With the number of miles and the kinds of tasks pickup trucks see on a daily basis, it’s no wonder the market is incredibly competitive. Especially in the heavy-duty segment, where loads are high and consumers demand options such as WiFi and active safety features to keep up with the pace of the workday. At the recent State Fair of Texas, Ford revealed detailed information about its latest heavy-duty workhorse, the 2020 F-Series Super Duty.
Engine Choice and Performance
Although the standard Super Duty engine will remain the 6.2-liter V8, rated at 385 hp and 430 lb-ft, for 2020 two new engine options will join it: a 7.3-liter gas V8 rated at 430 hp and 475 lb-ft, and a 6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8 making 475 hp and 1050 lb-ft. That last figure marks this as the first time Ford is offering an engine with over 1000 lb-ft of torque. It is also slightly more than the torque developed by the 2019 Ram 3500 when equipped with the 6.7-liter Cummins HO turbocharged inline-six diesel. GM, at the moment, can ‘only’ offer a diesel engine rated at 910 lb-ft.
All Super Duty engines will be linked to TorqShift® automatics, with the 6.2-liter getting the 6-speed and the new engines getting the 10-speed.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Arguably the most important metric in comparing pickups, the new engines and transmission allow the 2020 Super Duty to tow ever-larger loads. Ford rates the diesel-equipped trucks at 37,000 lbs with a gooseneck trailer, 32,500 lbs with a fifth-wheel, and up to 24,200 lbs with a conventional trailer. Ford did not provide towing information for the 7.3-liter gasoline engine, although they do claim that maximum towing capacity for the 2020 model year will be increased across all trim levels compared to the 2019 model year.
These max diesel towing capacities do compare favorably with the Super Duty’s comparison. Equipped with diesel engines, the 2019 Ram 3500 can only tow up to 35,100 lbs, while the Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500HD and GMC Sierra HD max out at 35,500 lbs.
Ford did not provide maximum payload capacities for the new engines, although the company did state that the standard 6.2-liter engine’s max payload was 7850 lbs. This would be another step up above the competition: 7442 lbs for the Sierra and Silverado, and 7680 for the Ram.
With pickups being used more and more as mobile office spaces, manufacturers have been updating not just the technology of their trucks, but also interior quality as well. Features like wireless charging and multiple USB ports, as well as leather seats and even wood trim, are becoming the rule, rather than the exception. It’s worth noting that the MotorTrend 2019 Truck of the Year, the Ram 1500, was heavily praised for its interior quality. Ford is making sure its 2020 Super Duty line can compete: the Limited trim level will items such as black coarse ash wood trim and a suede headliner. It will also be able to support up to 10 devices on its embedded 4G LTE modem, a previously optional feature, which for 2020 will become standard.
In addition to techs such as lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking (standard on all Super Duty trims XLT and above), Ford will also offer what it claims is a class-exclusive: Pro Trailer Backup Assist. Unlike other trailer assistance tools, which still require the driver to turn the wheel and use guidance lines overlaid on a camera view, Ford’s system will instead use a smaller knob. Ford also claims it is the only manufacturer that can link this type of assistance with any and all trailer types. No word, however, if Ford will offer the camera coverage and ‘transparent trailer’ view offered by the likes of GMC in the Sierra.
For the owners who will have to take their heavy-duty truck a bit further off-road, the 2020 Super Duty will offer the option of the Tremor Off-Road Package. It will include changes to the suspension, such as progressive-rate springs and custom twin-tube dampers, as well as 35-inch Goodyear tires (which Ford claims are the largest fitted to a heavy-duty pickup), as well as a special rock-crawl driving mode. The Tremor package will only be available on the F-250 and F-350 single-wheel trucks, and only with the two new engines. The package does lower the max towing and payload ratings (diesel drops to 15,000 lbs of conventional towing and 21,900 with a gooseneck; max payload for the 7.3-liter drops to 4210 lbs), although a similar situation occurs when equipping the GMC Sierra HD with the more off-road AT4 trim level.
As of this writing, Ford has not announced pricing for the 2020 Super Duty; the 2019 F-Series Super Duty has an MSRP of $33,150. Looking at the competition, the 2020 Silverado HD starts at $39,500, with the 2019 Ram 3500 starting at $35,095 and the 2020 GMC Sierra HD at $40,000.