HomeTactical & SurvivalTow Big or Go Home: 2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review

Tow Big or Go Home: 2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review

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Towing is hard. I know I’m going to take some heat for that, especially from you professional drivers, but I’m right. If it weren’t hard, you wouldn’t have to be a pro driver with special licenses to tow the really heavy stuff.

For those of us who aren’t professional towers, the drivers who have big campers, toy haulers, boats, and other big and heavy things to tow, the 2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty has a whole lot of tech to try and make towing easier. Some of it works great, but some of it could use some help.

Ford, GM, and Ram all build HD pickups that can tow and haul more than my driver’s license allows. They have diesel engines with more torque than two Ferraris and can be optioned out with vinyl floors or luxury cabins, which put luxury cars to shame. It’s in the details where each one needs to stand out.

In short: The 2024 Ford F-250 doesn’t excel at ride, luxury, or gadgets, but it does everything you want a truck to do with shocking efficiency.

2024 Ford F-250

Specs

  • Engine
    6.8L V8, 7.3L V8, 6.7L V8 diesel, 6.7L HO V8 diesel
  • Horsepower
    400/430/475/500 hp
  • Torque
    445/485/1,050/1,200 lb.-ft.
  • Mileage
    NA; 19.8 mpg observed
  • Cargo
    8′ box, 4,323 lbs. max payload (1,819 lbs. as equipped)
  • Towing
    Max 23,000 lbs. (with HO diesel), 15,119 lbs. as equipped

Pros

  • Beefy diesel

  • Extensive tow tech suite

  • Comfortable seats

  • Excellent visibility

Cons

  • Poor ride comfort

  • Some tech tougher to use

  • Some materials feel low-grade

  • Options quickly slash payload

2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review

The truck I’m driving is a Crew Cab F-250 with an 8-foot box. That makes this pickup a whopping 266.2 inches long. It’s not the longest truck on the market (GM beats it by about half an inch), but this thing is massive. Its wheelbase alone is longer than an entire Ford Bronco Sport.

All of that length gives it cabin space that would make a big-city studio apartment jealous. It also means that the truck can fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood flat between the wheel wells — with the tailgate closed.

It’ll stack about 40 sheets of ½-inch plywood before you reach the max payload capacity of the truck I tested — 1,819 pounds. No, that’s not much higher than a typical half-ton, but 3/4-ton pickups have much less payload capacity than you might expect. Especially if you get a big-cab 4×4 diesel.

You need an F-350 (or 3500 from the other guys) to get the 2-ton or even 3-ton payload ratings you see in the ads.

Onboard Scales Measure Up

But while you’ll be guessing how much you have in the back of a Ram or GM, Ford will tell you almost exactly. The Onboard Scales feature uses sensors to estimate what you’ve put in the vehicle.

The feature was simple to use. Press the scale button under Features, and you can see on screen approximately how much payload weight you’ve added. The Super Duty will also show you a visual representation using LEDs in the taillights.

It worked well, and I liked that you could enter the weight of the driver and passengers so that it would be accurate even if you and the family (or crew) weren’t in the truck when you loaded.

The simple bars work all the time, but to use the scale mode to give you a more exact weight, you must reset the truck weight each time. So, if you have a payload, travel to another site, and then add more cargo, you’ll need to do some math to know how much you have in the bed if you want the exact figure.

Smart Hitch Tells You Tongue Loads

Smart Hitch uses the Onboard Scales system to help you load your trailer more safely. Too much or too little tongue weight from your trailer can make it unstable as you tow, but gauging it by eye isn’t easy.

Smart Hitch tells you when your tongue weight is in range, and showed me that moving my car forward on the trailer by just around 6 inches brought it from potentially unstable to a much better and safer balance.

The exact pickup I drove has a maximum bumper tow rating of 15,119 pounds, which drops to 10,127 if you have a gooseneck or a fifth wheel (all of these numbers from Ford use 300 pounds of occupants).

The F-250 maxes out at 22,000 pounds, with an F-350 well north of 37,000. That’s 3.7 times what my driver’s license allows, so I went with something a bit smaller.

Around 6,000 pounds of rental trailer and compact sedan aren’t exactly taxing the truck’s capacity, but they are enough to test out the towing features. I can finally extend those tow mirrors without looking like an idiot.

Camera View Even With Tailgate Down

An automatic trailer light check isn’t new, but Ford does have it on the Super Duty. The system lets you cycle through the trailer lights three times to ensure signals, running, and brake lights are working. It can be accessed through the dash or the Ford app.

However, the automatic check would not work with my four-pin rental trailer despite the signals and lights functioning properly. I’ve used the GM’s light-check system successfully with a same-brand rental trailer, so I’m not sure what the problem was. If you’re using your own trailer, it’s not likely to be a problem.

The F-250 doesn’t have the configurable tailgate GM offers on the Silverado and Sierra or the split-gate Ford offers on its own F-150 trucks. It does, however, have parking sensors and a camera mounted to the tailgate’s upper rail. The feature lets the parking sensors work if you’re hauling longer items and lets you see behind you when you’re backing up to a loading bay or work site.

Ford is the only one with this camera feature, and it’s super handy. However, if you have it, you’ll have to take it easy on the tailgate. The electronics are exposed, and a new camera probably isn’t cheap.

Ford F-250 Dedicated Camera Button

What really makes Ford’s camera system different, though, is how easy it is to access. You get the usual side mirror views, overhead camera, hitch view, and the rest, but there’s a button. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Ram and GM both hide the cameras in the center screen.

