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2011 Ford Super Duty Performance

This performance review was written when the 2011 Ford Super Duty was new.

The 2011 Ford Super Duty’s only downfall seems to be that it’s so big, so powerful, and so rough-and-ready that it’s tough to use on daily commutes. However, if you need a vehicle that tow, haul or climb mountains, reviewers agree that your best choice is between the F-250, F-350, and F-450.

  • "But the intermittent quivers never impinged on the comfort of the cabin crew, which can number up to five in this roomy crew-cab model.” -- Car and Driver
  • "As with any large object, you don't want to try to get this truck into the basement parking garage of your urban skyrise, but out on the lone prairie you will feel like a long-haul trucker, king of the road.” -- AutoWeek
  • "In the old days, an empty heavy duty pickup truck would punish all passengers, but our 2011 Super Duty was not only quiet enough for all four of its occupants to comfortably talk to one another at highway speeds, but when we arrived at our tow-test destination, our backs (and backsides) were quite relaxed.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "We did get enough time up and down the 2000-foot (elevation) hillclimb to know the gas engine was plenty powerful enough to pull a 9500-pound trailer with comfort and authority, and the exhaust makes a wonderfully throaty note when you have to put the hammer down.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Compared to the competition, the Ford Super Duty line is noticeably quieter, with wind and road noise pleasantly silenced. Even the trademark diesel clatter has been reduced to barely detectable levels.” -- Edmunds

 

Acceleration and Power

While acceleration in the Ford Super Duty trucks won’t exactly blow back your hair, reviewers say that the new engines have more than enough grunt to make up for it. For 2011, Ford has outfitted the F-250, F-350 and F-450 with a brand new set of gas- and diesel-powered engines. The new 6.2-liter gas-powered V8 makes 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, with its power routed to all four wheels through a six-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. The real star of the show is the new-for-2011 6.7-liter Powerstroke turbodiesel V8 engine, which uses the same transmission. Reviewers drool over the 390 horsepower and incredible 735 pound-feet of torque contained in this engine.

The F-250 and F-350 come standard with the gas V8, offering the Powerstroke diesel as a $7,835 option that reviewers say is worth the extra money. The F-450 comes standard with the diesel and does not offer a gas-powered option.

The EPA does not rate the fuel economy of heavy duty trucks, but you can expect all incarnations of the Ford Super duty to be thirsty, even with the improvements Ford made to the fuel economy of the new engines.  The base gas-powered engine can also drink E85 ethanol, which results in lower fuel economy but burns less oil overall.

  • "The six-speed undoubtedly contributes to this performance, with smooth upshifts and prompt kickdowns for passing or other hurry-ups.” -- Car and Driver
  • "For anyone who has driven other diesel-powered heavy-duty pickups, the first thing they'll notice about the new Ford Super Duty is the absence of the signature turbodiesel rattle and whine. In this regard, along with the hushed wind and road noise, the Super Duty lineup delivers the type of refinement we usually associate with the more consumer-oriented and gasoline-powered F-150 pickups.” -- Edmunds
  • "The new engine uses a composite graphite-iron block, which is stronger (and weighs less) than the cast-iron block it replaces, and for 2011, the turbocharger has been relocated directly atop the block, which along with two-stage injection helps to reduce a great deal of underhood noise and clatter." -- Four Wheeler
  • "A great diesel must be strong, powerful, built to last and, now, incredibly clean as well. The new 6.7-liter diesel seems to fit the bill.” -- PickupTruck.com
  • "While not silent, the new Power Stroke is so quiet that you can stand at the rear of the truck and hold a conversation and not have to raise your voice. In the cab, the engine noise levels are so low that it's hard to discern whether you're driving a gas or diesel truck. The fact that you can't smell any eau d'diesel makes the new engine and emissions package all the more impressive.” -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Although this nearly four-ton pickup will never be a nimble handler, reviewers say that it has good road manners for such a big truck. Its interior is especially quiet, and it has relatively low amounts of body lean for a heavy duty truck. One complaint reviewers have is that the rear end hops when the truck is driven over bumps with an empty bed, but this is true for just about every pickup on the market.

  • "The truck itself feels quite stable on the road, especially when you consider how tall the 4x4s stands and how much it weighs (ours tipped the scales at almost 3.5 tons).” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "What's it like to drive? Surprisingly quiet and comfortable. This is not your father's 18-wheeler. At speed on smooth pavement, you'll feel like you're driving your apartment building down the street.” -- AutoWeek
  • "Compared to the competition, the Ford Super Duty line is noticeably quieter, with wind and road noise pleasantly silenced. Even the trademark diesel clatter has been reduced to barely detectable levels.” -- Edmunds
  • "Whether driving on the road with 1000 pounds of cement in the bed of a Ford 350 Lariat or behind the wheel of a Ford 550 Powerstroke hooked up to a 26,000-pound load, the steering felt as smooth and responsive as a Taurus.” -- Popular Mechanics
  • "What we noticed compared with previous models is the 2011's steering has a slightly slower response to driver input. This would be a disadvantage in a sport sedan, but in a vehicle that's going to be used for towing heavy trailers, it makes it easier to smoothly make minor corrections while on the road.” -- Motor Trend
  • "The only negative comment in the F-350’s logbook had to do with occasional seismic tremors in the chassis on bumpy stretches, particularly those with washboard ripples. But the intermittent quivers never impinged on the comfort of the cabin crew, which can number up to five in this roomy crew-cab model.” -- Car and Driver

Towing and Hauling

The Ford Super Duty is an eminently capable tow and haul vehicle, reviewers say. The F-450 Super Duty has the highest conventional towing capacity in the class (16,000 pounds), the highest fifth-wheel towing capacity (24,400 pounds) and the highest payload capacity as well (6,520 pounds).  The base model (F-250 Regular Cab with two-wheel drive and single rear wheels) can tow up to 12,500. The least-capable of the Ford Super Duty trucks is the F-350 Crew Cab with 4WD and a single rear wheel. This truck can still tow 11,900.

  • "Still, we have to say the King of Hill was the Super Duty Power Stroke, pulling a 10,000-pound trailer up the 6-percent grade easily to 50 mph with plenty of power left for passing.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It’s inevitable that someone will find the performance ceiling of the new 6.7-liter diesel powertrain, but it will take a pretty big load to do it.” -- PickupTruck.com
  • "Put simply, were it not for the huge mirrors to give its position away, we could have simply forgotten that any sort of trailer was attached at all. No sway, no porpoising, no noise, no noticeable load on the rear suspension, and no significant drag.” -- Winding Road
  • "We drove the gas and diesel Supers Duty both with and without trailers, both on- and off-road. We hauled a 10,000-pound trailer several miles up and down a 6 percent to 8 percent grade and found the 6.7-liter diesel to be just heavenly.” -- AutoWeek
  • "Silky smooth, it adapts and adjusts to the driver and the weight. Pulling a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep hill for a couple of miles is child's play.” -- Detroit News
  • "Now, admittedly a truck with this kind of wheelbase isn't going to be the rock-crawler's darling, but if you need to get deep, really deep into the back country to, who knows, tow a town closer to a lake, it’s fairly capable.” -- Jalopnik
Review Last Updated: 5/12/11

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