Ford is pushing the envelope for the F-Series lineup, announcing updated power, towing, and payload figures for the 2018 Super Duty. The new specs reclaim titles for the blue oval held previously by General Motors and Ram. Ford says they are delivering more for customers by offering “five key best-in-class claims.”
“Super Duty customers expect the best, and for 2018 we’re giving our customers even more power and torque from our 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel – delivering the most horsepower and torque available among all heavy-duty pickups,” explained Todd Eckert, Ford Truck Group Marketing Manager.
By The Numbers
It’s not surprising to see Ford push the line here. In just a “matter of fact” sense, the truck market is highly competitive, and customer loyalty to a particular brand is often lifelong. “We are a Ford (or Chevy) family,” they say, or “I’ve never owned anything but . . . (insert truck make and model here).” While we won’t speculate Ford’s engineering and marketing motives, if the automaker held the belief that bigger horsepower, payload, and towing numbers were the way to a truck buyer’s heart, we would be inclined to agree.
In an already competitive market with such fierce brand loyalty, posting headline-worthy performance figures seems a satisfactory answer to the “how do we attract new buyers and retain existing customers” question. One could argue these increased power numbers for the Super Duty are coming at the right time. Ford’s November sales report indicated that F-Series trucks saw their best November since 2001, with 72,769 pickups sold for a 0.9 percent gain. Conversely, Ford’s heavy truck sales took a 50 percent dip with only 566 units moved last month opposed to 1,133 for the same period in 2016. By the end of November 2016, Ford had delivered 13,417 heavy trucks compared to 10,376 at November’s end this year, marking a 22.7 percent decrease.
It’s possible these new power and capacity increases for the 2018 Super Duty will help bolster Ford’s overall truck sales. Does Ford have specific intent with this latest Super Duty announcement? Perhaps. Ford truck sales are, according to their November report, either up nicely or down significantly, depending on the model. These new performance upgrades for the Super Duty could be a happy accident as far as timing is concerned, but if an automaker wanted to move some trucks, especially near the end of the year, having increased power figures floating through the media certinately wouldn’t hurt.
The 2018 Ford Super Duty now claims five vital segment titles, the first of which is a healthy 450 horsepower. Previously held by GM’s Sierra and Silverado models at 445 with the new Duramax, Ford’s announcement gives the Super Duty a slight edge. The second is torque, a now whopping 935 lb-ft., enough to slip past Ram at 930 lb-ft. from the recently revised Cummins. From there, the 2018 Ford Super Duty takes best-in-class gooseneck towing at 34,000 lbs. and best-in-class conventional towing at 21,000 lbs., when properly equipped. By comparison, The 2018 Ram 3500 HD, when properly equipped, has a maximum gooseneck rating of 31,210 lbs. and a maximum conventional rating of 20,000 lbs.
“Plus, our new F-450 pickup now includes a 4X2 model, enabling our customers to get more done with the segment’s best payload and towing,” Eckert added.
The 2018 Super Duty boasts best-in-class payload at 7,360 lbs. for the segment’s top honor.
The grunt for the 2018 Super Duty comes from the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine, which received redesigned cylinder heads, optimized fuel calibrations, and enhancements to the turbo for 2018. The truck’s high-strength steel frame, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body, and integrated gooseneck hitch mounts are also important for capability and efficiency. It’s also worth noting that Ford designs and builds their own diesel engines and transmissions, something no other manufacturer currently does. The automaker says this is critical for getting the powertrain, vehicle calibrations, and chassis to align.
“This approach enables Ford engineers to optimize vehicle performance across the entire lineup and to further refine the powertrain to the specific needs of the customer,” reads a statement from Ford.
Pricing & Availability
The 2018 Super Duty is available now with the F-450 4×2 dual-rear-wheel pickup coming later this winter. Base MSRP is $52,830, although pricing can vary greatly depending on the selected trim level and the buyer’s desired number of additional options, features, and packages.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.