2011 Ford Super Duty Preview

The 2011 Ford Super Duty models will feature significant changes when they go on sale in spring 2010. Ford’s lineup of heavy-duty pickups gets stouter engines, a larger transmission and a giant grille for 2011.

The new grille is so big you can’t decide whether the brush bar was built in or merely styled by Pixar. The massive snout is used to cool two new engines and features an air dam six inches lower than before to improve aerodynamics. In terms of aerodynamics, it still resembles a brick on a block of concrete, however. New wraparound headlights are Ford’s biggest ever.

The 2011 Super Duty is available in three cabs, two bed lengths, multiple weight classes, and four trim levels. (And Harley-Davidson editions are expected to follow.) Indeed, the number of build permutations is dizzying. As bigness goes, the largest is almost 22 feet long, eight feet wide, more than 6.5 feet high, needs nearly five interstate lanes to make a U-turn, carries about 3 tons and tows about 9 tons. Final figures have yet to be released but expect the least-capable Super Duty to carry approximately 3000 pounds and tow more than 9000.

The F-350 Super Duty pickups are available with single rear wheels (SRW) or dual rear wheels (DRW). F-250 versions are single rear wheel. All F-450 trucks are duallies.

The cabin, which on four door models sports more generous dimensions that the front two rows of a Cadillac Escalade, covers the gamut from vinyl floors to stitched saddle leather, heated and ventilated front seats, and four cupholders in the front center console alone. Side airbags and curtains have been added to the option list, and we think they’re a good idea.

A new console includes flexible configuration and a 110-volt inverter and outlet, with locking storage compartments under the seats. New instrumentation includes a central display that handles fuel economy, trailer towing settings for multiple trailers, pre-tow checklist and standard MyKey limits and preferences, and analog boost, coolant and transmission temps; oil and voltage status are left to idiot lights.

Everything underhood is new for 2011. The standard gasoline (or E85) V8 is an oversquare 6.2-liter twin-plug unit with overhead cams and variable valve timing; we expect 380-410 hp and 400-450 lb-ft of torque. Keeping the horsepower war no one will win alive and well, a new 6.7-liter diesel (B20-approved) with a twin-compressor turbo (not twin turbos) is rumored to deliver 400 hp and 725 lb-ft of torque, up 50 and 75 respectively over last year’s 6.4-liter.

Both engines get a new six-speed automatic transmission (no manual gearboxes) with a power-takeoff unit for plows, hydraulics, etc., and tow/haul mode; on diesels the tow/haul also controls an exhaust braking function of the turbo. Ford claims class-leading fuel economy; if accurate, no small feat with the most power in the heaviest trucks.

The 2011 Super Duty trucks offer a factory-installed and warranted fifth wheel and gooseneck substructure directly attached to the frame which includes a wiring outlet in the bed. New trailer sway control and power folding/extending mirrors aid towing. Along with the integrated brake controller, that makes for a fine tow vehicle, indeed.

Two types of rearview cameras, Ford’s Work Solutions program, voice navigation, Sirius radio and updated SYNC with traffic and directions through the customer’s Bluetooth phone are just a few from pages of options.

By G.R. Whale

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