Ford's strongest brand is the F-series. Big pickup trucks continue to sit at the top of the sales charts and fetch large profits. Cabela's is a giant in the outdoor goods retail business and trucks play a large role in outdoor recreation, so it doesn't take a genius to realize that Ford cherishes its role as the official truck of Cabela's. The Cabela's Edition F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks are the pinnacle of that relationship.
Ford's research indicates that at least 76 % of F-series buyers regularly hunt or fish, so offering a package that outfits America's most popular trucks with some common upgrades for outdoors enthusiasts makes for a good business case. Just as there are die-hard Ford fans who would not dream of driving a Chevy, some hunters would never dream of buying gear anywhere but Cabela's. Teaming up with Cabela's allows Ford to affirm its tough truck image; Cabela's, for its part, gets a lot of free advertising.
At first glance, it seems like almost nothing has been changed from a stock Super Duty pickup. The exterior of the F-250 Cabela's Edition looks remarkably similar to a standard FX4 truck, but a closer look reveals running boards, two-tone paint, unique wheel flares, mud flaps, an abundance of Cabela's logos, and a bed mat if you don't opt for the spray-in bedliner. Inside, there are two different configurations for Cabela's Edition trucks. A basic Cabela's package runs $2375 and includes cloth captain's chairs, wood trim on the center stack, all-weather floor mats, front and rear locking gun cases, and more Cabela's logos. For those looking for a more upscale interior, the $5390 Cabela's luxury package adds Aniline leather seats, a premium stereo with the SYNC system and a subwoofer, and a navigation system.
A torquey 6.4-liter turbo-diesel V-8 provides enough power to tow virtually anything you can find, and the smooth-shifting five-speed automatic means you won't spill your coffee on the way to the boat launch. Yes, this is the same diesel found in other Super Duty trucks, but it's a great engine and there's no point in changing things that aren't broken. Add Ford's integrated trailer brake controller (along with wiring for 4- or 7-pin trailers) and this truck is ready to haul any conventional trailer right from the factory. You'll still need to get your own hitch for gooseneck or fifth-wheel-style trailers, but the aftermarket does a wonderful job of taking care of these needs.
For our day of fishing on Lake Erie, we had Ford remove the regular SYNC and navigation system in favor of the Ford Work Solutions computer (an $1195 option) and Tool Link system to allow us to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on our gear and make sure everything we needed for the trip was loaded in the truck before we headed out. Driving 20 miles to the boat to realize you forgot the cooler with snacks and drinks is never fun and Tool Link should be able to prevent that. We were easily able to tag our gear, name each item, and tell exactly what was loaded in the bed. Everything worked as it should except the metal ammo box, which interfered with the RFID system and never registered as being in the bed.
Ironically enough, our test of the Cabela's Edition Super Duty did not include any towing. The boat we used for a day of walleye fishing was already at the dock to allow an early start to our day on the lake. Actually, most of the fishing gear was on the boat, too, so we looked a little foolish with a gigantic truck and little more than a pair of fishing poles in the bed. Lake Erie looked ideal for a day of 'eye fishing, but the wind quickly changed directions and the waves started rolling in. We decided to try our luck with some inland trout fishing instead of suffering through a day of rain and increasing waves.
So we headed to Rockwell Springs Trout Club, in Castalia, Ohio, which is more like a golf course for fishermen than anything else. A limited number of members fish the stream, the lawn actually looks nice enough to be a golf course, and there's a clubhouse with great food and drink to cap off your day. It's quite a nice deal if you enjoy fly fishing.
Initially, angling at Rockwell Springs looked too easy. There is an abundance of trout in the club waters and the stream isn't terribly wide. Even a novice fly fisherman could toss a fly out and get it in front of a fish. But fly fishing is somewhat like driving in NASCAR--the theory is easy enough to understand, but the execution requires a substantial amount of finesse and skill. It took us a few hours to find the right fly and technique, but we eventually caught a few fish.
After a long day of casting, the crew cab truck's roomy interior was especially welcome for four adults and their delicate gear. The Ford Super Duty is incredibly quiet for a truck of this size and the diesel engine is very refined. With the windows up, it's difficult to tell you're in a diesel truck at all. A back-seat passenger kvetched that the air conditioning wasn't powerful enough to cool down the back of the truck, but that was the only complaint we heard.
The Ford Work Solutions computer isn't quite as nice to use as the standard Ford navigation system interface. You're required to accept the terms and conditions of the navigation system before you can even listen to the radio, which is beyond annoying; it's easy to forget to do this and drive several miles wondering why the radio isn't working. Those looking to use a Super Duty for work during the week and recreation on the weekends might find that the benefits of the Work Solutions system outweigh the inconveniences, but those who are simply looking to keep track of recreational equipment are probably better off with a regular navigation unit and a checklist of required items.
If you're looking for the Ultimate Father's Day Gift and your father happens to be the outdoorsy type, look no further. The Ford F-250 Cabela's Edition Super Durty is big, expensive, and a great way to get Dad to his favorite hunting or fishing spot. And when you hose off the mud, it even looks nice enough Mom won't be mortified to be seen in it on the way to the store.
2009 F-250 FX4 Crew Cab Styleside
Base Price: $38,510
6.4-liter Diesel V-8: $6,895
Torqushift 5-speed Automatic Transmission: $1,490
LT275/65R20E OWL All Terrain Tires: $1,720
Cabela's Luxury Package: $5,390
- Cabela's Floor Mats
- Painted Tublar Side Steps
- Power Sliding Rear Window
- Dual Zone HVAC
- Memory Seats
- Adjustable Pedals
- Backup Sensors
- Heated Seats
- Lockable Storage Under Rear Seats
- Lockable Console Storage
10,000 lb GVWR Package: $185
Power Slide Moonroof: $995
Ford Work Solutions computer: $1,195
Tool Link: $1,120
Cable Lock: $120
Traction Control: $130
Transmission PTO: $250
Heavy Duty Alternator: $75
Rear View Camera: $470
Stowable Bed Extender: $250
Total Price: $59,770