Ford still uses its "Built Ford Tough" slogan in radio and television commercials to advertise its pickups. The company even prints the mantra at the top of the window sticker of these same trucks so that no matter what you do, you will know that the truck you are about to buy is tough as nails. The trouble is that you can take this statement in several ways, a couple of which don't sound too good. Some of the truck's we've driven in this market segment are indeed tough; tough on your butt on long trips, tough to park, and tough to justify paying for once you factor in fuel and insurance costs. The F-250 Amarillo Edition SD Crew Cab is a welcome exception.
The truck is tough, yes, but it's tough where it counts. Everywhere else, it's smooth and pliable, a vehicle you can commute to work with every day and still haul damn-near anything you wish at the end of the day. The best part though is that no matter whether the truck is loaded to the gills with cargo and a trailer, or fresh from the car wash and empty, it's going to offer a very comfortable ride that borders on being car-like. We put 1,500 miles on the Amarillo special edition of the new F-250 in all manner of driving conditions and came away smiling. Of course, the $51,605 sticker price is still a consideration worth mentioning, even among all of the good feelings we had. But, this truck does the job of a tow vehicle so well and is comfortable enough for daily commuting that it's as if you're getting two trucks for the price of one.
You'd better love yellow paint because the screaming hue is standard with the Amarillo package, as well as 18-inch polished aluminum wheels (ours were upgraded to 20s at no additional charge), brushed aluminum door trim, chrome accents throughout, and Amarillo logos everywhere. This package isn't purely a trim and styling upgrade though, and it includes a 10,000-pound GVWR tow package and an automatic dual-zone climate control system. The Amarillo package added $2,030 to the truck's $37,455 base sticker price.
The new Lariat Super Duty already has an impressive list of standard features, so our test model was trimmed to the nines in cool. The interior features leather-trimmed six-way power seating for both driver and passenger. The leather-wrapped steering wheel contains cruise control and audio system command features. An overhead console and faux wood grain accents round out interior upgrades. Of course, the cab offered power windows, power door locks, and keyless entry.
Our test mule benefited from an electronic shift-on-the-fly, four-wheel-drive system ($185) and underbody skidplates ($100). A couple of the standout features that we found extremely useful were the in-dash brake controller, which made towing a trailer equipped with electric brakes a real treat and the telescoping power mirrors ($450). We also enjoyed adjustable pedals ($120) and heated seats ($220). The dashboard also featured Ford's "upfitter switches," which is a bank of four accessory switches positioned near the trailer brake controller that are ready to control exterior lighting, a video system, or anything else you can think of that requires a 40-amp fuse-protected on and off switch ($85). Additional creature comforts included a power sliding moonroof ($995) and power sliding rear window ($185). A reverse vehicle sensor helps to avoid backing into things ($245), and the trailer hitch was upgraded to a 12,500-pound rating unit ($175).
On the Road
Although our truck included an 8-foot-long bed, it actually had a pretty good turning radius. It required only 56-feet to execute a U-turn, which kept this monster of a pickup from becoming bothersome to maneuver in parking lots. With a 29-gallon fuel capacity, we were able to squeeze nearly 420 miles of freeway driving out of one tank of diesel, with the truck unloaded. During that time, we averaged 14.48 miles per gallon. Around town, the miles per gallon decreased to 13.50.
The 6.0L V-8 Power Stroke diesel ($5,100) performed smoothly and quietly, delivering 325 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque down low in the rpm band where we really needed it. In fact, peak torque occurred at just 2,000 rpm, which was extremely helpful when merging onto the freeway and climbing hills. We hooked a 3,000-pound tilt-bed car hauler and 3,300-pound pickup and hauled it 800 miles up and down several 6 percent grades. Under most circumstances, the trailer and cargo was hardly noticeable. The engine had no trouble pulling up hills, and the TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission ($1,490) and brake controller did an excellent job of bringing everything to a halt when necessary. During the course of our trailer testing, the Amarillo averaged 12.1 mpg, which is pretty good considering what we're hauling.
We've already mentioned that the new Super Duty is just as comfortable to commute in as it is to tow with. The leather seating is supple and the driver's position accommodates both tall and short operators with ease, thanks to the adjustable seats and pedals. The twin coil monobeam suspension works well to soak up the bumps and sometimes awful Southern California freeways, especially when the bed is empty. This is an area in which the truck truly shines. It doesn't have that buckboard feeling when riding across rough sections of road.
The Amarillo is just as friendly in the dirt. The shift-on-the-fly 4WD system is a welcome addition that works well. We admit that taking a truck as expensive as this one off the pavement is daunting, but the Goodyear Wrangler ATS tires and limited-slip 3.73 axle ($300) did provide a pretty good grip across a variety of terrains. Silt beds and mud that would have given us trouble with the all-terrain tread tires were nullified by the four-wheel-drive system.
We've held Ford's Super Duty line of trucks in high regard for a long time because of their workhorse nature. But, Ford has refined that character to the point where we would actually consider commuting in a truck like this one. The Amarillo package only adds to the enjoyment, by combining bold styling with an exterior color that screams "Look at me!" Since we demand our trucks work as hard as they play, the Amarillo scores big points with us and is one truck worth serious consideration the next time you find yourself at a dealership trying to decide between a commuter car and workhorse pickup.