Derek Shiekhi | Feb 10, 2020


    

Exterior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

Technically, 2020 does not mark the beginning of an entirely new generation of the Ford Super Duty line of trucks. Ford officially calls this model year a "mid-cycle action" because it has significantly revised the current Super Duty family. We're not talking just a few cosmetic tweaks and new options packages. The 2020 Super Duty has refreshed front and rear styling, of course, but it also has an expanded assortment of engine choices, a new 10-speed automatic, and updated technology. On top of all of that, the Tremor is back after a years-long hiatus.

This time, it's a comprehensive off-road package that Ford offers on XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum F-250s and F-350s. Ford was kind enough to fly me out to Arizona so I could thoroughly experience the Tremor and the rest of the new Super Duty lineup in a variety of settings.

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2020 Ford Super Duty Exterior

Exterior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

The 2020 Super Duty's front end is a combination of form and function. Designers reshaped the headlights and the grille. Engineers incorporated their own changes. The LED headlights are brighter than before. Duallys get a unique grille design that allows a high amount of air to flow through and cool the engine. The revised front bumper and air dam further improve cooling on all Super Duty models. The back end of the Super Duty gets a similar treatment. It features a new bumper as well as new taillights that flank a redesigned tailgate with the words "S U P E R  D U T Y" across the middle and the Ford logo above them.Tremor models benefit from those same updates and add a few signature touches, including a 2-inch front-end lift, skid plates to protect vital underbody hardware, unique 18-inch wheels wrapped in 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, and two styles of running boards (fixed and power-deployable).

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2020 Ford Super Duty Interior

Interior view of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

The 2020 Super Duty's cabin is largely carried over from the 2019 model year. Lariats get updated appliques on the doors and media bin lid. On Platinum models, those same pieces now come in Onyx Argento wood. Ford revamped the Limited's interior color scheme, which is now a combination of Ebony and Highland Tan leather accented by black coarse ash wood and brushed aluminum trim. Ford did make some important technical improvements, though. A 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access is standard across the Super Duty range. Many Super Dutys double as mobile offices, which makes the 2020 models' available wireless, USB-A, and USB-C mobile device charging options that much more significant.

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2020 Ford Super Duty Performance

Engine view of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

The Super Duty is now available with two gas V8s. The 6.2-liter V8 with 385 horsepower and 430 horsepower is the base unit. An all-new 7.3-liter gasser known as "Godzilla" pounds the pavement and earth with 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft. Ford's 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 is also new. Ford equipped the third-generation model with a stronger block; more robust heads, connecting rods, and bearings; a new fuel system; lower-friction steel pistons; and a redesigned variable-geometry turbocharger. As a result, output is up to 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of grunt. Ford still offers a 6-speed automatic, but not across the entire 2020 Super Duty engine spectrum; most 2020 Super Duty configurations will have the new 10-speed transmission.

Properly configured, a gas-powered F-250 can carry 4,260 pounds of payload and gooseneck-tow 19,500 pounds. Those figures go up to 3,940 and 22,800, respectively, for the diesel F-250. An F-250 with the Power Stroke V8 can also bumper-pull 20,000 pounds and fifth-wheel-tow 22,800 pounds.

F-350s get even more work done. Single-rear-wheel trucks with gas power can haul 4,960 pounds and gooseneck-tow a maximum of 21,000 pounds. Gasser duallys are able to carry 7,850 pounds and pull up to 21,200 pounds. The new Power Stroke diesel gives the F-350 dually a payload rating of 7,030 pounds and 35,750 pounds of gooseneck pulling power. The F-450 is the productivity king with a conventional tow rating of 24,200 pounds, a fifth-wheel towing max of 32,500 pounds, and a gooseneck limit of 37,000 pounds. 

I had the opportunity to use the Godzilla V8 and the Power Stroke diesel in two completely different scenarios. The Tremor is available with either engine. I drove an F-350 with the Tremor package through an impressively challenging off-road course that Ford had carved through a quarry. A company engineer rode shotgun and made sure I used every bit of the Tremor's trail-focused software and hardware. I threw the transfer case into 4L before engaging the Tremor's Rock Crawl mode (unique to the Tremor), which calmed down the throttle response and enabled me to precisely meter out the Power Stroke's grunt. I didn't scrape once thanks to the travel in the Tremor's specially tuned twin-tube shocks and its 10.8 inches of ground clearance.

Downhill sections and a steep uphill section that filled the entire windshield with sky showed me the value of the Tremor's Trail Control system. Using one of the cruise control system's rocker switches, I set a speed between 1 and 20 mph, then let Trail Control sort out the throttle and braking for me while I steered. The Tremor's limited-slip front and locking rear differentials kept me from getting stuck in a horseshoe-shaped mud bog. The water didn't come close to the Tremor's maximum wading depth of 33 inches - not even when I drove through a large puddle of muddy water at 25 mph and sent up huge plumes of sienna.

Ford set up a towing section an hour or so away from the off-road course. After seeing demonstrations of the Super Duty's new Pro Trailer Backup Assist and Trailer Reverse Guidance systems (compatible with conventional, gooseneck, and fifth-wheel trailers), I chose to saddle up an F-350 Tremor that was attached to a 19-foot-long trailer. With a weight of roughly 7,500 pounds, the load was well south of the Tremor range's conventional maximum tow rating of 15,000 pounds. That became clear once I hit the road. The off-road trailer didn't seem to faze the Godzilla V8 under the F-350's chiseled hood. My test truck just kept pulling and pulling, even as I climbed a winding mountain pass. When I went downhill, the 10-speed automatic (in Tow/Haul mode) did a great job of staying in the right gear and preventing the big-block V8 and the Tremor's brakes from working harder than they needed to.

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2020 Ford Super Duty Safety

View of safety equipment of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

Ford made the 2020 Super Duty even more of a fortress than it was before. XLT and above models come standard with automatic high beams, Lane-Keeping Alert, Blind Spot Information System with Trailer Coverage, and Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking.

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2020 Ford Super Duty Overall

View of the exterior of the 2020 Ford Ford Super Duty

Ford has its own term for the most powerful and most capable Super Duty ever. If you want to call the 2020 Super Duty yours, you can find the entire model range in AutoNation Ford dealerships right now. Starting prices range from $33,705* for the F-250 XL to $90,530* for the F-450 Limited.

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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.