2020 Ford F-350 King Ranch — Ford redesigns 2020 Super Duty trucks

By Jim Prueter

(August 8, 2020) Ford was a bit late to the party following major refreshes for Ram, Chevrolet and GMC super duty pickup trucks but now for 2020 its America’s truck leader Ford’s turn with a heavily refreshed lineup of Super Duty’s of their own.

Ford Super Duty trucks include the F-250, F-350 and F-450. Six trim levels are offered for 2020 including the XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Improvements include updated interiors, far more advanced technology, tougher more aggressive exterior styling elements, and significant improvement driveline power with greater towing and hauling capability delivering the highest payload rating as well as the best conventional goose neck /fifth-wheel towing of any Ford Super Duty ever.

For this review Ford supplied us with the F-350 Super Duty King Ranch trim level that with options had a total MSRP of $80,845. Our F-350 was powered by a newly revised and optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V-8 with 475-hp and 1,050 lb-ft torque. The standard 6.2-liter V-8 is carryover for 2020. However, that engine (and the other two powertrains) is backed by a new 10-speed automatic gearbox, which is based on the unit in the F-150 but strengthened for the Super Duty. Also new for 2020 is an optional 7.3-liter gasoline V-8 that makes 430-hp and 475-lb.ft torque.

Capability bragging rights among the big three super duty trucks is fiercely competitive. Ram for example recently held the record of the biggest hauler with a massive 1,000 lb.ft of torque. Chevrolet and GMC weighed in with “just” 910 lb.ft of torque but out distanced Ram’s HDs towing capacity by 400 lbs with a capacity of 35,100 pounds. The blue oval responded with 37,000 pounds towing capacity thanks mainly to a muscled up version of their 10-speed automatic transmission equipped in the F-450.

Ford beefed up its ever-competitive technology front by including a standard FordPass Connect embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices and charge up with wireless charging and USB-C ports.  Available driver-assist technology includes Lane-Keeping Alert, Blind Spot Information System that works while trailering, and Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking.

Our King Ranch trim has a definite Western bent including its Star White and Platinum  two-tone paint, front and rear bumpers and running boards. The rich tobacco colored Java interior with its unique Kingsville antique affect leather-trimmed seating surfaces, woodgrain applique, and branded running W’s through the interior. Seats can both heat up and cool down depending on the season.

Our test F-350 came equipped with the $3,350 optional King Ranch Ultimate Package that includes LED fog and taillamps, quad LED headlamps, a huge twin panel moonroof, multi-contour seats, power-deployable running boards and a tailgate step.

While we did not get the opportunity to test our Super Duty’s towing and hauling capabilities, we do like the standard Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System with Pro Trailer. The images are stitched from four cameras for a view of all sides of the truck. Rear View Camera — Guidelines in center dash display help you hitch truck to trailer. Trailer Reverse Guidance — Digitally expands the view via cameras in the sideview mirrors and visual guides in the center dash screen show the direction of the truck and the trailer, with guidelines changing with steering wheel movement. Pro Trailer Backup Assist is activated by rotating an instrument panel knob left or right where you want the trailer to go while the system controls steering.

It’s also worth knowing that the F-350 is a significantly heavier truck and comes with a 1-ton capacity as compared to the F-150 ½ ton pickup. That results in a ride that’s especially firm and bouncy. If you’re looking for a luxed up daily commuter truck you’ll want the F-150. Conversely for heavy duty hauling you’ll want to opt for one of the Super Duty’s but can still tart it out with luxury appointments.

We were very impressed with the smoothness and performance of the new 6.7-liter diesel. Acceleration was powerful and instantaneous. Steering was on-center, handling confident and predictable, visibility excellent, and braking awesome. It would be hard to imagine a better engine and transmission paired with the F-350 but I have heard glowing reports about the new gasoline powered 430-horsepower 7.3-liter V8. Some say it actually feels quicker than the 6.7-liter diesel.

Overall, most know that the F-Series Ford trucks are the best-selling truck in America for over 43 years and the best-selling vehicle of any kind in America for 38 years. Ford says it’s sold more that 30 million since the model line launched in 1977. In 2019 Ford sold more than 890,000 F-Series trucks down from more than 909,000 in 2018. That’s one F-Series sold every 35 seconds 24/7/365. Lined up bumper to bumper it would stretch from California to New York and part way back again.

By almost any numerical measure, the new Super Duty Ford trucks beats the competition. But since I would need to test and drive the big three trucks back to back over the same course and within a day or two of each other I couldn’t pick a winner.

A final note is that Ford has just introduced the 2021 F-150 to the media declaring that it’s 92 percent new or revised including every exterior panel. Ford says they will be offering a new PowerBoost hybrid offering for the first time ever taking the place of the Raptor trim level that will take a year or so off. Ford did not comment on changes for the 2021 Super Duty changes or offerings.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $62,220
Price as Tested: $80,845 including destination charges
Engine Transmission: 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: Not rated and not required for this vehicle by the EPA
Seating: 5

Where Built: Kentucky

Crash Test Results: There are no rated crash test results by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Competes With:
Chevrolet Silverado HD
GMC Sierra Heavy Duty
Ram Heavy Duty

Fab Features:
Powerful new gasoline and diesel engine choices
Class-leading towing and hauling capability numbers
Innovative new and state-of-the-art technology