2015 Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT FX4 – The Truckiest Truck That Ever Did Truck

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In my neck of the woods, the biggest Ford-related news lately has been the 2015 F-150 winning the Truck of Texas award from the Texas Auto Writers Association.

The Blue Oval certainly earned that trophy through the bold use of aluminum and the inclusion of a laundry list of useful and thoughtfully engineered features.

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Let’s not forget about the Super Duty lineup, though – the F-250, in particular. The one I drove for a week deserved a title all its own: The Truckiest Truck That Ever Did Truck.

Whenever I imagine the embodiment of the word “truck,” I usually picture it in the old fashion sense of the word. In my mind, I see a large, powerful vehicle that’s as thirsty and rough-riding as it is strong. All these years, I’ve been envisioning the 2015 F-250 XLT FX4.

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My tester packed a 6.2-liter gasoline V8 under its massive hood that cranked out 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque.

Those numbers proved capable of moving the F-250’s 6,828 pounds quickly enough, although the power plant occasionally seemed to make more noise than speed. It also generated shockingly low fuel economy numbers.

Even when I went easy on the throttle, the beast only gave me an average of 12 mpg. When I restrained my right foot less, the 6.2 slapped me with high single digits.

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Thank goodness the motor was paired with a 35-gallon fuel tank. [I’ve been enjoying significantly better figures in a 2015 F-350 with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel (review coming soon), but those come at a steep up-front price: $8,480.] Like a broke college boy, the F-250 wasn’t picky about what it guzzled.

It was happy with regular unleaded or E85. You can even buy a preparation kit that allows you to convert the V8 to run on compressed natural gas or liquid propane.

Given that my pickup rolled off the line with the 10,000-pound GVWR package, its sticker didn’t include EPA gas mileage ratings.

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The F-250 needed that giant engine because it was a behemoth, a big boy’s Tonka toy. When I was driving around Austin, I had to reacquaint myself with the good ol’ three-point turn…repeatedly.

A vehicle with an overall length in excess of 20 feet has a tendency to force that situation. I was so glad my test truck had an interior grab handle on the driver’s side because one thing it didn’t have was a set of tube steps.

It sat as high as a giraffe’s ass, so I often found myself using that handhold to pull myself up into what amounted to a rolling steel treehouse.

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Once I got inside, I had plenty of room in all directions. The center storage compartment was spacious and the perfect height on which to rest my right elbow while cruising around and jammin’ to country music (something which all Texans are legally obligated to do while behind the wheel of a pickup).

Whether I was going down the uneven streets outside of my neighborhood or traveling to a BBQ joint, the F-250’s suspension treated me poorly. I certainly didn’t expect my F-250, with its off-road-ready FX4 hardware, to float like a Cadillac.

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Apparently, I was cutting it slack with a cheese knife when I should have been using a machete. I felt every peak and trough in rough pavement through the pickup’s body, driver’s seat, and steering wheel when I passed over it. Every. One.

The rig shook and bounced me as if we were on the Rubicon Trail no matter where I took it. I nicknamed the truck “T.R.” because it rode so roughly.

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I had a feeling the XLT configuration would be spartan, given its place on the spectrum of F-250 trim lines. In certain ways, it was. For instance, its Adobe cloth seats were anchored in a sea of hard plastics. In other ways, the Ruby Red Metallic monster Ford loaned me was surprisingly equipped.

My $48,280 evaluation vehicle came with the $1,345 XLT Value Package and its fog lamps, LCD productivity screen, adjustable pedals, security features, reverse parking sensors, and six-way power driver’s seat.

Had I needed four-wheel drive, all I would’ve had to do was turn the $185 shift-on-the-fly knob to access it.

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The $405 power sliding rear window was a nice surprise. (Undoing a latch and pulling with your fingers is for the birds.) In the short amount of time I spent in the back seat of this truck I noticed the silver plastic trim on the door panels had been worn down to its black base.

Granted, I don’t know what abuse those accent pieces suffered before I was handed the keys to the rig, but they still looked awful after fewer than 11,000 miles.

The F-250 I evaluated came with a trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, and a towing package, as well as power telescoping side mirrors. The 6.75-foot cargo box was coated with a $475 Tough Bed spray-in bedliner and included the useful $375 tailgate step and grab handle.

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According to Ford, my review rig had a max payload of 3,250 pounds*. A 2014 Ram 2500 SLT with a crew cab, four-wheel drive, a 6’4″- box, 3.73 gears (the same as my tester’s), and a 6.4-liter gas HEMI falls short of that figure by 79 pounds.

The big Blue Oval was capable of towing as much as 12,200 pounds and pulling a gooseneck/fifth-wheel weighing in at 12,100. Ram’s competitor bests the former amount by 300 pounds.

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These days, several models blur the lines between vehicle classes. Some even answer questions that were never asked. It’s oddly comforting that the Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT FX4 is The Truckiest Truck That Ever Did Truck.

However, in certain ways, it requires you to be just as rough and tough as it is. If you’re able to do that, you deserve a special title of your own.

via [Ford 1] and [2], [FuelEconomy.gov], and [Ram]

* = On a specifications PDF file for the 2015 F-Series Super Duty on Ford’s media website. (The regular Ford site claims a 3,100-pound max payload.)

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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