-road suspension and more. The effect is 10.8 in of ground clearance, 33 in water fording, best approach and departure angles ever for Super Duty, and more. Available with the Tremor group is a built-in winch capable of pulling 12,000 lb.
In addition to some carry-over safety technologies like the post-crash alert system and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, all, but the entry-level 2020 XL get Ford’s Co-Pilot360. It’s a suite of safety technologies, including lane-keeping alert, blind-spot alert with trailer coverage, precollision assist with auto emergency braking and automatic high-beam assist.
Heavy-duty trucks are engineered for work. Whether that work is in the form of hauling heavy payloads, towing large trailers or going off pavement into some extreme conditions. Having said that, from the driver’s seat, the first thing noticed is just how remarkably quiet this truck is. Second, is how it handles and performs when it’s not working. Regardless of the powertrain, the Super Duty is relatively easy to pilot. Yes, it’s a honking-big truck with all that entails; but, for a big truck, it is responsive, predictable and comfy.
Towing with all three powertrains, the Super Duty is capable as advertised. Ford created an off-road course that would have intimidated a mountain goat. The Tremor-equipped Super Duty rolled right through it.
Wrapping It Up
Ponying up the extra cash for an HD truck makes no sense unless you need all that capability. If you do, however, the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty will get the job done. You need some pretty deep pockets to opt for the higher trim levels, particularly with the F-350 and F-450 models. Our recommendation is to find the F-Series that delivers exactly what you need in the way of maximum capabilities, then stick with the lower trim levels.
Russ has been covering cars and the auto industry for 30 years. He is a long-time bourbon and craft-beer drinker who also produces the BEER2WHISKEY channel on YouTube.