DRIVEN: 2018 FORD F-250 KING RANCH - FOR KINGS AND COWBOYS
The all new Super Duty was introduced for 2017, so for 2018 Ford offers no major changes or significant additions. The redesigned aluminium body still looks fresh and the upgraded steel chassis, the suspension and drivetrain are more capable than ever. That means either a 6.2 gas or a 6.7 turbo diesel V8, both linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 6.2 delivers 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque and fulfils the role of base engine. The optional 6.7 Powerstroke produces a mighty 440 horsepower and 925 lb-ft, giving it more pulling power than the Bugatti Veyron with its 8-litre quad-turbo 16-cylinder.
All that torque is enough to give the F-250 4x4 a maximum towing capacity of 16,500 lbs. with a 5th wheel gooseneck trailer or 32,500 pounds in case of the F-450 4x4 dually. The ratings for conventional towing are 15,000 and 21,000 lbs. and those for maximum payload 3,830 and 5,320 lbs. respectively.
Driving the King Ranch on winding country roads around Austin without anything behind it or in the bed, makes for a very entertaining experience. This behemoth doesn’t jump away from a stand-still as a result of its 7,264 lbs. girth, but as soon as all that mass is rolling, the gargantuan V8 diesel pulls it out of corners and passed slow traffic surprisingly quickly.
Suspension and damping are simply the best in this ultra-competitive class, with the quiet cabin and luxurious seats adding to the atmosphere of wellbeing. Straight-line stability is unmatched as well, mainly as a result of the adaptive steering system that improves high-speed control while helping low-speed manoeuvring.
Sitting behind the wheel of the Super Duty for hours, towering over other traffic in a cocoon of brown leather Western-style luxury is a joy and doesn’t even feel like work anymore. Work becomes a breeze with systems like Trailer Reverse Guidance, multiple cameras and adaptive cruise control, while safety is increased significantly due to trailer sway control, collision warning with brake support and blind-spot monitoring that is compatible with trailers.
If you are wondering why the truck in these pictures is so dirty, we have a good reason for that. It is customary to properly wash and vacuum every vehicle before a photo shoot and that was actually the case in this instance. The problem however, was that we were at the Longhorn River Ranch in the Texas Hill Country and a big part of our test drive took place on dusty trails.
The upside of that, is that we know the 4x4 system has no difficulty pulling the King Ranch through ditches, over hills and even up badly eroded rocky trails. Just keep the enormous size in mind, and you’ll be surprised where this Super Duty is willing to take you.
At this moment Ford’s Super Duty is king of the hill in its segment, leaving GM and Ram behind them. Ride quality, hauling and towing capacities and of course comfort make it the truck of choice, whether you’re patrolling your oil fields or the fields on your ranch.
© Words Natan Tazelaar
© Images Kevin McCauley, Natan Tazelaar