Loverman: OK, so let's just put this out in the open. You drive a decades-old Toyota Starlet and I drive a tuner-kid, boy-racer WRX Sport Wagon (eat it, Johnson). We agree that the Honda Fit is one of the best cars for sale at the moment, yet we both love the Ford F250 Outlaw. How is this even sorta, kinda possible?
Bumbeck: Yes, the Starlet serves me well despite her many years and whopping 50 horsepower. In fact, the sheer mass of the F250 could comprise almost four entire Starlets. The stump-yanking torque from its 6.0-liter turbodiesel alone could crumple those four Starlets like sheets of copy paper.
The reason we both loved this truck is because it's an honest truck, not a top-heavy station wagon pretending to be an SUV. A few bits of leather here and there convey the principles of car-like luxury, but at the end of the day, the Outlaw is about as truckish as a truck can get. Even just gripping the wheel of the F250 Super Duty makes you want to tow something really heavy, or enter a run-what-you-brung Tractor Pull.
Loverman: Totally agreed. The F250's purpose on this planet is to haul really heavy stuff from here to there. Oh, and also to freak the hell out of Prius drivers. I mean, the interior even has a hook to hang a trucker's hat. All that's missing (apart from a place for your rifle and a cigarette machine) is a Dick Cheney bobblehead doll. Dressed up like Elmer Fudd. But let's get back to that torqued-out engine. Holy Christ! 570 ft-lbs at 2,000 rpm? That's just ludicrous. Even pointed uphill, just by taking your foot off the brake the Outlaw creeps forward. TORQUE!
The odd part is that it doesn't defy physics; rather the Power Stroke diesel confirms Newton's laws. Remember the one about bodies in motion tending to stay in motion? The F250 will cruise at 35 mph with the cruise control off and your foot nowhere near the pedal. That is beyond torque — that is will. And the 2008 version, which Ford launched during Super Bowl XLI, is getting a twin-turbo, 6.4-liter motivator stonking out 650 ft-lbs at the same 2,000 rpm! When I come back in the next life as a general contractor, I'm getting one.
Bumbeck: Yes. Even under light throttle the F250 embarks like the USS Iowa under full-speed-ahead orders. Instant off-idle torque of the diesel follows on by forced induction assistance from the turbo. In the close quarters of city traffic, it's at once an entertaining and terrifying reality. A momentary look at the boost gauge nipping at 25 psi could be all the time it takes for many lesser cars to be enveloped under the mighty F250's non-bending frame.
While negotiating the monster around an uphill intersection chicane, we expected the klaxon horns to sound in anticipation of full power. It required an almost comical turning of the helm to keep the front tires pointing where they needed to go to keep the F250 on course. We made it, but were reminded that 6,400 pounds of Kentucky-built truck commands and demands attention. "And the iron boats go as the mariners all know, with the gales of November remembered!" Name that tune.
Loverman: "Chief of the boat! Full reverse rudder on my mark!" Lest anyone think I'm the crazy one, Uncle Bumbeck here flung this monster around a corner at a speed I would never have contemplated. And he sat there smirking like Sean Connery to my sweaty, sweaty Tim Curry. Handling was not job one. But, Bumbeck made it work. Man, what do you think this engine would do in a performance sedan? Snap the half-shafts in, well, half?
Bumbeck: What, me worry? The F250 is an armful, but handled evasive maneuvers as if submarines were firing torpedoes from all sides. We emerged unscathed. That being said this would be a ridiculous choice of vehicle for a city dweller, unless you wanted to tow your condo into the office everyday. On the highway the F250 tells a different story. Endless amounts of torque on tap made cruising up the long hills of California State Highway 14 an almost effortless operation. On Sunday morning we saw many others using an F250 (or cousin Excursion) for the intended, haul-o-rama purpose. While horses and quads went for a ride we drove, wishing we did have some iron ore on board to load up and calm down the suspension.
Loverman: Next time I'm calling NASA to see if they'll let us haul the Shuttle around, with a 747 beneath it.