With the recent upgrade in towing and payload capacity for the Ford F-150, how do you know when it’s time to trade up to a three-quarter-ton truck? Well, this is the question every truck owner has asked themselves many times, and it has become a little more challenging to answer these days: the 2020 Ford F-150 vs 2020 Ford F-250? For some of us, it’s a no-brainer. If you tow heavy and often and most likely use your truck on the job site every day, then the 2020 F-250 is probably the better choice. But what if you tow heavy only occasionally? What if you are not usually the person who picks up the backhoe from the rental yard or shop, or the person running rock all day? But sometimes you do, just not all of the time. These are questions that can only be answered by the facts, so let’s take a look at the differences between these two truck-of-the-year candidates.
An F-150 Overview
We will start with the F-150 because if you can get away with buying a half-ton, that’s always preferred. Half-ton trucks generally return better fuel efficiency, and they often come with more tech and safety features, as they are usually more family-oriented than their three-quarter-ton counterparts, though that’s changing now too. The lines between an F-150 and F-250 are blurring, but not so much that you can’t tell them apart.
The 2020 Ford F-150 is rated to tow up to 13,200 pounds, which is an astounding amount of weight for a half-ton truck. It also features a best-in-class payload rating of 3,300 pounds. So those are the numbers in the best-case scenario. Not all models will be able to tow and carry this much weight. With a tow rating like this, however, you will be able to tow most trailers, with exceptions, such as heavy fifth-wheel campers, but if you are running rock all day with a dump trailer, say, then you should probably be looking at an F-250. If you are just towing your boat to the lake, though, the F-150 should be more than adequate.
The F-150 also features advanced trailer tech to make towing easier. Systems like Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which allows the driver to back into a space by inputting commands via a control knob while the truck controls braking, are invaluable when you are in a tight spot. There’s also a 360-degree camera that can be used when hitching a trailer, and a blind-spot monitor that helps to avoid other vehicles outside of your view. Overall, this is a well-equipped truck.
Driving the F-150
There are six engines for the 2020 F-150, so you have many choices with many different configurations to find the one that meets your needs; this is a place in which the F-150 stands out in the comparison: options. The best engine for towing is the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. This engine is available as a high-output version too, which is where you will find the F-150’s max towing capability. This engine is available on the Raptor and Limited trims and produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. That’s some serious muscle. And while the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is a beast when it comes to towing, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 is pretty good too. It can tow up to 11,500 pounds.
The 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 can tow up to 8,500 pounds and the big V8, the 5.0-liter V8 with 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, can tow up to 11,600 pounds. Even the standard engine, the 3.3-liter V6 with 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, can tow 7,700 pounds. So no matter which engine you choose, you will be sure to have enough power to tow most of your toys, but even with the big numbers, if you are towing often, you might want to leave the really heavy lifting for the F-250. Putting too much strain on your powertrain can lead to problems down the road, so it is always better to be cautious. With all of these choices, though, many people can find a truck that perfectly suits their needs. Unless what they need is something bigger and stronger because that’s where the F-250 comes in.
An F-250 Overview
While the 2020 Ford F-250 is ready for hard work, it is also ready for hauling your family. The F-250 comes in many configurations with lots of options to keep you and your family comfortable. This is not strictly a work truck. With adaptive steering, a selection of plush cabins, and a refined suspension, the 2020 Ford F-250 can accommodate even the most discerning passengers.
Available trailer tech on the F-250 is also present with a few additions. Seven electronic eyes help with everything from connecting the trailer to displaying objects outside of the driver’s line of sight. Camera lenses expose a 360-degree view around the truck, as well as a forward view of 180 degrees. Blind-spot monitors will even take the trailer into account. Also helpful is the tire-pressure monitor that shows you the trailer as well as the truck. Trailer backup assist is also now available on the F-250, making backing a fifth-wheel trailer much easier.
Driving the F-250
There are a few engine options for this model, but not as many as the F-150 has. The base engine for the 2020 Ford F-250 is a 6.2-liter V8 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. This engine can tow up to 15,800 pounds and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A new engine joins the lineup for the 2020 model year, and this is a 7.3-liter V8 with 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, you can tow up to 19,500 pounds, which is a lot of weight, and a great addition to the lineup. The 7.3-liter V8 is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. If you are looking for an engine with great towing capability, this is a good one to choose as it also features oil jets to cool the pistons when towing heavy loads.
The last engine option for the F-250 is the strongest of them all: a 6.7-liter turbocharged diesel V8 with 450 hp and an earth-shattering 1,050 lb-ft of torque. This engine can tow up to 22,800 pounds and features a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system as well as new steel pistons designed to deliver dynamic specs. It also connects to a 10-speed automatic transmission. And while the F-250 is clearly built for towing heavy, it also features many creature comforts, such as leather, heated rear seats, a twin-panel moonroof, and a 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system. The possibilities are endless for customizing the F-250 to your lifestyle and needs, and the added towing capacity doesn’t hurt either.
Time to Make a Decision
While the 2020 Ford F-150 offers many great engines with serious towing capacity, haven’t you always wanted a three-quarter-ton truck? Having the extra capability is always nice because you never know what you might need it for. The F-150 can certainly tow heavier than ever before, but what if you wanted to get a bigger travel trailer or a bigger boat? Knowing that your truck can handle the weight safely is the peace of mind that every truck owner needs.
If you are going to spend more on the upgraded engines of the F-150, you might as well spend more on the upgraded components and stronger suspension of the F-250, too, so you know you are ready for anything life throws at you. With that said, the 2020 Ford F-250 looks like the perfect truck for just about anything, whether you are on the ranch or out on the town.