At the Texas State Fair in Dallas today, the all-new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks were unveiled. Long awaited, the all-new aluminum bodied trucks will be lighter, more capable, and offer more stuff than ever before.
The first truly new F-Series Super Duty trucks in nearly 20 years, the 2017 inherits the aluminum body structure from the new F-150, though it has a lot of visual detail differences to set it apart. The front end is unique, and sure to have a love-hate reaction in the Ford faithful out there.
It’s brick-wall, upright posture is more imposing than the F-150. It’s headlights are larger by a long shot, and its grill is taller. I admit that I didn’t like it at first, but just in the day working on this video, it’s already growing on me.
It gets its own hood and fenders with vent emblem insets and those large grilles will vary in design and finish depending on the trim grades. And out back the bed sides afford for a larger set of tail lamps, and rear tail gate trims are unique as well.
Outside of that, the body design is for the first time in a long time, shared with the F-150. The Super Duty no longer has it’s own distinctive sheet metal in large. Under the skin however, it has its own frames and components, that set it apart.
Because the new aluminum body saved so much weight, Ford beefed up the frames, axles, suspension and drivetrain components to increase the Super Duty’s towing and hauling capacities. Thus the new Super Duty is only about 350 pounds lighter, instead of the 700 pound savings we saw with the F-150.
All-new frames across the line from F-250 up to F-450 are stronger and heavier, now using up to six times the amount of high-strength steels. Frame rails are 1.5” taller and are fully boxed as are the cross members, making it up to 24 times stiffer.
The exception to this is the F-450 chassis cab which has a C-channel frame from the cab rearward to give upfitters an easier life when it comes to bolting on beds, boxes and other accessories. In all, there are up to eight wheel bases available across the line.
The suspension systems will be by-in large the same formats as the current truck line, starting with a twin-I-beam front suspension on the lower end and graduating up to solid front axles for the heavier duty models.
With the new frames and beefed up components, expect towing and hauling capability to grow a good measure. Because the changeover to aluminum and the new design are the big plays here, at least for 2017 the new Super Duty trucks will come with engines buyers are already familiar with.
This starts with a second-generation 6.7 liter PowerStroke diesel. Ford says it will have more power and torque than ever, so expect a bump in both measures over the current truck. It will continue to come with the TorqShift six-speed automatic.
Gas engines will continue with the 6.2 liter V8 which but gets a new TorqShift G six-speed automatic in the F-250 said to increase fuel economy. The F-450 Chassis Cab will also be available with the venerable 6.8 liter V10. Horsepower specs for all of these will come later.
Past all the nuts and bolts, the interiors of the new Super Duty get a major step up whether we’re talking the base XL or top-of-the-line Platinum. It might look familiar, as the new cabin is essentially identical to that of the new F-150. But there are a number of trim and detail difference to set it apart just a bit.
A new large screen TFT display in the center of the instrument cluster on higher trim grades will offer up a near infinite level of customizable information sets. It’s also home to the majority of settings and application menus for all the truck’s new features.
Key basic cool stuff here aside all the fancy leathers and woods that you can option are overhead console-mounted auxiliary switches for all your add-ons. That’s pretty cool. And the rear floor on super cabs and crew cabs is also flat for easy loading of cargo.
Now, if you’re into the infotainment, you’ll be glad the new SYNC 3 system will be here which replaces the old MyFord Touch that most agree was pathetically aweful. It promises to be easier to use, less problematic, and even now offers WiFi capability.
While the new Super Duty won’t have the pro-trailer backup assist found in the F-150, it will have a multi-camera and coaching application which might actually be more practical. Using up to six cameras, including one you can add to the back of your own trailer, it expands your viewpoint immensely.
Using some of the tech from the F-150’s system, it basically shows you what’s going on from all directions and can warn you if you are about to jack-knife. A cab mounted camera also shows you the bed, which can help connections with a Gooseneck and Fifth-wheel. Again, I think this is pretty slick.
Other trailer love includes an available in-cab trailer tire pressure monitoring system and a new blind spot information system that takes into account your trailer and the space it occupies. And there’s also the integrated trailer brake controller and towing apps, that have already been available.
For 2017, driver aids like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control will be available in the F-Series Super Duty trucks. And, Ford’s new adaptive steering wheel which can add or subtract from your inputs will also be an available option. I’m not so sure about that one.
All in, when it comes to market about this time next year, the 2017 Ford F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty will be available in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims just as they are now. The only thing left for consumption is the final specifications like horsepower, torque, towing and hauling capacities.
I suspect Ford will hold out for quite a while, just to make sure they can adjust those final numbers to be on top of the heap when they go on sale. Because, you never know what wily guys at GM or RAM might do in the coming year. It’s all a big game folks!