Supreme Capability – SVTP Reviews a 6.7L Powerstroke Equipped 2019 F-250 Limited
We are on the cusp of getting a very significant Mid-Model Refresh of the current Ford Super Duty trucks. Introduced for the 2017 model year, the Duty that we recently had the pleasure of driving represents a massive leap forward over the previous generation (whose cab design dated back to the Late-90s). It featured a fully-boxed frame, a brand-new aluminum body (now shared with the F-150), and some beefed up drivetrain components. Needless to say, this new generation of Super Duty is a is lightyears ahead of the previous models in terms of comfort and capability.
Like most new vehicles, it took me a little while to warm up to the styling of the new Super Duty. However, I believe the 2020 update looks great right out of the gate.
That's exactly the experience we recently had in our 2019 Ford F-250 Limited test truck. Ford sort of dropped this one on us out of nowhere. We weren't expecting this one to show up, so we didn't really have the chance to set up some proper towing tests (we'll be saving those for Godzilla and the Gen III 6.7L PSD). However, we did get to do a bit of driving and it's easy to see why Ford's F-Series trucks crush everything else out there. After a week behind the wheel of this 2019 F-250 I was considering trading in my still awesome 2009 Super Duty. The new truck is just that good. Here are a few of my favorite features.
We didn't have the chance to do any towing, but we did manage to pick up a little lumber. Hardly a test of this truck's true capabilities.
First, and foremost for me, the steering feel of the new trucks is so much better than anything else I have driven with recalculating-ball type steering that I hope Ford gave a fat bonus to the engineer who designed it. This new patented adaptive steering system was added for the 2017 model year, and it is impressive. It is tuned to make the steering feel properly heavy and precise at low speeds while softening up a bit at highway speeds. It does this by increasing or decreasing the steering gear ratio by up to 30% depending on the prevailing conditions. I typically complain about taking a simple piece of technology like a steering box and making it more complicated, but not here. This is one upgrade that is worth the price of admission.
The interior is very nicely appointed. I particularly like the 'honed steel' trim pieces.
Next up would have to be the frame. It’s no secret that the 1999-2016 Super Duty trucks had a twisty frame. Much like their larger Class-8 cousins, they featured a largely Open C-Channel unit. In olden days, before modern metallurgy and robotic welding techniques were commonplace in the auto manufacturing industry, it was though that a frame that twisted under load was more durable. Basically; it will bend and twist, eventually returning to its natural position, instead of breaking. With the introduction of Ultra-High-Strength Steel and multiple through-welded cross-members Fully-Boxed Frames became robust enough to handle Super Duty level loads without fear of metal fatigue.
The Limited trim on this truck isn't my favorite color scheme, but the material qualities are really nice.
Simply put, because the frame on the 2017+ Super Duty is so much stiffer everything on the rest of the truck works better. The suspension handles loads better, the ride is more comfortable, the handling in off-road conditions is more predictable, and there are less squeaks and rattles. Having a stronger back bone not only allows the engineers to crank up the payload ratings, it also allowed them to close up the body panel gaps and reduce tolerances in many areas. Gone are the days of splitting your 6.4L Powerstroke radiator by crossing a ditch on the diagonal, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Those wheel wells look much better filled with some 35s. Ford seems to agree since the Tremor will come equipped with them from the factory.
Speaking of Powerstroke engines, I’m really happy with the way the Ford built 6.7L V8 has progressed over the years. When it was introduced in 2011 I wasn’t blown away. However, after receiving some tweeks around the edges and a turbo upgrade in 2015 the 6.7L has really come into its own. It’s easy to see the power increases it has received, but Ford snuck in some beefier connecting rods recently. And for good reason. For the 2020 model year Ford is going to have a brand new set of steel pistons swinging off the end of those rods. That’s a first for any of the Big 3 pickup manufacturers.
This is the type of engineering I like to see. This air scoop is feeding a nearly 500HP motor that will be called upon to pull some massive weight.
I’m not sure most realize how big of a deal the move to steel pistons is. For the 6.7L Powerstroke it’s a mainlined speedball of both heavy-duty diesel and racing technology. 15+L Over-the-Road truck engines have used two-piece steel pistons for decades, and one-piece Mahle Monotherm steel competition pistons can be found in drag and pulling engines all over the country. In fact, I suspect the Mahle Monotherm is the basis for this new Powerstroke piston.
Check out that air-to-water intercooler. This thing is ridiculously efficient in stock form and does a great job keeping the charge temps in check.
So what does this all add up to? Basically, for 2020 Ford now has a 6.7L Powerstroke diesel engine with a 6-Bolt Main Deep-Skirt CGI block, a pair of high flowing cylinder heads clamped on with 6 bolts per cylinder, a higher flowing VGT turbo, and a rotating assembly with the ability to withstand massive amounts of heat and cylinder pressure. That means power. In real terms, the 2020 6.7L Powerstroke is cranking out 1,050lbft of torque and 475HP. The 2019 PSD in our test truck already had the highest HP in class at 450, but 935lbft of torque is eclipsed by the 2019 Cummins powered Ram at 400HP and 1,000lbft. Duramax is wandering around somewhere in the weeds at 445HP and 910lbft. Ford’s typical M.O. is to leapfrog the competition to stay at the front of the pack on power ratings, but not to make quantum leaps in power to do so. That’s why I suspect we’re going to see class leading numbers through updated from the 2020 6.7L Powerstroke for years to come.
Once again Ford has decided to change coolant formulations. This one is Motorcraft Yellow and is a low phosphate organic acid based fluid. Ford says it's good for 10 years or 200,000 miles.
But for the truck we have in front of us right now, 450HP and 935lbft is certainly stout. The truck has seemingly endless power and the delivery is very smooth. Ford seems to have figured out how to tune out turbo lag far better than anyone else, and you can light the tires up at will. The power matches the rest of the truck, delivering a feeling of confidence that simply isn’t found in lesser trucks. This F-250 is a Limited model, and is equipped as you would expect. It’s very luxurious and makes any work you’d do with this truck all that more pleasurable. If you’ve seen our reviews of the 2019 F-150 Platinum or 2019 F-150 Raptor, most of the comments on the interiors apply here. Simply put, it’s solid and great. You’ll like it.
The factory spray-in bedliner is a 'must-have' option. Here you can see how thickly it is applied.
And that’s my major take away from any of the 2017+ Super Duty trucks. If you own a 2016 or earlier model, the new trucks are significantly superior to the old iron. All the trucky parts are stronger and more capable of doing most impressive trucky things. It’ll tow more, faster, and more confidently than the previous trucks. The only down side I see to this truck is the same one that plagues (or blesses depending on your point of view) pretty much all new vehicles, over complication. You guys know my ranks about preferring simplicity, but I realize I’m a dinosaur in that thinking. At the end of the day, all the electronics and systems in this F-250 combine to create one impressive truck. If you own an older Super Duty you owe it to yourself to check one out. In fact, I think I may just start shopping for one. Make mine a 2020 F-350 SRW with the Tremor package.