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.