2005 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4 x 4
When 8 is Greater than 10
Ford’s V-10 powered F-250 Super Duty is good, but the eight-cylinder diesel version is far better.
About halfway up a 7 percent grade with a trailer in tow, it hit us. With the V-10 thrumming along at a lofty 4,400 rpm, we had to wonder: Would a person who had a sizeable trailer buy this truck with this engine?
On paper, the 6.8-liter V-10 offers 362 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 457 pound-feet of torque down at 3,250 rpm. That’s 62 more horses and 92 more foot-pounds of torque than the 5.4-liter V-8.
On the pavement, with a trailer in tow, you might not know you had all that extra power underfoot. If you didn’t know it had the Triton V-10, you might have guessed it was a V-8. Without a trailer in tow, we could feel the added torque through the seat of our pants, in the form of smoother acceleration at low rpm and fewer downshifts.
That’s somewhat significant because the model we tested came with an optional five-speed automatic transmission, previously available only with the diesel.
On the highway, without a trailer in tow, the truck would torque its way around slower traffic without kicking down a gear or two. It also made it more civil during city—well, suburban—driving.
However, romp the accelerator from a dead stop and you will light the LT265-70R-17 rear tires in a big hurry. As it goes through the gears, all five of them, it becomes clear that Ford’s calibration engineers put in some overtime. Regardless of load, shifts were firm yet refined. The transmission changed gears crisply and smoothly, enough to make the five-speed well worth getting.
The new three-valve Triton V-10 also added $600 to the sticker price, but it would be money better spent to get the 6.0-liter diesel. Compared with the old 7.3-liter diesel, the 6.0 was much quieter, yet it gives up nothing in acceleration. It also yields a solid 15 miles per gallon of fuel, even while towing, which is something the Triton V-10 could never do.
The diesel also comes with hydraulically boosted brakes. The V-10’s brakes are vacuum-assisted, and don’t offer the same precise feel and power. The antilock mode also isn’t as good as it is in the diesel model.
Put a diesel in this truck and it instantly would be more likeable, at least for someone who needs it for towing. What makes the Super Cab so nice is that it has four doors—though the aft pair are rear-hinged—but its wheelbase is considerably shorter than the Crew Cab. With the 6.75-foot bed, the difference is 15 inches, which doesn’t sound like much on paper.
In reality, it makes the truck much easier to handle in tight spaces such as bank drive-throughs and perpendicular parking spaces at the grocery store, you know, everyday stuff. If you can only afford one truck for towing and commuting, the Super Cab is a viable alternative to the more cumbersome Crew Cab.
After all, it’s available with the same equipment, such as dual trailer connectors: four-pin flat and seven-blade round. Ford is the only one of the “Big Three” to provide them both from the factory. No Mickey Mouse wiring harnesses needed here.
Our test model also came with an integrated trailer brake controller, which works in conjunction with electric braking systems.
It allows the driver to power “the trailer’s electric brakes with a proportional output based on the towing vehicle’s brake pressure.” That may not sound all that cool, but if you have one of those “Gear Box” trailers for hauling ATVs, sand rails and dirt bikes, it could extend the life of your truck’s brake pads and shoes.
For daily duties, the truck’s worst drawback was the ride, which was stiff because it’s a 4 x 4, so stiff that it often keeps the shoulder belts locked on bumpy stretches of concrete freeway. The shorter wheelbase accentuated it somewhat, but it’s also what made it easier to maneuver. That’s the tradeoff and one that might be alleviated by choosing a more softly sprung two-wheel drive model. Like many medium-duty trucks, the ride improved with a trailer in tow.
Inside, the ’05 Super Duty received a mildly restyled dashboard and new faux carbon fiber appliques on the door panels and console, which has to be one the largest of any truck on the market. It’s just cavernous, almost to the point of having an echo.
Seats were firm, yet comfortable. They were supportive enough so that long trips weren’t fatiguing, and the optional adjustable accelerator and brake pedals meant that there was plenty of legroom available regardless of seat position.
On the exterior, the Super Duty gets a new grille that incorporates elements of the Mighty F-350 TONKA concept truck displayed on the auto show circuit in 2004. The result is a truck that looks as rough and tumble as a Hummer H2.
And like the Hummer, the only thing it really needs is a diesel engine.
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
0-60 towing... NA
40-60 towing... 9.26 seconds
0-60 non-towing... 8.32 seconds
40-60 non-towing... 5.26 seconds
Engine... 6.8-liter V-10
Horsepower... 362 at 4,750 rpm
Torque... 457 pound-feet at 3,250 rpm
Compression ratio... 9.2:1
Transmission... Five-speed Torqshift automatic overdrive
Axle ratio... 4.30:1
Fuel capacity... 29 gallons
Tire size... Lt265-70R-17
Brakes... Four-wheel disc with antilock
Suspension... Front: live axle with coil springs and trailing arms; Rear: five leaf with live axle.
Curb weight... 6,299 pounds
Tow rating... 5,000 pounds with conventional hitch, 12,500 with weight distributing hitch
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating... 9,800 pounds
Gross Combined Weight Rating... 19,000 pounds
Overall length... 231"
Maximum width... 80"
Price as tested... $38,245
1994 24’ Nordic
Customer service... 800-392-3673
Web site... www.fordvehicles.com