“It’s the truckiest truck that ever trucked.” I’ll never forget those words, as they are how I ended my speech about our 2017 Truck of the Year, the Ford Super Duty, live on stage inside the baroque Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles during the Motor Trend awards gala. That year’s Truck of the Year was a nearly humiliating beatdown of the competition by the big Ford. As Scott Evans wrote back then, “There’s a clear winner early on, and the rest becomes a coronation. In this year’s Truck of the Year competition, we knew by the halfway point which truck would win.” I knew even earlier than halfway. The vote turned out to be unanimous, and in my mind, at least, there was no second place.
Fast-forward nearly two years and 21,542 miles, and parked in front of my house sits our handsome, two-tone long-term F-250 King Ranch. To say I’ve had a strained relationship with this particular Super Duty is, well, spot-on accurate. Just to recap, besides being charmed out of my trucker cap by the 925-lb-ft beastie at TOTY, one of the big reasons I wanted to take stewardship of the truck for a year was because I could park a fleet of them at my house. Ahem, I could park a fleet of them at my old house. My family moved to a much nicer house a few weeks after the King Ranch showed up. Nicer in every way save one—you see this coming—parking. Suddenly I was more than second-guessing my decision.
My big regret, however, is that I didn’t get to do as many trucky things with the truckiest truck that’s ever trucked as I would have liked. Yes, I had plans to haul an Airstream down to San Diego for my buddy’s 40th birthday party. Sadly, those plans fell through. I may or may not have purchased a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV for $85 (long story), but the idea was I’d snag a trailer and go grab Schrödinger’s sports car. Purposely avoiding the details, $85 cars tend to have paperwork issues, so that never happened. I can tell you from my previous experience with Super Duty trucks that both a lightweight, aluminum trailer and a basket-case, bullet-hole-ridden tiny Italian would have barely burdened the F-250.
Likewise, as this King Ranch had four-wheel drive with a transfer case, I’d planned on doing a bunch of off-roading. Sadly, the giant Ford only got into the nasty stuff once, when we used it as a support truck for a rock-crawling/sand dune/desert-running episode of Head 2 Head. The F-250 went everywhere the video crew needed it to go, but the report came back that it was tire limited. Yes, a report, as I spent the time behind the wheel of a Ram Power Wagon. I should add that those same tires easily lasted the F-250’s first 21,000 miles and from the look of them have another 21,000 to go.
If we never used the Ford for its proper “Intended Function” (the performance of which is one of the six key criteria of our Of The Year awards), what did we use such a monstrous machine for? Hauling furniture, mostly. A quick glance at my email (I searched for “F-250” in the subject line) reveals seven staffers who requested use of the Ford to move a bed or similar. I used the King Ranch not only to haul stuff when we moved but also to help three other pals move their junk around Los Angeles. Speaking of L.A., I was asked to transport a chair away from Drew Carey’s house (yeah, him), but as it turned out, a staffer had borrowed the Super Duty that week to drive a load of furniture to his family’s house in Idaho. Also, whenever Randy Pobst came to town, he used the giant to haul motorcycles all over Southern California.
In terms of reliability, no news is good news. As such, I have almost nothing to report. The F-250 received two regularly scheduled, performed at a Ford dealer for a total of $236.80. From time to time I saw the warning to refill the diesel exhaust fluid, and that was easily resolved with a trip to any auto parts store (an additional $93.08). Our long-term 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X Diesel, which saw an additional 10,000 miles over its time with us, cost $1,506 for routine maintenance and DEF refills. Occasionally I noticed that the massaging seats wouldn’t activate. This was a software issue within Sync, not an actual malfunction of the front seats. Obviously, not a major deal, and I resolved the problem by turning the truck off and on again. And yes, I did use the loud but effective seat massagers as much as possible. I mean, what better defines the American notion of luxury than a four-ton tow rig that caresses your backside? As far as damage goes, an unnamed culprit on staff—who never fessed up—did manage to crack the turn signal indicator on the passenger-side wing mirror. Also, the “Man Step” that retracts into the tailgate got a little messed up. At some point, it stopped going back in flush. An inch or so poked out on the driver’s side of the step. And that’s it.
With the twin exceptions of parkability and prodigious thirst (I saw between 15.6 and 15.9 mpg all year long), the only thing I didn’t like about this two-tone beauty is operator-related. The way my life is structured, I just don’t need a heavy-duty rig. Should I find myself with a free morning and feel like taking a drive, I’m going to take any other vehicle up into the canyons. That said, I enjoyed almost every moment I spent behind the behemoth’s wheel. For there’s simply majesty to be found when moving that much weight around as effortlessly as Ford’s torque-monster diesel engine does. I never tired of beating some kid in his mom’s Mercedes E 400 up an on-ramp. The Ford’s gone, and although I don’t need it, I do miss it. After all, it’s the truckiest truck that’s ever trucked.
Read more about our 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty here:
|SERVICE LIFE||13 months / 21,542 mi|
|OPTIONS||Preferred equip 700A ($8,795: 6.7L turbodiesel V8), King Ranch Ultimate ($2,960: blind spot monitor w/cross-traffic alert and trailer tow, LED fog-/taill-/headlamps, moonroof, multi-contour seats; power running boards, tailgate step); Tow Tech ($1,935: adaptive steering; auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers; lane-departure warning, rear-view camera, 360-degree camera system, LED CHMSL with camera); cast-alum wheels ($1,420); High Capacity Tow ($1,130: GCW = 25,700 lbs., max front springs, upgraded axle); Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support ($740); Trailer Camera & Trailer TPMS ($725); Spray-In Bedliner ($495); 3.55 Axle Ratio w/Electronic Locking Rear Differential ($390); 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Hitch Prep ($370); Gooseneck Hitch ($250); Skid Plates ($100); Roof Clearance Lights ($95)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$78,355|
|AVG ECON/CO2||16.1 mpg / 1.38 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$236.80 (2- Oil change, tire rotation, inspection, DEF)|
|NORMAL-WEAR COST||$93.08 (2-DEF)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$65,300 (83%)|
|*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years|
|2017 Ford F-250 4×4 King Ranch|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbodiesel, 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads|
|VALVETRAIN||OHV, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||405.9 cu in/6,651 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||440 hp @ 2,800 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||925 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||18.2 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||14.3-in vented disc; 14.3-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum|
|TIRES||275/65R20 126/123R (M+S) Michelin LTX A/T2|
|TRACK, F/R||68.3/67.2 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||250.0 x 80.0 x 81.5 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||53.0 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||8,020 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||59/41%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||40.8/40.4 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||43.9/43.6 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||66.7/65.9 in|
|PICKUP BOX L x W x H||81.9 x 66.9 x 21.1 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||50.5 in|
|WIDTH BET WHEELHOUSES||65.4 cu ft|
|PAYLOAD CAPACITY||3,450 lb|
|TOWING CAPACITY||17,600 lb|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.8|
|QUARTER MILE||15.5 sec @ 89.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||160 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.70 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.8 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,450 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$78,355|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/100,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||34.0 gal|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||14.9/22.9/17.7 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||Not rated|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||Not rated|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||Not rated|