We have studied the 2017 Ford Super Duty specifications, options, and features on paper, but now it’s time to put the truck to a first drive review. Does the all-new truck from Ford live up to the high expectations and the investment that the company made? I took a dually F-350 crew cab 4×4 Lariat with a gooseneck trailer for a first drive to find out.
This F-350 Super Duty is powered by the latest 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbo-diesel that makes 440 hp @ 2,800 rpm and 925 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm. It’s backed up by an upgraded 6-speed automatic transmission, drive shafts, differential and axles that are there make sure all the torque can get to the ground. Ford provided a gooseneck horse trailer for the test for a total trailer weight of 10,000 lbs. This is hardly enough weight to challenge the new Ford, but it provides an opportunity for a first drive review on a short loop.
You can tell the 10,000 lbs trailer is hitched up to the truck when accelerating, but it handles all other aspects of towing with ease. In fact, the ride, handling, and steering feel much like a smaller Ford F-150. The truck is able to slow down this weight to a stop without problems and the stability and handling are superb. This F-350 was equipped with Ford’s adaptive steering system. This a variable ratio steering system that adjusts automatically based on truck’s speed and load conditions. It provide good on-center feel, heavier steering feel than that on the F-150, and it works seamlessly. I was only able to detect it working during sharp cornering maneuvers, as I did not have to rotate the wheel too much.
Ford says they made the cabin quieter than on the outgoing truck. You can still hear the big diesel at idle and at slower speeds, but the truck is quiet at higher speeds (between 40-60 mph during my test) with barely a hint of wind and road noise. The adaptive cruise control works really well and controlled the truck’s speed on the downhill by orchestrating the transmission grade shifting, exhaust brake, and the brakes. I was not able to drive it on a long grade. This will come during our more thorough testing.
The 2017 interior closely resemble the latest Ford F-150 design, but certain interior plastics on the door cards and center console are really hard. The trucks we tested at the event were pre-production units, but major production is very close. First production truck should be reaching dealerships in late August 2016. The good thing about the interior is that it has a combination of materials and color combinations that make for a premium appearance.
Bottom line is – the 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 drives like a much smaller half-ton truck. Even when empty and riding on 20-inch rims (F-250 Platinum that I also drove), the truck does not exhibit the traditional bouncy on-road manners of heavy duty trucks. The truck make the heavy duty pickup experience more comfortable and more approachable for more people.
Here our first video from the 2017 Super Duty launch event. The towing and off-road first drive review videos are coming up very soon. Please stay tuned.