2017 Ford Super Duty First Drive Review

It has been a long time coming, but Ford has finally delivered an all-new Super Duty pickup to its lineup.

Denver, CO – The Super Duty is a truck engineered for those individuals who need a vehicle that has the capability to tow or haul enormous loads whether it be for work, or play, and still deliver a level of passenger comfort and overall refinement to ensure that the passengers arrive rested and ready for action.

This latest iteration of Ford’s heavy duty (HD) pickup truck now features a “military grade” aluminum body just like its smaller sibling, the F-150 half ton, a move that has allowed the design team to cleave several hundred pounds from the vehicle (159 kilograms). The reality is that further weight savings could have been engineered into the truck’s design, but instead, Ford decided to reinforce the truck’s chassis architecture – this ensures durability and allows for the platform to deliver unmatched hauling capabilities. All Super Duty models feature a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame which has been enhanced by up to ten cross-member reinforcements to maintain both strength and stiffness.

The Super Duty and F-150 share the same basic cab structure and interior design, which is a good thing, as the latest F-150 is regarded as having one of the most refined and ergonomic passenger compartments in the segment. There will continue to be three cab sizes available; Regular, Super Cab (6-inches longer than previous model) and Crew Cab (3-inches longer), with seating for three to six adults. 

Upscale Cabin Feel

Overall, the look and feel of the cabin is unsurpassed for a truck application, and depending on trim, some may say the overall environment puts that of many luxury cars to shame. Ergonomics have been optimized as has the amount of space for passengers, cargo and the various chattel we carry with us in our daily lives – including a host of storage cubbies, a deep centre console, a full arsenal of cup-holders, and two glove boxes. And speaking of gloves, the designers were careful to ensure that the majority of controls and buttons can be readily used when sporting a pair. 

- Advertisement -

There is a new instrument panel and dash layout that places all the controls within easy reach of both hand and eye, and the available oversized LCD Productivity Screen that takes centre stage on the centre stack is one of the sharpest in the automotive world.     

2017 ford super duty

Power: 6.2-litre gasoline powered V8 engine

Under the enormous plateau of a hood you will find wither a 6.2-litre gasoline powered V8 engine or a stump-pulling 6.7-litre Power Stroke turbo-diesel.

The gasoline unit produces 385-horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque, while the diesel generates 440-horsepower  and 925 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a very efficient, and smooth operating, six-speed automatic transmission which can be shifted manually via small buttons located on the column mounted shift lever. 

Having spent some time behind the wheel of a host of test units (both gas and diesel) I came away impressed by how strong the power delivery was, how smooth the ride was, and how quiet the cabin remained. The TorqShift transmission never struggled or seemed to hunt for the proper gear, and acceleration was smooth and linear. Lastly, the hydraulically boosted steering rack helps to provide  very communicative for a truck application.

2017 ford super duty

2017 Ford Super Duty Towing

Heavy duty pickup owners tend to tow trailers, so this latest Super Duty has been engineered and equipped to excel in this discipline. Ford literature claims that the big dog diesel F-450 can tow as much as 32,500 pounds with a gooseneck trailer, 27,500 pounds (12 474 kg.) in a fifth-wheel set-up, and an impressive 21,000 pounds (9526 kg.)  in standard spec. A new hitch design negates the need to employ a weight-distributing unit, and will allow buyers of F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks to pull as much as 18,000 pounds without much effort, and with very little stress on equipment.

The modern automobile is loaded with technology, and the product planners at Ford are well aware that truck buyers are looking to have the same, if not greater, levels of safety and comfort goodies in their pickups.

An innovative adaptive steering system makes the steering ratio variable, which means that the driver has to put less input into the steering wheel to complete a turning manoevre. On the slalom handling course this was a revelation, especially whilst pulling a trailer, and at higher speeds it reduces vehicle sensitivity to steering inputs.

…one thing became immediately evident – the new Super Duty has been engineered to perform.

There is also a new adaptive cruise control system which has the impressive ability to hold a desired speed while towing a trailer. This system has been integrated with the transmission and the trailer brake, and also utilizes the engine brake of the Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V8.

Towing a trailer (or even just driving a truck as large as the Super Duty) can rattle the confidence of even the most experienced drivers, so you can now spec your Super Duty to include a full arsenal of up to seven cameras, including one that can be placed on the trailer itself.

Trailer Reverse Guidance is a new smart towing assistance suite that will reduce operator stress by utilizing a series of cameras to provide visual cues to help with backing up and monoevring a trailer. There is a dynamic steering wheel icon displayed on the dash screen which informs the driver which direction they need to turn the wheel to keep the trailer moving in a straight-line, as well as alerts to warn against jackknifing. 

2017 ford super duty

Available Tech and Features

Other available driver assist technologies include a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Lane Departure Warning. The BLIS system will alert the driver if there is a car in an adjacent lane and has been utilized in many other Ford products, but for this application it incorporates trailer coverage and is able to adapt to trailers ranging up to 10 metres in length. The Lane Departure Warning system will readily warn the driver when the truck is drifting outside the boundaries of the lane of travel by using cameras that monitor the road markers. Both of these systems will prove invaluable for those users who tend to haul big loads.   

Another handy feature is the fact that the Super Duty’s tire pressure monitoring system can be setup to monitor the pressures of your trailer’s tires. Having this extra safety net on board will help make the trailering experience a little less stressful.   

Other cool new features are located throughout the truck, including a lockable storage bin underneath the rear seat on Crew Cab units, a rubberized button on the cargo bed wall to operate the handy box-mounted LED lighting system, and side mirror-mounted spotlights. 

During our two day evaluation experience just outside Denver, Colorado, we managed to put the Super Duty (in a number of configurations) through its paces on the pavement and off-road, and one thing became immediately evident – the new Super Duty has been engineered to perform.

2017 ford super duty


The all-new Ford Super Duty is more powerful, more efficient, and more refined than before, and the focus on the vehicle’s handling dynamics is evident as soon as you get behind the wheel. This latest iteration of the venerable rig offers is cutting edge in  many departments – especially with regards to both passenger safety and comfort, and with an equipment catalog as extensive as that offered by Ford it is very easy to order the perfect machine to help you get the job done.

Official pricing has yet to be announced, but expect a base unit 2017 F-250 XL to start around $34,000 CAD MSRP, while a similar F-350 will begin around $38,000.


  • More powerful and more efficient
  • All the latest tech and safety features are available
  • New level of comfort and refinement


  • Why did it take so long?
  • Initial pent up demand may make it difficult to get exactly what you want in sort order
Russell Purcellhttps://www.flickr.com/people/autoexposurecanada/
Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.