Ford F-350 diesel works hard and revels in Texas ranch history

By Casey Williams

(January 21, 2024) Some trucks are meant for play while others are built for work. The Ford F-350 King Ranch is a Texas-sized freight engine capable of both, but if pushed, this diesel-powered luxury bunkhouse chooses work over play.  So, read on to make sure you fully understand the 2024 Ford F-350 King Ranch.

It definitely has presence on driveways and highways.  Especially with the long crew cab and jacked up four-wheel-drive, this beast takes up an entire urban driveway.  The big chrome grille adds glitz, but also sucks in air for the big engine and a lower air dam helps a little with fuel economy.  The 18” wheels look like dimes beneath the fenders, but two-tone paint in prairie colors adds upscale ambience to this farm plow.

Getting in the bed is a climb, but an easy one.  Power down the tailgate, pull out the step from the leading edge, grab the flip-out handle, and heave-ho.  Once on top of the deck, notice the spray-in bedliner, tie-down pegs, and household power outlet for running saws, lights, and other gear.  Look beneath the gate for the built-in hitch and power plugs.  When finished, store the stairs and press a button to raise the gate.  You’ll attract quite an audience whether showing off at the worksite or Sunday parking lot party.
A power step bar deploys for easy entry to the cabin, flooded with saddle leather seats, branded console, woodgrain trim, and nickel finishes.  The dash is dominated by a wide infotainment screen that intuitively commands audio, navigation, and phone.  Charge and connect wirelessly via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Heated and ventilated fronts seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel add comforts as do saturating B&O audio under a dual pane sunroof.  Drivers will appreciate crisp flatscreen gauges and a head-up display.
When it’s time to get busy, crank up the 6.7-liter V8 turbo-diesel engine that produces an unholy 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb.-ft. of torque — all routed to the electronic four-wheel-drive system through a 10-speed automatic transmission.  It can tow up to 20,000 lbs.  If you’re counting, that’s about five Subaru Outbacks.  Fuel economy ratings are not published for heavy duty trucks, but I’d pack your least-used AmEx on long drives.

For a truck so large and capable, it’s pleasant to drive.  I spent most of my saddle time on the Interstate, where it loves to gallop in wide-open spaces, but maneuvering in tight parking garages is not recommended even with 360-degree cameras.  Solid front axles are not ideal for comfort, but Ford tames them over rough roads.  adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning systems keep everybody safe.

I’m pretty impressed with the F-350 and I’m apparently not alone as it just won the 2024 North American Truck of the Year award.

“We are so proud that Super Duty has earned the prestigious Truck of the Year award from the NACTOY jury,” said Andrew Kernahan, Super Duty chief program engineer.  “It represents the relentless dedication our teams have to our customers and endless hours they’ve poured into designing, engineering and building Super Duty pickups to be the ultimate tool for work and recreation.”

It’s plush and the diesel is dreamy, but think twice before buying the F-350 King Ranch.  This is a serious truck, built to earn a living.  A lighter duty F-150 King Ranch would be a better choice for most.  If you’re still in, get ready to pay.  While a contractor-grade F-350 costs $46,015, the King Ranch starts at $77,025 and rose to a breathy $95,165 as tested.  Competitors include the GMC Sierra 3500 Denali, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 High Country, and Ram 3500 Limited Longhorn.