Ford’s F-250 Lariat Diesel
THE TRUCK FOR TED LASSO
Without the benefit of stables as a backdrop, the F-250 Super Duty – outfitted for this test occasion with the optional 6.7 liter Power Stroke diesel and Tremor Off-Road package – occupies the majority of my driveway and, if it was me making the monthlies, virtually all of my disposable income. Buying a pickup hasn’t been cheap since sometime in the mid-‘90s. But recently prices have jumped, incentives have been reduced, and a mid-level Super Duty Lariat with diesel torque and Tremor trim sits at $75K. As you’d hope, there’s more to the truck than just the window sticker. And if in the market for a heavy-duty truck, it’s all worth a look.
In the walkup you’ll know the F-250’s design team could care less about Tesla’s new Cybertruck; instead, the execs focus on respecting Ford’s 100+ years of truck leadership. In the Super Duty’s upright, almost slab-sided architecture there are few concessions to of-this-century thinking. The windshield is more aggressively raked, and you wouldn’t have seen these headlights in 1971, but on balance Ford’s Super Duty – at least visually – could be your father’s truck; that’s if, of course, your dad had done well.
Our Super Duty’s 160-inch wheelbase and 20+ feet of overall length seem almost as long as any trailer it might be towing. The payoff, of course, for these stretched dimensions is a more composed ride going down the road, and a full complement of interior room when seating five adult-sized passengers. In the Lariat trim you’ll enjoy expansive, leather-trimmed front buckets with both heating and cooling, as well as 8.0 inches of ‘productivity’ screen, various charging outlets and a wireless phone charger. You’ll also note hard plastics that, while not objectionable, communicate clearly that you’ve left the King Ranch and are now consigned to the more middle-class zip codes. If bothered by that, repeat after me: It’s a TRUCK!
And if you need reminding what it is, what it does and where it goes, look no further than under the F-250’s hood, where an outlay of $10K supplies you with Ford’s 6.7 liter Power Stroke diesel, delivering 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. Yup, that’s 1,000+ pounds, fully capable of towing both what’s in the barn and (probably) the barn itself. The diesel is one of three choices on the Super Duty menu: Standard power is a 6.2 liter V8, while the gas option is a 7.3 liter V8, which offers – according to Ford – best-in-class power and best-in-class torque for the gas-burning crowd.
Although the F-250’s stance and profile let you know it’s a truck, its comfort and composure diffuse any perceived truck negatives. At idle the diesel will remind you it’s a diesel, but there’s no real clatter; it’s simply more visceral. At anything above idle the power and torque are there, but don’t call attention to themselves unless, of course, you’re towing – at which point they’ll divert attention from all that’s behind you. Ford claims a maximum towing capability of 37,000 pounds when hooked up to a gooseneck trailer, 32,500 pounds when towing a fifth-wheel, and 24,200 pounds when pulling a conventional trailer. All of this would be impressive, even if you paid for it with a rough ride and disagreeable disposition. Today’s Super Duty has none of that; instead, it’s almost sublime.
If I suffered a disconnect – beyond its window sticker – with the F-250 it was the Tremor off-road trim. If boulder hopping in Moab is your future, buy Ford’s Bronco (or an old Wrangler) and tow it to Moab. Only those in the construction industry could easily accept the raised ride height of the Tremor package, whose cab would be essentially inaccessible without the powered running boards extending as the doors are opened. Better, I think, to lower the truck – and heighten its accessibility.
Ford’s product team, however, will point to the Tremor’s capability, balancing what customers need and want for work with ‘what they need for the great outdoors’. The suspension is unique to Tremor, while 35-inch Goodyears provide maximum traction. And to move those tires Ford requires you to opt for the 7.3-liter gas V8 or the 6.7 liter Power Stroke diesel.
And as you might know, with the advent of advanced trailering technology the shouting(!) at campgrounds is effectively over. Pro Trailer Backup Assist and Trailer Reverse Guidance take almost all of the angst out of trailering; hell, even a husband can now do it. Ford’s team, however, is still working on dumping the black water tank without having to smell the black water tank. (And when they nail that, we might buy another trailer.)
Although you can’t discount the Super Duty’s utility, the F-150 – especially with the EcoBoost V6 and hybrid combo – has never been more capable. If your perceived requirements necessitate going to the Super Duty, budget for it. Ideally, you’ll drive both the F-150 and F-250 – and tow with both – before writing a check.
Regardless of your age, if looking for one truck to be your last truck a new F-250 Super Duty could easily be that truck. You’ll want to do the math on the diesel option – without a trailer I saw between 15 and 17 miles per gallon, better than I typically get from my ’06, Hemi-equipped Grand Cherokee – but for worry-free towing and hauling it’s the business. All business.