1999 Ford F-350

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1999 Ford F-350

Available in 54 styles:  F-350 SD Regular Cab shown
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Kelley Blue Book Retail
$4,250–$7,325

Est. MPG

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Expert Reviews

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Ford's redesigned F-350 pickups certainly separate the urban cowboys from the people who put trucks to serious use.

The popular F-150 is often used as a work truck, of course, but it is a relatively light-duty full-size pickup that's employed as a car substitute more frequently than as a beast of burden.

The heavier-duty F-350, on the other hand, is driven by folks with a lot of weight to carry or tow. That can mean anything from a building contractor who wants to fill the cargo bed with concrete blocks to a country squire with a four-horse trailer.

Consider the payload and towing capacity of the F-350 I tested compared with the F-150:

Thanks to its heavy structure and powerful available engines, the F-350 can haul as much as 6,975 pounds, and tow up to 14,534 pounds. The test vehicle, a regular-cab, four-wheel-driver equipped with Ford's gutsy new V-10 engine and a four-speed automatic, had a payload of 4,450 pounds (well over two tons) and a towing capacity of 14,100 pounds (over seven tons).

By comparison, a regular cab, 4wd F-150 with automatic has a maximum payload of 1,740 pounds, and a trailering limit of 7,800 pounds.

The demarcation line between the regular-duty Ford pickups and the more commercially oriented Super Duty F-Series trucks such as the F-350 pickup is a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 8,500 pounds. (A GVW of 8,500 means the vehicle can be loaded until it weighs a total of 8,500 pounds, including the weight of vehicle.)

Thus, the regular-duty pickups include the F-150 and the F-250 with a GVW of less than 8,500 pounds. The Super Duty F-Series pickups include the beefier, over-8,500-pound F-250 and the F-350.

The new-for-1999 F-350 doesn't have a body design as avante garde as the F-150's. But it is one heck of a lot more stylish than its predecessor. The hood sculpting is pronounced, and the grille, with its rectangular shape and rounded corners, evokes the retro look of the front end on the full-size Dodge Ram pickup.

Like the F-150, the F-350 tester had a surprisingly comfortable, carlike cab. The comfort ranged from supportive seats to handy controls and instruments. I thought the clever bench seat added a comfortable and convenient touch: It included a center backrest section that could be folded down to create a large armrest/console complete with a storage compartment.

But getting into that cab wasn't quite as comfortable and carlike in the lofty 4wd F-350. It was a bit like climbing up into your tree fort.

The climb didn't bother me nearly as much as it bothered my wife, who is less than 5-foot-2. Her annoyance grew even more when I asked her to get behind the wheel and give me some driving impressions.

"It doesn't have an assist handle on the driver's side," she complained. "I guess they assume 'the little woman' will always be the passenger."

The interior's comfort was complemented by a heavy dose of quietude, which was achieve d through the designers' considerable efforts to isolate sound and vibration.

If the comfort and sound levels in the F-350 tester rivaled those of the F-150, the ride and handling did not. The F-350 has much heavier fish to fry, and that greater load capacity is reflected in a choppier ride, and a less athletic demeanor in brisk turns.

The F-150 is a sleek running back compared with this offensive tackle.

In addition to giving away ride and handling to get the F-350's Samsonesque work ethic, you give up fuel economy, as well. This is because the F-350 weighs significantly more than a comparable F-150, and is powered by considerably larger engines.

The base engine in the F-350 is a 5.4-liter V-8 that develops 235 horsepower and a substantial 335 foot pounds of torque, which is the key measure of truck engine performance.

The tester was equipped with Ford's brand-new 6.8-liter V-10, an option that whips up 275 horses, and a whopping 410 foot pounds of rque. Real torqueophiles can get the F-350 with an improved 7.3-liter diesel V-8 that engenders 235 horses, 500 foot pounds of torque, and superior fuel economy.

Because of its considerable GVW, the F-350 isn't assigned EPA mileage ratings. The V-10 F-350 I drove got a hair over 10 miles per gallon in predominantly city driving.

FORD F-350 XLT 4X4

Base vehicle: Part-time 4wd with manual locking hubs, 5.4-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, power disc/drum brakes, power steering, 16-inch alloy wheels, LT265/75RX16 all-season tires, driver air bag, air conditioning, power doors, power windows, power mirrors, tilt steering, cruise control, stereo/cassette, split bench seat with console feature, front tow hooks.

Test model: 6.8-liter engine, four-speed automatic transmission, limited-slip differential, four-wheel anti-lock braking system, passenger air bag, trailer towing package, sliding rear window, spare tire and wheel, trailer tow mirrors, roof clearance lamps, chrome rear step bumper, power driver's seat, keyless entry.

Base price: $23,880

Test model: $29,555

EPA city rating: N/A

Test mileage: 10

Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles.




    Expert Reviews 1 of 5

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