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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A grey 2023 Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat is shown from the front while towing a camper.

The 2023 F-350 Outdoes Itself With Towing and Job-Site Tech

2023 marks a banner year for Ford’s Super Duty lineup, which receives its first major update since 2017. New for 2023, the Super Duty’s fifth generation includes some of the most hard-working, capable vehicles on the market, from Class 2 and 3 pickups to chassis cab models that edge into Class 4 and 5 territories. Ford has overhauled the lineup’s front-end design, widening the grille and adding new, C-clamp-shaped LED headlights that have become the brand’s hallmark in recent years. While these upgrades might give the lineup a fresh look, heavy-duty trucks are always going to be measured by one thing and one thing alone: towing and hauling capacity.

With the introduction of the fifth-generation Super Duty lineup, which includes the F-250, F-350, and F-450, Ford can now overtake the Ram 3500 HD and comfortably claim the segment’s towing crown. The lineup’s best-in-class towing is best summed up with one simple stat: the Ford F-450 has a maximum gooseneck towing capacity of 40,000 pounds, giving it the unique ability to tow half as much as a full-fledged tractor-trailer. The numbers are equally impressive up and down the Super Duty lineup, with the 2023 Ford F-350 making major leaps with a maximum towing capacity of 88,000 pounds over the outgoing model’s 35,750-pound limit.

The gains can largely be credited to the Super Duty’s new engine offerings, with Ford pulling out all the stops to deliver best-in-class performance in two of the four available options. The standard engine, a 6.8-liter V8, marks a definite improvement over 2022’s 6.2-liter version, but the 7.3-liter V8 is even harder to beat, boasting the best horsepower and torque ratings in the segment. Of course, if you’re looking for unrivaled towing performance, it has to be a diesel. Ford has rolled out two 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel setups for 2023: a regular version with 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque and a high-output version that outshines the competition with 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft of torque. Best of all, all four engines are available with Ford’s Pro Power Onboard generator, which gives drivers a 2.0-kW power source to power essential job-site equipment and more.

The black interior of a 2023 Ford F-350 is shown from above the center console.

A Reputation for Hard Work

Unlike some heavy-duty trucks, which are simply beefed-up versions of a brand’s light-duty offerings, Ford’s Super Duty pickups are their own dedicated model, built from the ground up to deliver unrivaled performance. The Super Duty lineup uses a different chassis than the Ford F-150, with a heavier frame and robust components that allow the pickups to excel in even the most challenging towing and hauling scenarios. Ford’s Super Duty trucks are the go-to choice for some of the economy’s most essential industries, with the brand establishing a 50 percent market share in the utility, mining, construction, and emergency response sectors.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with light-duty pickups: they remain some of the most popular vehicles on the market by offering a convenient blend of performance, comfort, and style. The segment has exploded in popularity over the last few decades, with more and more drivers gravitating towards models like Ford’s popular F-150, which remains not only the best-selling truck but the best-selling vehicle of any kind, for over 30 years. It’s hard to argue with those numbers, but when the going gets tough and there’s work to be done, few light-duty pickups can keep pace with their heavy-duty counterparts.

Even within the heavy-duty segment, some models tend to embellish their workhorse chops. Case in point: it’s not unusual for a heavy-duty pickup to feature side vents that give it the air of a high-performance vehicle, but all too often, they’re little more than a non-functional bit of chromed-out decoration. Not so on the 2023 Ford F-250, which, unlike many of its competitors, is actually built with functional side vents. Designed to reduce under-hood pressure, these vents go a long way in improving the pickup’s aerodynamic properties and fuel efficiency.

While engine size, towing capacity, and payload have long been the go-to metrics for comparing heavy-duty trucks, in-vehicle technology is becoming the segment’s newest arms race. It’s no longer enough to simply be able to tow more than the competition––automakers now have to leverage the latest in automotive, communication, and mapping technology to make those towing tasks easier than ever. Ford has embraced the challenge, packing the fifth-generation Super Duty with an impressive suite of cutting-edge features. The trucks feature all the advanced driver assistance systems one would expect, like adaptive cruise control, lane-centering, and blind-spot monitoring, but it’s the towing and hauling-specific features that really set the pickups apart.

For example, the new Super Duty features a backup camera that’s built into the top of the tailgate, allowing drivers to get a clear look behind them even when the tailgate is down. Integrated scales allow you to weigh out your load at a glance, a trailer theft alert system and a unique 360-degree camera system give you a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area. This latter feature makes parking and hitching up a trailer easier than ever, removing some of the stress from your next towing task. The trucks are also the first in the U.S. to feature embedded 5G capability, which not only improves the speed of the in-vehicle Wi-Fi and Ford Power-Up over-the-air software updates but also allows for faster mapping. That’ll come in handy when you’re using the new Trailer Navigation feature, which allows drivers to find the ideal route based on trailer size. No more tricky turns and tight inner-city routes; with Trailer Navigation, you’ll arrive at your destination without endangering your precious cargo.

A grey 2023 Ford F-350 Limited is shown from the front at an angle.

Rounding out the F-350’s long list of work-ready features is the Ford Pro Upfit Integration System (UIS). The UIS makes it easier than ever for aftermarket parts suppliers to gain access to the F-350 electrical systems and signals, allowing them to build components that can seamlessly interface with the truck’s display, mechanical, and safety systems. For example, a plow manufacturer can create custom software that allows a driver to control their plow directly from the F-350’s available 12-inch touchscreen display. In addition to adding a level of convenience, the UIS also has some important safety applications, like locking the transmission into park when a raised boom lift is being used. The UIS is an especially thoughtful inclusion given how often the F-350 is called into service as a utility truck, plow, and for other heavy-duty applications, allowing drivers to easily customize the adaptable pickup to meet the unique needs of their trade.

The F-350 Is, Without a Doubt, a Workhorse

No matter how you look at it, there’s no denying the F-350’s workhorse credentials. The Super Duty lineup is simply a different breed of truck from your standard full-size pickup, offering drivers unrivaled performance and the type of job-specific equipment and features that would be lost on the average driver. From advanced towing tech like a tailgate camera, 360-camera view, and Trailer Navigation to Ford’s Pro Power Onboard generator, UIS, functional air vents, and more, there’s no denying the sheer capability of the new Super Duty lineup. Even if you have a beloved F-350 parked in the driveway at this moment, the new 2023 model makes a compelling case for an upgrade with powerful engines that can take your towing and hauling projects to the next level. With best-in-class towing and the ability to haul half as much as a legitimate 18-wheeler, now’s the perfect time to check out what Ford’s new Super Duty lineup has to offer.

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