The Super Duty models are the brutes among Fords pickups heavy-duty trucks designed for serious hauling and towing. The Super Duty line was redesigned for 1999, and though it is based on the F-150, it sports different styling, roomier interiors, and stronger chassis and engines.
All Super Duty models weigh more than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight which is the weight of the truck and what it can carry in passengers and payload. This means they are exempt from federal safety requirements for lighter-duty trucks and cars, but a driver-side airbag is standard on all models and a passenger-side airbag that can be disabled by a dashboard switch is optional.
Styling differences from the F-150 are most pronounced in the front, where a massive grille dominates the Super Dutys nose. Models include regular cabs, four-door Super Cabs (with two conventional front doors and two rear-opening rear doors) and four-door crew cabs (with conventional front-hinged doors). Wheelbases range from 137 inches on the regular cab to 172 inches on the crew cab with dual rear wheels.
The Super Duty lineup starts with a gross vehicle weight of 8,800 pounds for the three-quarter-ton F-250 model and goes up to a GVW of 11,500 for the F-350 with dual rear wheels (two on each side) and the 7.3-liter diesel V-8. Ford brags that it has the highest GVW for any one-ton pickup.
Just because the Super Duty models are beasts of burden doesnt mean the interiors are all vinyl and steel. Cloth upholstery, leather captains chairs and a power drivers seat are available to coddle front occupants. A split front bench seat includes a folding center armrest that is large enough to stow a laptop computer. A folding three-place rear bench seat is standard or optional on Super Cab and crew-cab models.
Under the Hood
The biggest engine available in the F-150 is the smallest engine for the Super Duty models: a 5.4-liter V-8 with 260 horsepower. A 310-hp 6.8-liter V-10 and a 7.3-liter diesel V-8 with 250 hp (15 hp more than last year) also are available. All engines team with a five-speed manual transmission.