2023 Ford Super Duty Up Close: More Useful Tech Is Always Good

ford-super-duty-f-250-2023-01-exterior-front-angle 2023 Ford F-250 Super Duty | photo by Jennifer Harrington

It feels like new electrified pickup trucks are starting to appear every few months, making it easy to forget there’s still a huge segment of the buying public out there that needs workhorse trucks with big internal-combustion engines and frames rated for towing your house off of its foundation if need be. That’s why Ford still makes and sells tens of thousands of Super Duty pickups every year, and why it’s likely to continue to do so thanks to a freshening the company delivered for the 2023 model. It’s not an all-new Super Duty — in fact, it’s really not even all that different — but as Ford has successfully done for decades, it’s listened to its customers and made subtle updates and changes to keep its loyal base coming back for more. With the new ‘23 Super Duty, Ford once again looks set to do just that.

Related: 2023 Ford Super Duty: Ford’s Workhorse Gets Some New Grunt and Updated Tech

A Familiar Look

Ford insists on keeping certain design elements in play with the Super Duty, allowing it to be instantly recognizable to truck fans. The round wheel arches and dip of the beltline at the front window to help visibility with those massive sideview mirrors are a given. The rest of the truck gets a slight update for ‘23, bringing the face in line with much of the rest of the F-Series lineup and even resembling the next-generation Ranger pickup. Suffice it to say that the Ford looks as good as it ever has yet still provides a lot of customization for owners to get exactly the cab and bed style they want.

More Power Options

The addition of two new engines (bringing your choices to four) is also welcome, but I’m a little surprised there’s no electrification anywhere in the powertrain lineup. A full-on hybrid like the F-150’s PowerBoost might not make much sense for the extreme duty cycles of a Super Duty, but even adding some kind of electrically assisted boost would help improve efficiency. It’s been done through aftermarket supplier XL Fleet for years now, and I’m genuinely surprised Ford hasn’t done something like this itself.

Adding in a decent-size battery pack might also allow for Ford to include more useful versions of its ProPower Onboard generator system: Ford added the 2.0-kilowatt system to the 2023 Super Duty, but there are two more powerful systems available on the less robust F-150 PowerBoost hybrid. We’ve found those systems to be genuinely useful in all sorts of situations, like camping and tailgating. Given the Super Duty is used as a camper tow vehicle and an overlander rig by a huge portion of its customers, I find this omission rather curious and unfortunate.

Boosting the Tech

As with every new Super Duty, there’s some nifty new tech involved. For 2023, it’s in a few areas: The newly redesigned cabin continues its march upscale — in models sold to civilians, anyway, not ones sold to fleet customers — and now features digital gauges and a larger touchscreen. There’s also a head-up display for the first time, and a new system that can integrate several auxiliary cameras placed around the trailer you’re towing for full 360-degree camera views of both the truck and trailer.

The new hitch ball recognition system, which helps you hitch up a trailer by helping the backup camera identify the hitch ball and then operating the pedals, is an absolute marriage-saving feature, easily on par with Ford’s original innovative ProTrailer Backup Assist system. A new onboard scale that measures payload weight in the bed and displays the weight on your phone, dashboard or via LED lights in the taillights is also pretty nifty. But that’s what we expect from Ford in a new Super Duty: nifty ideas that aren’t gimmicky but are actually useful, practical solutions to problems you didn’t even know you needed solved.

What we don’t know yet about the new Super Duty is any of its most important specifications. Ford showed us the new truck without any horsepower, torque, fuel economy, towing capacity or payload numbers. The company insists all of this is improved over 2022, as expected for a new truck, but we’ll reserve final judgment until we see what Ford engineers hath wrought with their new powertrains and chassis modifications. Those numbers, as well as pricing, will be coming closer to the truck’s on-sale date in 2023 — which is also likely when we’ll be able to get behind the wheel and tow someone’s house off its foundation.

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