Ford Motor Co. unveiled the latest advances in its line of SuperDuty pickup trucks, including a brand-new large-displacement gasoline engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, a model with enhanced off-road abilities that retains high payload and towing capacities, and more capable equipment that makes driving safer. The event was January 14-15 in the Sonoran Desert west of Phoenix, Ariz., and featured towing of heavy trailers and off-road running.
The company’s 2020-model SuperDuty pickups boast more than a dozen “what’s new” features, ranging from the new powertrains to a batch of showy colors that include Rapid Red and Velocity Blue, representatives said. Electronic safety equipment includes a Co-Pilot 360 package that lets a driver know what’s around his truck, keeps it in his lane and avoids running into something up ahead.
A new model called Tremor has enhanced off-road capability but retains normal payload and towing capabilities. It’s thus distinct from the Raptor, a specialty off-road vehicle that gives up some hauling capacity in exchange for high-speed cross-country traveling ability. The more mild-mannered Tremor can be had with an integrated winch for scaling steep slopes and extricating a bogged-down truck. Tremors come in several trim levels, including the top-of-the-line Limited package.
A 7.3-liter (446-cubic-inch) gasoline V-8, announced last summer, is replacing the 6.8-liter V-10 that soon will be out of production. Instead of seemingly modern overhead camshafts, the new V-8 uses traditional pushrods moved by a single in-block cam to actuate intake and exhaust valves. Pushrod engines run well at lower RPMs, which is ideal for commercial-truck applications, explained Patrick Hurtrich, a supervising engineer involved in 7.3 development. The new V-8’s large displacement allows high power and torque, and a 10.5 to 1 compression ratio aids fuel efficiency even when running on regular gas.
Pushrod engines are also more compact because cylinder heads needn’t house the cams, so the engine easily fits in all Ford trucks including the heavy pickups, Hurtrich said. The 7.3 makes up to 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft., enough for many hauling and towing tasks but with a purchase price about $8,000 less than for a 7.3-liter Power Stroke diesel, sources said. The current 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 is standard in most SuperDuty pickups.
For serious loads, the refined third-generation Power Stroke’s 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft. are tops in the heavy-duty pickup segment, Ford claims. The diesel also comes with an engine brake that works through the turbocharger to retard downgrade speed of heavy truck-trailer combinations. Both the diesel and the 7.3 gasoline V-8 come with a new TorqShift Heavy Duty 10-speed automatic transmission that shifts strongly and smoothly and keeps engine revs at efficient levels.
SuperDuty pickups continue with aluminum cabs, hoods and beds and high-strength steel underframes. Starting prices range from $33,705 for an F-250 with base XL trim to $90,530 for an F-450 with Limited trim.