The F-Series Super Duty pickups have received several minor styling updates since their debut in 1999. And while many trim and option packages have come and gone in that time, the premium King Ranch like we have here has proven most popular.
Our tester here is a 2016 Ford F-350 in Blue Jeans Metallic with gold lower accent color. Instead of being laden with acres of chrome, it has a more monotone look with body color bumpers and grille surround. There’s still enough bright work though with the expansive grills and polished aluminum wheels.
With the long bed, dual wheels and crew cab it has a presence and largess no matter where it is. In that way it’s large mirrors make it easier than you think to gauge things and the back-up camera doesn’t hurt either.
Being well outfitted as our was, it had full cab-length running boards, fog lights and tow hooks up front, as well as a pretty stout trailer hitch receiver and trailer wiring connectors. These are just the kind of things you expect here when spending nearly $70,000.
The interior of our King Ranch F-350 had some pretty rich Adobe hides front and rear, with lots of detailing to remind you what you spent the money for. Those seats are both heated and ventilated up front and power adjustable.
The console gets handsome stitched King Ranch trim, four cup holders and lots of storage inside. But there isn’t a convenient place for a phone. The center stack gets lots of Chicklet size buttons to help you with its MyFord Touch infotainment audio and navigation system.
The extra redundant controls on the steering wheel and center stack help make life easier dealing with the difficult to use touchscreen system, but you still have to page through menus for things like the heated seats and some climate functions.
Sound quality from the Sony audio system is good however and it does offer plenty of connection options both wired and wireless. Ford should be replacing all this in 2017 with an improved SYNC 3 system though.
Scoring the technologies here brings us to 4 of 5 stars, the difficult to use and sometimes angering MyFord Touch interface being the big downer here. The F-350 doesn’t offer much in the way of driver assistance or crash prevention tech yet, so those features didn’t count.
Rear seat passengers with this cab enjoy as much space and comfort as exists this side of a RAM MegaCab. The lower cushions can fold up revealing a locking storage area underneath. It’s not called a gun safe, but I bet it gets used like one more than we know.
The cabin scores out at 4 of 5 stars, storage and comfort being big standouts. Lower grade plastics here and there in trims and switchgear were a harsh contrast to things like the high-end leather hides however.
Under the hood was the top-option 6.7 liter PowerStroke V8 turbo-diesel engine which has a class topping 440 horsepower. With 860 pound-feet of torque it comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.
It’s Ford’s first in-house designed and built diesel engine and costs a hefty $8400 but it is the engine most buyers choose for both its towing power and relative fuel efficiency. It is at current, one of the most technologically advanced diesels in its class.
This engine is really about towing and being efficient at it. As tested, our F-350 Super Duty is rated to tow up to 23,500 pounds. And in our week with it we saw an average of 15 mpg which given its size and unloaded curb weight of 8200 pounds is relatively good.
Scoring it for the week, we give the diesel engine powertrain 5 of 5 stars given its smooth, quiet, refined character, seemingly limitless power reserves and the excellent behavior of its six-speed automatic transmission.
When it comes to chassis, the F-350 is built for work more than play. In long wheelbase form and 4×4 trim with dual rear-wheels it has the heaviest of solid axles front and rear. Front suspension is however coil sprung which seeks to offer better dynamics.
Scoring up the chassis this week, while consideration is given to the fact this is a work truck, we still felt that the harshness in particular with the front suspension and steering on rougher roads was below the class average here. Thus it comes in at 3 of 5 stars.
The Ford F-Series Super Duty is a truck that has been with us for almost twenty years. Ford has curated this pickup well over the years with just enough updates in chassis, powertrains and styling to keep it selling better than its competitors.
Its age however is starting to show here and there, and as we score it for overall quality. This is particularly in the rattle, squeak and shudder factors you see and feel living with it every day. This brings our Quality Feel score to 4 of 5 stars.
As tested our Ford F-350 Super Duty came in at just under $70,000 as optioned and you can push it further toward $80,000 if you pile on more options. This is a hefty sum, and yet some features competitors now offer aren’t yet available here, earning it a value score at 4 of 5 stars.
Our total score for the week with the 2016 Ford F-350 Super Duty is 4 of 5 stars.