Ford has a button sitting on top of the 12-inch center screen that does nothing else. From there, you can pick the view you want through an easy-to-understand graphics menu.

Right beside that button is another handy one: the engine exhaust brake. Ford has added an Auto mode to the usual On and Off choices.

“On” engages the brake to try and help stop the truck whenever you lift off the accelerator. “Auto” will let the truck coast but won’t slow it down unless you hit the brake or let it gain speed on a downhill unless you hit the pedal. It’s the smoother of the two modes, but having the choice is great.

Pro Trailer Backup Assist Saves Campground Heartache

Pro Trailer Backup Assist is Ford’s real party trick; unsurprisingly, it required the most preparation. For Blind Spot Assist with a trailer, the truck only needs to know how long the trailer is. For backup assistance, you need to do some driving.

First, you’ll need to apply one of Ford’s included stickers to the tongue of your trailer. The sticker can be placed in a wide range of places behind the hitch ball and will work with V-nose or straight tongue equipment.

To calibrate the system, you’ll need to do some driving, and this was the toughest part. The system guides you through the process, but the forward and reverse driving at low speeds, plus the number of sharp turns, meant I couldn’t do it on the street. I had to find a very big parking lot. At least you only have to do it once per trailer, and the system will remember the setup going forward.

The system was incredibly convenient for backing up in a straight or close to a straight line. Yes, that should be easy enough on its own, but anything to make that awkward campground reverse less of a spectacle is welcome. Who cares if the other guys watching make fun of you for turning the little dial? You’ll be done in a hurry.

Small Reverse Problems, Possible Driver Error

I ran into a problem with turning in reverse. When I cranked on the little dial, the system would only give me about 30 degrees of turn. I could back into a tight parking space, and it was wonderfully simple. It was even accompanied by the rear camera views changing to best show me where I was reversing. But I needed much more room than doing it the old-fashioned way.

I reached out to Ford to ask if this was a safety limit or an effort to stop jackknifing. A Ford rep told me that it was more likely a problem between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. OK, he didn’t quite blame me like that, but he did suggest that it was a problem with how I calibrated the trailer.

If I didn’t make tight enough turns, it could think that I was turning as tightly as the trailer would allow and would remember that. He also sent me a link to this video talking about how to set it up and how it should work.

So yes, Pro Trailer Backup Assist can make getting that trailer parked easier, but it brings some of its own new challenges to the table. At least you only need to set up a trailer once; after that, the truck remembers all of the important parts.

Beefy Powerstroke Diesel Options

With a trailer hitched up, I can really push the 6.7L Powerstroke diesel. This is the “low output” version of the V8, so it “only” makes 475 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque, and it’s still too much to fully unleash for more than a few seconds on the highway.

It’s enough power to push this big beast to 60 mph in 2000s-era sports car times, and enough that its still pretty quick today, even with that trailer behind.

Highway passing with the trailer? No problem. But it’s also shockingly good on fuel for something too heavy to need an EPA rating on the window sticker.

Ignore the numbers on the screen in my photos; they weren’t representative of my entire drive. I saw a rounding error away from 20 miles per gallon empty and 17 loaded. That’s on par with plenty of the gas-powered three-row crossovers I drive and much better than any gas-powered V8 or V6 half-ton I’ve tested.

If it’s not enough for you, spend a few thousand more and Ford will give you 500 horses and 1,200 pound-feet. In case you need to spin the earth backward to save Lois Lane or something.

The diesel options are expensive, though, with this one adding $9,995 to the sticker and the HO adding $12,495. The gasser doesn’t deliver the torque or the fuel economy, but that’s a big stack of cash.

King Ranch Cabin Just Misses Luxury Levels

King Ranch used to be the top of the Ford truck range, but that was a long time ago — back when it came with (impossible-to-maintain) saddle leather. Today, the leather is typically coated automotive leather, and there are Platinum and Limited grade trims above it.

I’ve already said the cabin is immense, and it’s also quite comfortable. Power running boards make it easy to hop in and out, and unlike GM’s power units, Ford’s boards don’t wobble around underneath me.

The engraved ranch tableau is super-cool, too, but the materials let down the side. Everything around the buttons you touch, as well as the screen, is low-grade plastic. It flexes and creaks when you touch it, which is unavoidable. I understand the need for work-ready materials in a working pickup, but parts of this dash feel like they’ll end up cracked in just a few years.

Ride & Comport

The ride, when empty, is what you expect from an HD truck. It shakes, it shudders, and you can feel nearly every imperfection on the road. The off-pavement feel is about the same.

With a trailer on the back and proper tongue weight, it starts to feel better. The shake and shudder are reduced because the suspension is in its working range. A moderately loaded F-250 feels like an F-150 when it comes to ride comfort.

2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty Review: Conclusion

The 2024 Ford F-250 Super Duty doesn’t offer the sublime ride and cabin of the Ram HD, and its engine and transmission combination feel less cohesive than the GM twins. But, a truckload of thoughtful details like the large lower window cutout and an abundance of tech to help make towing easier means it’s no surprise that Ford continues to be the top seller when it comes to pickups year after year.

It’s tough to find a complete package that’s more capable and more comprehensive. This truck carried a window sticker of $91,290, including destination, which isn’t exactly cheap. But with a starting price of $46,945 for a basic XL, there should be one available for most budgets.

2023 Ford Super Duty F-250 Tremor Off-Road Package

Can Ford Stay Ahead of the Competition With the 2023 F-Series Super Duty Lineup?

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