First Look: 2011 Ford Super Duty
Jun 23, 10 | by: Bruce Smith
2011 FORD SUPER DUTY ROLLS OUT
Test drives reveal strong traits in Ford’s most popular working trucks
by Bruce W. Smith / Photos by Larry Walton & Ford
Few businesses know what their customers are going to want a year from now, or what the economy will be like when their new product rolls out five years in the future.
Such is the predicament automotive manufacturers face when planning for their next generation pickups: Their crystal ball has to be well-polished.
We’re pleased to report that a recent test drive of the 2011 Super Duty F-350 Crew Cab 4×4 turbo-diesel, and other iterations of the Super Duty line-up, showed Ford’s crystal ball working perfectly.
The new F-Series Super Duty looks nearly identical to the 2010 version save for a clam-shell hood and Ford Blue Ovals the size of footballs. But under the skin it’s a more capable truck on multiple levels.
Ride quality is also greatly improved as are interior noise levels. The single-rear-wheel models have far less rear-end jitter over rough road surfaces than the previous models, thanks to changes in both rear springs and shock re-design and tuning.
Ford spent a lot of time talking to its loyal, hard-working customers who depend on their Super Duties to perform day in and day out in the most demanding environments. Then they took those insights and focused on making changes from the inside out instead of outside in. The result is a package full of innovations to help heavy-duty pickup owners make better use of their time on the job.
ToolLink is a clever way to quickly inventory all the tools in your truck without doing anything more than turning on the ignition key. Ford’s mobile office management system can also connect directly to your office computer to bring your entire network into the Super Duty cab.
But the biggest news is under the hood. Nothing speaks efficiency to a Super Duty buyer like power, and the Blue Oval designed-and-built, 390hp, turbocharged 6.7L PowerStroke is Ford’s best truck diesel yet.
During my introduction to the new pickups in Arizona, I got a feel for its power and fuel economy while driving more than 200 miles over all sorts of roads and towing different trailers. Adam Gryglak, Ford’s lead diesel engineering manager, rode shotgun in an F-350 Crew Cab 4×4 diesel while I was behind the wheel.
“Five years ago,” says Gryglak, “our team started this new engine design with a clean sheet of paper, literally with a single-cylinder diesel on a bench, and worked our way out from there.”
This fresh start resulted in some noticeably different engine design features, which produced the results the Ford team wanted in power, quietness, durability and low emissions. (Ford’s previous diesel was built by Navistar/International.)
Diesel fuel economy hasn’t been discussed much by the pickup makers over the years. Now it’s a marketing point – and one of the many items displayed on the dash digital read-out.
We observed 21.6 mpg at the end of one 70-mile driving segment on open highway while hauling 1,000 pounds in the F-350 XLT’s bed. Impressive for a pickup packing a curb weight in excess of 7,000 pounds.