Whereas the previous generation had a distinct and attractive profile and front fascia, the current version is merely distinct. There are those that love it and those that hate it, but I think most people look at it as a Tonka Truck. However, if we gave points based on badge size the F-350 would get 4,000 stars.
The inside of this particular model wasn't a bad place to be for the lengthy trips around Houston. Roomy? Oh yes. The leather seats are comfortable and the dash is well designed, with everything in the right place. Yet it still looks like a truck on the inside. While not as nice as the new Platinum Edition F-150 or Laramie Dodge Ram, it's still luxurious for a work truck.
Even though the 6.4-liter turbo diesel engine manages 350 HP and 650 lb/ft of torque, it's still only good for a 9.6-second jaunt to 60 mph. But what would you expect from a truck this size? As mentioned in Part One, the sequential turbos do an admirable job of propelling the F-350, especially from a rolling start. Nevertheless, you're not going to see it in the next Fast And the Furious film.
I never accidentally ran over a Focus thanks to the SuperDuty's competent anti-lock disc brakes, which feature 13.7" and 13.4" rotors front and back, respectively. Quick stops from speed on dry roads were achieved without leaning too far forward, thanks to the stiffened suspension.
The on-road ride was rougher over less-than-perfect roads than most people are going to accept without some kind of payoff. In this case, the payoff is being able to handle the vehicle when there's no road at all.
When racing down city streets it's sometimes necessary to do what we call a Central Texas Turn, which involves a lengthy deceleration before trying to pull into the Whataburger parking lot. This has less to do with the suspension setup and more to do with the weight. When going off the beaten path, the 4WD system manages to keep the F-350's massive nose pointed in the right direction.
The Torqshift five-speed automatic was unobtrusive, providing timely downshifts when accelerating and retaining the proper gear during ascents.
The audiophile CD audio system is standard-issue Ford, with the controls integrated into the navigation system. While it was great that an auxiliary jack for my iPod was included, the system fails to display any kind of data related to what's actually playing, which for the price is kind of letdown. I'm not sure how many speakers with what kind of power a system would need to drown out the massive diesel engine, but this truck did not have either of those things.
If you're going to be towing anything, the TowCommand system is a popular choice among truck owners. I didn't get the chance to hook the truck up to the trailer, but I can say the controls were well placed. The electronically controlled PowerScope trailer mirrors are also fun to play with and, you know, actually functional. Just press a button and the wonderful mirrors fold in or out. Sometimes I did it for no good reason because I'm 12, basically.
The navigation system includes a large touch-screen, though it lacks advanced travel information. For some reason, this particular F-350 came equipped with a drop down DVD entertainment system in the backseat that included wireless headphones and a remote control. Conveniently, I had a copy of Friday Night Lights to watch. So appropriate. The system also has a port for an RCA cable which means that you can totally play Wii back there (and there's enough room, too).
Ha ha ha ha ha. $56,780 with all options, an increase of nearly $20,000 over the base model's price.
I had quite a good time with the truck. It's big and bold and red and sort of ridiculous. It in no way fulfills any of my basic needs as a driver or as a human being, other than the occasional desire to safely crash through walls. That being said, it never let once me down.
Also see:Jalopnik Reviews tag in the masthead.