A Hard-Working Review of the 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4×4

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2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

Putting the 2017 Ford F-250 Limited 4×4 to Work at a 50-Horse Stable

I recently spent time driving the all-new 2017 Ford F-250 Limited 4×4. But rather than conduct your average “drive around town” review, I put the new Super Duty through the daily tasks performed by your average farm truck at a 50-horse stable. My wife and I run a large boarding stable, which affords me the luxury of putting literally every new truck and SUV through these tests. The new F-250 Super Duty, however, was most certainly one of the best.

Before getting into my review, here is a quick rundown of the tests and an explanation of why these various weights were chosen.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

In this review, we look at the towing capabilities of the new F-250 Limited 4×4 when pulling my 5,000lb, two-horse trailer. It is followed by a look at the hauling capabilities while carrying (not at the same time) a 1,000lb load of bagged horse feed and a load of 12 bales of hay, which weighs around 750lbs.

This particular F-250 Lariat is powered by the new 6.7L PowerStroke turbo diesel, which delivers 440 horsepower and 925lb-ft of torque. This makes it the most powerful heavy duty truck in the current market. The powerful engine lets this F-250 haul well over 3,000lbs and tow 15,000lbs. So, the cargo loads of 750lbs and 1,000lbs, along with the towing load of 5,000lbs, are all well under the true capacity of this Ford Super Duty. However, these are the same loads that I use to test every new truck and SUV. It provides a good idea of how different vehicles work with the same loads. But more important, these are very common loads in the working world.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

While this 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat would pull some of the biggest horse trailers on sale in the U.S.A., the small two-horse trailer used for this test is the most common type of trailer in America. Also, for anyone who makes runs to the feed store, 20lbs of grain (1,000lbs) or 12 bales of hay (750lbs) are an average trip made on a regular basis. These are common loads that many truck owners and stable owners can understand. While my 750-1,000lbs of hay and grain might not apply to everyone, that mass could just as easily represent an engine/transmission combo for a project car or a load of wood for a backyard project, while the 5,000lb trailer load could be a motorcycle trailer or a boat.

Hauling with the New F-250

First up, let’s talk about the hauling capabilities of the 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty with the 6.7L PowerStroke diesel engine. This test begins with a half-hour drive from the stable to the feed store, during which I got a feel for how the big Super Duty accelerated and handled without anything loaded into the bed. As you might expect, the new PowerStroke’s combination of 440hp and 925lb-ft of torque makes this Super Duty surprisingly quick. And, not surprisingly, this F-250 will happily smoke the rear tires if you attempt to accelerate too hard.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

There is really no turbo lag, as the monster power hits the wheels quickly. So, whether you are accelerating from a stop or looking to build speed on the highway, the 2017 F-250 Lariat 4×4 is a far quicker and faster truck than you would expect. Also, while traveling on some rough and twisty roads, I was surprised at how well this hard-working Super Duty handled the rough terrain.

Also, as heavy duty trucks go, this F-250 gets through the turns more confidently than you would expect. I mean, this is still a heavy duty pickup with the suspension components needed to safely haul more than 3,000lbs and tow 15,000lbs, but at the same time, this suspension offers far better ride quality than you would ever expect from a truck of this type. It doesn’t “ride like a Cadillac,” but it rides more smoothly than many of the heavy duty trucks on sale today.

Once at the feed store, we loaded up the thousand-pound load of bagged grain and headed back to the barn with the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty. Had I not loaded the grain myself, I wouldn’t have thought that there was any additional weight in the bed. Acceleration, braking and handling were not affected at all by the extra load, and the ride quality, which surprised me on the way to the store, was preserved with the half-ton of ballast in the bed.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

Some trucks show the impact of that extra thousand pounds in the bed in the ways of decreased acceleration, braking, handling and ride quality to the point that you cannot wait to get the weight out of the truck. However, the 2017 F-250 could have easily carried this mass around all day without any noticeable impact on the driving dynamics.

