2020 Ford Super Duty Review

2020 Ford Super Duty - A true work horse with some flare for a weekend adventure.


The Ford F-Series Super Duty truck line up is available with a total of eighteen variations starting with the base F-250 XL starting at $34,230 and the F-450 Limited at the other end of the spectrum starting at $91,125. Variations can be broken out by series and trim level. Ford offers the Super Duty as a F-250, F-350, or F-450 and then further by trim levels, XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. These heavy-duty work trucks with the Super Duty designation have been on the road since 1998 and have seen four different generations. The lineup received a significant refresh for 2020 which debuted at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.  2020 models feature a revised grille and tailgate design, upgraded materials in higher trim models, new wheel options and most notably, a new 7.3 L gasoline engine that makes 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. Competition includes the Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD, Ram 3500 HD, and Nissan Titan XD.

My test model for this review was a 2020 F-350 Lariat 4x4 Crew Cab with the 160" wheelbase that had a base price of $53,970, but was equipped with several options that brought the final MSRP to $70,690. Among those options was the new 7.3L V8 engine, the Tremor Off-Road Package, Lariat Ultimate Package, UTT Camera Pro Trailer Backup Assist, adaptive steering and more. This combined package blended the basic work truck with some useful features for the weekend. Capable of some off-road adventures, towing a boat to the lake or some house projects, the F-350 Super Duty proved to be very good at a lot of things. This massive truck weighs over three and a half tons and is six-and-a-half feet wide as well as tall. It is one truck that requires those side steps and some upper body muscle to pull yourself up into the cabin. The Super Duty features a military-grade, aluminum-alloy body that lowers the overall weight yet maintains structural integrity.

The Tremor Off-Road Package not only looks great on this truck, but it adds features such as 35" off-road tires (LT285/75R18), 18" low-gloss black painted wheels, lane-keep assist, rear electronic locking differential, front limited slip differential and performance front & rear shock absorbers. While this truck may be massive for many off-road adventures through the trails, it is capable of getting off the pavement.  Equipped with stowable loading ramps that fold into the sides of the truck bed... one option would be to haul your dirt bikes or ATVs to off-road park. The 2020 Tremor features also included selectable drive modes to apply to various road conditions which included normal, tow/haul, eco (a valiant attempt to make you feel better about those MPGs), slippery, and deep snow/sand.  A new rock-crawl mode is also unique to the Tremor package and combined with the factory 2" lift assures that there's not much this truck can't get through including water fording of 33 inches.

Another package that was added to this model was the Lariat Ultimate Package which is optional on the Crew Cab models. It adds many convenience features such as power-adjusted pedals with memory, power heated/ventilated driver and passenger seats, power telescoping/tilt steering wheel, PowerScope trailer tow mirrors, remote start and wireless charging pad to highlight a few. When driving a truck of this magnitude, many of these features were nice options as it is essential to be comfortably positioned in the driver's seat when driving a truck of this size.  Speaking of comfort, there is plenty of head and legroom for up to five passengers in the crew cab. The seats are positioned high and can easily be adjusted to accommodate drivers of all heights. The rear seats even included anchors for child safety seats along with room for an adult to climb in and tighten those belts for small children.

Under the hood was the new 7.3L V8 that produces 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. Considering the size of this truck, the 7.3L V8 performed well and is a nice middle ground option between the 6.2L V8 and the 6.7L diesel V8. Acceleration was decent and the it shifted into gears smoothly. The ride on the highway is bouncy (as expected) in a truck of this size, especially when equipped with the 35" off-road tires that add a fair amount of road noise. The steering and handling were surprisingly impressive for a truck with a 160" wheel base. Whether on the highway or around town, the truck was easily controlled and never felt too loose which is likely a benefit of the electronically assisted steering. The F-350 may have taken up more than one parking space at Home Depot, but I truly felt comfortable navigating parking lots and pulling this truck in and out of parking spaces. The 360-degree cameras, park assist and the truck's steering capabilities all work very well together. Brakes require more pressure than many are likely accustom to with a large part just due to the size and weight of the Super Duty. However, brakes could be improved to better accommodate its heavy-duty trucks.

The Super Duty runs on regular grade gas which is good considering that the truck doesn't even get an EPA rating like all other heavy-duty trucks. The fuel tank fills at 34 gallons and will generally offer around 350 miles per tank depending on how you drive. For my time in the Super Duty, my commute was based in suburban driving and I averaged around 10 MPG after a week of driving.

A truck like this is meant to work for you and that it does. Payload varies based on trim, cab, and box size and falls within the wide range of 2,890 up to 7,850 lbs.  Similarly, towing capacity varies from 12,900 up to 24,200 lbs. If these numbers are of high importance to your job or weekend hobby, be sure to check out www.Ford.com to ensure the truck you're considering offers what you need.  As for that weekend hobby, Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature is a great add-on if you're hauling trailers regularly in the Super Duty.  The package makes maneuvering a trailer a simple task. The system takes over the steering of the trailer via a knob in the center stack.  Utilizing the truck's cameras, the trailer is fully controlled via the dial knob while the driver's hands are off the steering wheel. As an added bonus, the F-350 offers telescoping side view mirrors that can extend to increase visibility. While I didn't have the chance to utilize this personally, I have seen it demonstrated and it's impressive.

Ford has made improvements inside the Super Duty as well. All Super Duty's feature Ford's SYNC 3 which is one of the most user-friendly systems available. SYNC 3 integrates with Apple Car Play, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. All three systems can operate via voice activation, the touchscreen or the steering wheel controls. The overall feel of the inside will greatly depend on the chosen trim level. Base models will have more hard plastics and smaller screens while the top tier Limited models will have materials and features that are at luxury car levels. The test truck sat in the middle of the line-up and had class appropriate finishes. The layout was standard with a touchscreen at the top of the center screen, climate controls below that and plenty of center console storage large enough to hide a laptop. Ford also offers a wireless charging pad for mobile devices located in the center console that will charge the device while the vehicle is running or in accessory mode.

Based on sheer size alone, you'll feel pretty safe behind the wheel of the F-350 Super Duty, but Ford has also integrated the latest Co-Pilot 360 Technology to add some safety reassurance.  Features such as pre-collision assist with auto emergency braking will alert the driver and apply the brakes should someone unexpectedly merge in front of you shortening your distance behind them.  BLIS (blind spot information system) with trailer coverage is particularly beneficial with large truck like this, the system will notify of obstacles in the driver's blind spot including a trailer that may be hooked up to the truck. Lane-keep assist, auto high-beams, rear view camera, hill descent control and trail control round out some of the available features built into Ford co-pilot 360 technology.

The Ford F-350 Super Duty is hard to miss, especially when it arrived in Velocity Blue (new color for 2020) and the Tremor Off-road Package. Both in person (and on Instagram), this truck garnered a lot of attention for it's brawny looks and massive size. This truck comes ready to work and play with comfortable amenities inside that make you forget that you're riding in a heavy-duty truck. Opening the doors was like letting the kids into a small apartment with plenty of personal space for three across the back.  If you're in the market for big truck the Super Duty lineup is worth a look. The F-Series has been there and done that for many years so reliability is there. Visit www.Ford.com to configure an F-Series Super Duty to your liking and see where the dollars land.

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.