The Ford F-Series pickup truck is the best-selling vehicle in the United States––but the F-Series is actually two separate vehicles: the F-150 and the Super Duty. While they are part of the same family, there are quite a few differences. Today, I will tell you what ultimately creates the Super Duty difference, and we’ll utilize a 2022 Ford F-250 for testing. Does the Super Duty difference deserve the hype? I think so. The higher-end Ford trucks, such as the F-250, F-350, and F-450, are the proverbial backbone of the manufacturer’s commercial lineup. These trucks raise the bar with their incredible performance, and for those who want an understanding of what a Ford can do, you must look at the Super Duty difference.
The Super Duty difference is a familiar concept to old Ford fans and was first introduced with a line of engines using the same name back in the 1950s. However, Super Duty was given a new meaning upon the release of Ford’s Super Duty trucks for the 1999 model year. The difference comes down to power. More specifically, Super Duty trucks can tow and haul far more than their lower-cost counterparts, such as the F-150 and especially the Ranger and Maverick. Marketed toward fleets and serious truckers, the F-250 isn’t for the faint of heart and is more for those who need a hefty machine for the work day. But how far does the Super Duty difference go? Let’s find out.
The fundamentals of the Super Duty difference are best seen in the significant increase in towing capacity. The highest towing capacity rating for the F-250 is from the 6.7L Powerstroke turbo-diesel V8 engine. I suppose you could consider the Powerstroke V8 engine to be the Super Duty difference, especially since it’s available in the F-250 all the way up to the F-850, so it’s undoubtedly a major part of the Super Duty line of trucks. How far does switching to a turbo-diesel engine bring the Super Duty to new heights?
The turbo-diesel engine has many forms and can tow up to 37,000 lbs in the 2022 F-450. Drivers requiring a towing capacity this high already know the truck they need. However, not everyone needs a towing capacity that high, and something like 20,000 lbs may sound more reasonable for your hobbies or line of work. With the 2022 F-250, the maximum towing capacity sits at 22,800 lbs with the Powerstroke V8 engine.
Every Super Duty truck can also utilize a Class V trailer hitch, which is something that the F-150 can’t do. With that said, the Super Duty difference is more of a combination between a turbo-diesel V8 engine and a Class V trailer hitch, which allows for the utmost versatility available to the consumer market. Those driving an F-250, or any Super Duty truck, need not worry about running out of power because with 20,000 lbs of towing or more, drivers can haul their boat, camper, landscaping equipment, and more, with no questions asked.
Gauging the Super Duty Difference
To truly gauge the Super Duty difference, comparisons need to be made between the Super Duty trucks and the entry-level F-150. When bringing the 6.7L turbo-diesel V8 engine back into the discussion, the 2022 F-250 outputs 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque, which is the same horsepower and torque output as the F-350 and F-450. All three trucks link the turbocharged diesel engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The higher-end versions of the F-150 feature a 3.5L turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine, which is also paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The 2022 F-150 outputs 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque with this engine, allowing the best-seller to reach a maximum towing capacity of 14,000 lbs. That means the F-250 can tow nearly 63% more than the F-150, and the F-450 has a 164% higher towing capacity. Does this mean the Super Duty difference is 164%? Theoretically, yes, it does.
The 2022 F-150 allows for a maximum payload capacity of 3,325 lbs with the 5.0L Coyote V8 engine. This may initially throw off some drivers, but the Coyote V8 engine has a payload capacity 75 lbs higher than the 3.5L EcoBoost V6, despite its significantly lower towing capacity. Regardless, the 2022 F-150’s max payload capacity of 3,325 lbs is no match for the 2022 F-250’s max payload capacity of 4,260 lbs––a 28% increase over the F-150. The F-250 achieves its max payload with the 7.3L Godzilla V8, but for those who are wondering how the Powerstroke diesel engine fares, the turbo-diesel V8 allows the 2022 F-250 to haul up to 3,940 lbs.
The F-250 outmatches the F-150 in payload capacity, and there is a difference in maximum cargo volume as well. The F-150 and F-250 both allow for an eight-foot bed, with the F-150 providing 77.4 cu.ft. of cargo space while the F-250 offers a slightly higher 78.5 cu.ft. of room. On the other hand, the F-150 is sold with a 5.5-foot bed that can fit just 52.8 cu.ft. of cargo, while the smallest option for the F-250 is a 6.75-foot bed with 65.4 cu.ft. of cargo space. Combined with the higher payload ratings, this extra bed space contributes to the Super Duty difference.
What’s In Store?
When I think of current market trends, there’s something I can’t help but consider. Are manufacturers going to slow down on the EV movement? In the first quarter of 2022, EV sales spiked 60%. For now, EVs are more a complement for traditional gas and diesel models rather than a competitor. The F-150 Lightning is a perfect example, as it is sold alongside gasoline-powered F-150 models. However, Ford has stated there are currently no plans to bring an electric Super Duty into the lineup. In the ever-growing EV industry, that might not remain the case for long, but for now, Ford is sticking with gas and diesel for its most powerful trucks.
So, what is in store for the Super Duty line of pickup trucks? A major redesign is in the works for the 2023 model. While not many details are official as of this publishing, we can expect a new exterior and an updated interior. Reports of an incoming powertrain have also been making the rounds, with the new engine rumored to be a 6.8L V8 that will replace the current 6.2L V8. If the rumors are true, it should be part of the lineup when the 2023 model releases. This new engine should help cement the Super Duty difference and push the 2023 F-250 even further ahead of the increasingly capable F-150.
Is the Super Duty Difference for You?
Now that you know some of the ins and outs of the Ford Super Duty trucks, you must ask yourself if the Super Duty difference is right for you? The chances are that if you have a good idea of what type of labor you’ll be putting your truck through, that alone will help you decide which model is suitable for you. The cost difference between an F-150 and a Super Duty truck is also worth keeping in mind, especially if you want that Powerstroke V8 engine. Choosing a Super Duty truck takes careful planning and consideration, but if you’re sure it’s what you need, then a Super Duty will help you complete all of your tasks.