Two members of our staff had the opportunity to take an F-450 on a coast-to-coast road trip, towing both ways. When they came back, they dreaded the phone call that meant the Super Duty was going back to the Ford fleet manager. It towed so well on the highway, we wanted one on hand all of the time.
We recently had a chance to drive the same F-450 around town for a few days, so other staff members could get some seat time with the behemoth. The result was a few complaints towards the interior, a bumpy ride around town, but overall it's a very driveable truck for its size. Only two members of the staff actually had complaints about the interior.
The real argument was whether a $56,000 truck should have a hard plastic dash and door panels. Compared to a luxury SUV, it's a little lacking, but the price tag on this truck goes a long way towards its capability. The truck's utilitarian interior is actually stylish for a work truck, and our Lariat trim level got us seats that were comfortable around town or for the long haul.
Our F-450 was equipped with a 4.88 limited-slip rearend that allowed the 6.4L diesel to spool up rather quickly. We weren't blown away by the acceleration, but considering the truck weighs about 9,000 pounds with a driver behind the wheel, it is quick for its size. Oddly enough, the enormous truck had us cringing at speed bumps of all things, because the big, burly suspension was not set up to be supple. We're certain the truck, when loaded up with more than 5,000 pounds of payload, would be much softer, but it's definitely no daily driver.
Then again, saying an F-450 is no daily driver is sort of like saying it's not a good choice for autocrossing. It could be done, and you'd definitely have fun doing it, but there are probably better choices. For those of you who need the capability to tow a trailer weighing around 17,000 pounds, Ford has a serious contender for your consideration.
PRICE (AS TESTED)
6.4L V-8 turbodiesel
350hp at 3,000 rpm SAE
650 at 2,000 rpm SAE
Live axle with coilovers (front), live axle with leaf springs and staggered shocks (rear)
4-wheel disc, hydro-boost, ABS
MAX TRAILER WEIGHT
Length: 98.0 in Width between wheels: 50.9 inInside box height: 20.1 in
8.2 (as tested towing cross-country)