There’s not much of anything you can’t do with Ford‘s all-new 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickup. The cargo bed can hold 3 tons and secure anything imaginable. Five occupants enjoy limousine-level spaciousness. Towing capability — as much as 24,600 pounds — is as enormous as the payload.
The 2011 Super Duty is not the F-Series you want to buy for just driving around. That’s reserved for the “light-duty” F-150. The Ford Super Duties (F-250, F-350 and F-450) are “medium-duty” pickup trucks and are the tools of business users and people who tow heavy stuff like horse trailers, boats, campers.
Our Super Duty 4×4 tester, duded up in the swanky King Ranch trim, matched its outsized capabilities with an equally big-as-all-outdoors price. Base pricing was set at $48,680. Loaded with options the as-tested price came to $64,405.
The giant news for the 2011 F-Series medium-duty truck is the all-new Power Stroke V-8 diesel. Because of their load-hauling torque, diesel engines are much favored by medium-duty pickup buyers. Ford for years had its Power Stroke diesel made by an independent supplier, but a difference of opinions led Ford to design and manufacture its own Power Stroke for 2011 — and the result is outlandishly powerful and smooth.
Nothing diesel with 6.7 liters is ever going to be quiet, but Ford’s new Power Stroke tries. Keep the windows rolled up or the excellent sound system humming and you’ll never know you’re using a diesel. The only time the Power Stroke really clatters is when you first get this truck rolling.
The Power Stroke is all about effortless pull.
There is so much of it (evidenced by the almost preposterous 735 lb.-ft. torque rating), you can blast around slowpokes like you were driving a sports car. You always feel like there must be a tugboat pushing on the back bumper. We pointed the 2011 F-250 King Ranch up one of the steepest grades in the state and we might have been going downhill for all the Power Stroke noticed.
Like all diesel engines in this specialized part of the truck market, the Power Stroke costs money: it’s a $7,835 option and probably 70 percent of all Super Duty buyers will gladly check that option box. Diesels are that important in a medium-duty truck.
The heavy-duty TorqShift 6-speed automatic transmission that comes standard for all Super Duties has to be a beefy thing to handle all this thrust, so we forgive it for sometimes being indelicate. We were more annoyed by the speed the engine controller allows to bleed off after resuming a setting on cruise control. The lag before engine power returns seems interminable, and the whole sensation wasn’t helped by the fussy steering-wheel buttons that often required two presses to get what you want.
Wafting along at highway cruising speeds is a pretty fine thing in the 2011 F-250 King Ranch, though. There’s an amazing lack of wind noise for something so blocky with a roof 6.5 feet off the ground.
The King Ranch Crew Cab trim delivers some really spiffy leather for the seats, not to mention enough King Ranch logos to start your own King Ranch gift shop. The optional $1,875 navigation system and satellite radio seems a necessity in such a sumptuous interior, so now you’ve got a huge pickup with huge capabilities wrapped in an embarrassing amount of luxury.
But the medium-duty pickup market doesn’t mind. Here, pickups are tools purchased to do tough jobs with utter reliability, their cabins places in which owners typically spend countless hours. Ford’s 2011 F-250 King Ranch is a tool. Ask people who rely on their tools if they buy cheap ones. — Bill Visnic, Motor Matters
Next New On Wheels: 2010 Infiniti EX35 Journey
Next Bonus Wheels: 2010 Audi A3 TDI and Q7 TDI
2011 FORD F-250 KING RANCH
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger 4×4 Crew Cab pickup
BASE PRICE___________________ $48,860 (as tested: $64,405)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 32-valve OHV V-8 turbo-diesel
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 390 at 2800 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 735 at 1600 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 156.2 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 246.8 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) not published
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 40 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ N/A
2011 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE: The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers legendary Jeep capability and uncompromised on-road experience with new Quadra-Lift Air Suspension and Selec-Terrain systems. The 2011 Grand Cherokee is the most luxurious Jeep ever with sculpted new exterior and world-class interior design featuring 4 inches added rear legroom. The 290-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine delivers 23-mpg fuel economy and 500-mile range. Pricing for the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 starts at $32,995, while the Laredo 4×2 model starts at $30,995. (Source: Chrysler Group)
HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER: Many motorcycling fans place the Sportster in the role of the ideal beginner bike, probably because it’s the most reasonably priced bike in Harley’s lineup. In my opinion this is not a good call. My first Harley tester was a Sportster. I soon realized that many Harley bikes, though considerably larger and heavier than the iconic Sportster, were easier to ride and more comfortable, especially for those large of build. I wound up buying a modified Police Road King and a Softtail Springer Classic done up in “Old School” fashion. (Source: 2-Wheeling Today, Motor Matters)
ASK AUTO DOCTOR: There is an oil leak between the engine and transmission on my 1994 Ford Bronco with 106,000 miles. I was told it is a rear main oil seal. Is there any stop leak that you would recommend?
Answer: I suggest switching to high-mileage oil. During the warmer months, 20W40 should work fine, in colder months 10W30 or 40 will not affect starting on cold mornings. The high-mileage oil has additional additives designed for high-mileage engines. (Source: Ask the Auto Doctor, Motor Matters)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010