Ford F-250 Power Stroke
2011 models share a lot with their 2010 model year predecessors, but received updates in capability and styling. The Ford's new [=] grille has yet to grow on us, but it took a while for the '08s and their larger headlights to fully sink in, so that might still be the case. The Fords had several low-hanging obstacles that concerned us, as their lower four-link mounts, while sturdy, are the first thing that would drag on an obstacle, while a crossmember and the fuel tank also dipped far below the protection of the framerails, which are tucked up under the Ford's rockers. Even though the bold style and interesting color options on the Super Duties won it several points, it couldn't compete with the GMC's elegance.

When it came time to commandeer the Power Stroke, the light throttle and short First gear made it feel peppy. The Power Stroke was quieter than the Duramax, but both had a good idle and full-throttle sound, as did their gas counterparts. We recorded nearly 20 mpg from both diesel trucks. As far as we're concerned, that's nothing short of amazing. Climbing 3,000 feet from San Bernardino to Hesperia on Interstate 15, the Cajon pass is a demanding stretch of road. The pull up showed all four trucks had no problem keeping up with the flow of traffic, while the diesel trucks didn't even break a sweat. It sounds cliché, but we often found ourselves saying that the Super Duty didn't even notice the 6,000-pound load behind it. On the way down, the Power Stroke had a chance to show off its integrated trailer brake controller and exhaust brake. Overall, the Super Duty diesel did an exceptional job of making the driver feel supremely confident.

While we are familiar with the nav unit in the Denali, the SYNC system in the Ford Lariat has amazing resolution and the additional features available with SYNC, like voice activation, and Ford Work Solutions, set it a notch above the competition. The Ford's pre-wired auxillary switches found in the center stack are another brilliant idea that will no-doubt be adopted by other manufacturers. We were split on the color of the Lariat's upholstery inserts, a mottled blue gray leather, but we all appreciated the additional rear legroom and the extra overall space of the Super Duty cab. The center console is just plain ginormous, with a large main compartment, side map pockets, and four cupholders that can be removed to hold even trough-sized Uber-Gulps. The Driver Information Center (DIC) mounted low just above the steering column in the gauge cluster allows for a staggering amount of information in easy-to-read formats. In this contest, SYNC was the tipping point, giving the Lariat the edge over the Denali by a slim margin.

2011 Ford F-250 Lariat 4WD
It was the one that...stole the test after two minutes of driving

Down to business:
6.7L V-8 turbo-diesel
400 hp @ 2,800 rpm
800 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Six-speed automatic transmission
Ring-and-pinion: 3.55
MSRP, including destination: $60,525
5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty
40-65 mph tow test: 17.28 seconds

Final Thought: Powerful, poised, and perfect for everyday duties.