Once back to the stable, I unloaded the grain out of the bed of the 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4×4 and prepared to haul 12 bales of hay. This second load is lighter (and even further below the payload capacity of the F-250), but it is a very different type of load. While the 20 bags of grain lay flat, pile easily and stay relatively still during driving, 12 bales of hay sit higher in the bed and they shift around when you are moving. This shifting can cause quick changes in driving dynamics or some trucks, especially on snow covered roads, which I just happened to have been experiencing when testing the new F-250.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

The 2017 F-250 Lariat Club Cab is available with either a 6.75-foot or an 8-foot cargo bed, and my test truck was equipped with the smaller of the two options. In some cases, a smaller bed option becomes an issue when hauling a load of hay, but the 6.75-foot bed of the new F-250 comfortably holds all 12 bales with plenty of room to spare. In fact, there was no need to carefully line up the bales after seven or eight were loaded in, because it was clear that we would have plenty of extra space with 12 bales loaded up. This also allowed me to leave some space for the weight to shift around, essentially forcing a less-than-ideal hauling situation…but it didn’t matter.

The 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4×4 Crew Cab didn’t bat an eye at the higher-riding, shifting load of 750lbs. While I could feel the hay moving around on hard acceleration and hard cornering, it didn’t have any impact on how well the new Super Duty drove. Even when I took the new F-250 on a snow-covered dirt road and tried to force the load to shift hard from side to side, the aluminum-bodied Super Duty had no problems negotiating the slick road surface. Some trucks will begin to over-steer on slippery roads when hauling a shifting load like the hay, but the F-250 clearly wasn’t even working hard with just 750lbs.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

Towing with the Super Duty

The 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4×4 Crew Cab which I spent a week driving was capable of towing 15,000lbs — but I don’t have a 15,000lb trailer. So, I went with the same 5,000lb trailer that I use for all of my trailer tests. This trailer is far below the capacity of this new Ford truck, but as was mentioned at the top of the piece, 5,000lbs is a pretty average load.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

For the test, I used a Class IV hitch with the adapter that comes with the new F-250 Super Duty. This was to accommodate for the class V receiver, with a five-inch drop providing the proper trailer angle for the comparatively small two-horse trailer. With the help of the crystal-clear back-up camera, hooking up to the trailer was a breeze, and when we loaded up the horses, there was no suspension sag with the hitch weight.

As you can see in the pictures, we had quite a bit of snow while I was trailer-testing the 2017 F-250, making for even rougher conditions. But the new Super Duty continued to shine. While I used four-wheel drive for the majority of the drive with the trailer out back, I did pull a bit around my neighborhood at lower speeds in rear-drive mode. And the F-250 did a fine job of pulling the trailer. The quick torque delivery allowed for steady, smooth acceleration from a stop with only light throttle, and the powerful PowerStroke doesn’t need to be asked hard to pull this extra 5,000lbs. Also, when cruising at highway speeds, you seldom need to downshift to keep up with traffic, with the exception of steeper hills.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

In addition to easily getting and keeping the weight moving, the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty handles the road well with the trailer hooked up. Since the two-horse trailer doesn’t pull the back end down at all, the F-250 offers similar ride quality and cornering with the trailer attached as it did without it.

I try to avoid clichés, but in the case of my two-horse trailer, which is the most common type in America, the 2017 Ford F-250 with the PowerStroke diesel pulled like the trailer wasn’t even back there. While I didn’t do any hard acceleration tests out of a concern of safety for the horses, the new F-250 accelerates as quickly as you would want to with a live load, and with the integrated trailer brake controller, the new Super Duty gets stopped without any sign of push from the 5,000lb trailer.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

Bestselling Truck in America Keeps Getting Better

In the end, the 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty with the 6.7L PowerStroke diesel went through the daily stable routine as well as any of the 30-plus trucks that I have tested in the past five years. With my routine test loads and the 5,000lb trailer, the F-250 hardly strayed from its excellent unloaded driving dynamics. And unlike many larger, heavy duty vehicles, the new Super Duty offers a surprisingly smooth ride in all of these test conditions.

2017 Ford F-250 Lariat 4x4

I wouldn’t think twice about recommending the 2017 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty to anyone who wants a truck that will work as hard as any truck on the market, and it does so while providing great driving dynamics for such a large truck.

Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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