This thing is a total workhorse. I must have put 500 miles on this truck during my time behind the wheel and put it through all kinds of scenarios. One weekend I hauled my race car, trailer, and equipment to the track; the next weekend I crammed the cab full of people and the bed with their camping gear for a weekend trip to Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR race. Both weekends the truck proved to be right in its element and received numerous compliments from other Ford truck owners, and a few snarls from Chevy and Dodge guys.
The 6.7-liter Powerstroke engine is amazing, and surprisingly quiet. One buddy who drives a Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins questioned the Ford’s diesel powerplant when I pulled up to his house. “No way that’s a Powerstroke,” he said. But a diesel it is, and it towed my 4800-pound trailer and race car combo like nothing was there. The backup camera is a very welcoming feature when hooking up a trailer.
The interior of this F-250 King Ranch is awesome, with its brown leather seating surfaces and black carpeting; and although it only has five seat belts, it’s roomy enough for more people comfortably. My technology-geek rear-passenger DJ was impressed with Ford’s SYNC system and had no problems hooking up his iPod.
The biggest problem with this truck is the big $65,000 price tag. With the starting price just shy of $50,000, it’s way too easy to push the sticker price beyond a reasonable amount. But it is one hell of a truck.
Wow, what a huge improvement over the old 6.4-liter Powerstroke. Very, very quiet, a ton more power, and super smooth. We get behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s newest Duramax in a few days, and that engine has a lot to live up to in order to match the Ford’s NVH characteristics, even if the Chevy is rated to tow more.
I recently sampled an F-250 with similar equipment save for the new 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 and FX4 trim goodies. I was not terribly impressed by the 6.2-liter engine or the FX4’s ride quality. Perhaps that’s why I was so blown away by the 6.7-liter’s smoothness and the King Ranch’s unladen ride. Yes, it’s a big truck and it’s going to ride rather rough until you load up the bed or hook up to a trailer, but it’s livable for daily use. I’d probably give the nod to Dodge’s 2500/Cummins combo for a daily driver that sees serious towing on weekends due to Dodge’s incredible ability to make such a big truck behave so well when it’s empty.
Even with tougher emissions regulations in effect and the talk of rising fuel prices surrounding the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s never been a better time to buy a big diesel truck. Each entry in the market is more capable and refined than ever before. But this can’t last forever. Eventually these monsters will have to be scaled back. Enjoy them while it lasts.
I was disappointed by the storage space in the rear seat area. Was hoping to throw a large filing cabinet into the back of the cab. Seeing as the rear seat cushions flip up against the back, this should be easy enough, right? I wish. Ford’s incorporated a nifty set of lockable under-seat bins in back, and while they’re great for holding knick knacks, tools, or other personal items, they’re also bolted in place.
The new 6.7 is a giant improvement. Extremely quiet, gobs of power, and is fairly linear and smooth in its responses.
I put the F-250 to work over the weekend, hauling 4320 pounds of wood and concrete to the landfill. Both loaded and unloaded, the new Super Duty moved comfortably and confidently, thanks largely to that new 6.7-liter diesel engine. I was particularly impressed with the smooth shifts of the six-speed automatic, as many of these high-torque heavy haulers often display compromised shift quality. You won’t mistake it for a Mercedes-Benz gearbox, but an F-250 driven normally shifts consistently without significant lurches.
Remember that Chevy ad with Howie Long making fun of Ford’s tailgate step? My labor this weekend proved just how out of touch Chevy’s agency was when they conceived that spot. I filled the bed with chunks of concrete ranging from fist-sized pieces to eighty-pound hunks. Loading those biggest pieces required climbing into the bed, a feat that would have been impossible without the step. Instead of simply “walking up the stairs,” you’d be forced to set your load on the tailgate, hoist yourself in, bend down and pick up your load, and then move it where needed. The tailgate step definitely makes work faster and easier on your body.
I was a bit frustrated by Ford’s bed extender. In its stored position, it takes up a fair amount of space in the box and removing it requires a Torx driver larger than anything I own. It would be nice if the two bolts were replaced with a quick-release system for when you have an unexpected need to remove it.
The cabin is comfortable and the controls are quite intuitive, however I was a bit surprised by how poor the materials are in this $65,000 truck. Sure, you don’t purchase a heavy-duty truck for the interior, but you do buy a King Ranch for the interior. Everything looks nice enough, but the plastics are seriously cheap, creaking and squeaking almost every time you touch them. Even the turn signal has this disconcerting crunch-squish when you activate it.
This sure is a big monster. I’m ashamed to say that, unlike some of my colleagues, the only things I had to haul in my evening with the King Ranch were some large, empty cardboard boxes to the recycling station. I got the job done, needless to say.
The ride is pretty good for an empty heavy-duty pickup, but riders still experience plenty of head toss. Acceleration is quite good for such a large vehicle, and the quick-shifting six-speed automatic does its job commendably well.
If I were buying a truck, I’d probably tend toward a more basic (and less expensive!) work truck, but I can’t deny that the King Ranch package adds some nice luxurious features, such as thick, baseball-glovelike leather and attractive brownish bed-rail covers.
2011 Ford F-250 King Ranch 4×4
Base price (with destination): $49,835
Price as tested: $64,405
6.2-liter V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Driver/passenger air bags
Powerscope trailer tow mirrors
Manual locking hubs
Trailer tow package
Dual-zone climate control
AM/FM single CD/MP3 player
Sirius satellite radio
Locking and removable tailgate
Options on this vehicle:
6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel V-8 engine — $7835
Navigation radio with in-dash screen — $1875
DVD ROM, AM/FM stereo, in-dash 6 CD changer with MP3
LT275/65R20 off-road tires — $1375
Power moonroof — $950
Tough bed spray-in bedliner — $450
King Ranch chrome package — $445
Limited slip rear axle with 3.55 ratio — $390
Tailgate step — $375
Stowable bed extender — $250
Electronic shift-on-the-fly 4×4 — $185
Upfitter switches (4) — $125
Ford works cable lock — $120
Engine block heater — $75
200-Amp alternator — $75
Key options not on vehicle:
Size: 6.7L turbocharged diesel V-8
Horsepower: 390 hp @ 2800 rpm
Torque: 735 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Wheels/tires: 20-inch wheels
275/65R20 all-terrain tires