CHATHAM, Mass – Numbers seem the most logical way to begin a discussion about the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Platinum 4X4 Power Stroke with the new for 2020 Tremor off-road package.
Numbers like 475 horsepower and a pull-almost-anything 1050 pounds-feet of torque produced by the 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine. This powerplant is rated to handle trailers up to 21,700 pounds (with a bed-mounted fifth wheel; 18,200 pounds with a conventional frame-mounted hitch), or 3,040 pounds of cargo in the 6.75-foot pickup bed.
But the most impressive number I experienced during my time of captaining the RAPID (VERY) RED machine around the highways, byways and lanes of Cape Cod was 20.1 – the miles per gallon of low-sulfur diesel fuel this 7,009-pound truck consumed while in my hands.
The fuel-economy figure might pale by some of today’s vehicles, especially ones with hybrid powertrains, but in the world of large pickup trucks, it shines. For example, the 20.1 mpg represents a 47-percent jump from the 13.7 mpg we achieved last summer in a similarly equipped F-250 Super Duty – a spectacular improvement!
Ford Shakes up Super Duty with 2020 Changes
The great fuel economy comes at a price: $8,450 above the 7.3-liter V8 truck we previously tested, but for specific applications along with the longevity of diesel engines, the money becomes a sound investment, paying dividends throughout the truck’s lifespan (which if maintained properly, could be decades long).
Putting all that power to the pavement was a 10-speed automatic transmission operating through a part-time four-wheel-drive system. AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control® and Trailer Sway Control help keep things moving steadily over all types of roads.
The suspension featured Independent twin I-beam (narrow front track) with coil springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer bar up front, while in the rear was a solid axle with leaf springs. The Tremor off-road package brought suspension updates including a front-end lift, progressive-rate springs and custom 1.7-inch piston twin-tube shock absorbers.
Add to this 35-inch Goodyear maximum-traction tires – the largest tires fitted to any heavy-duty pickup truck – on 18-inch black matte-finished wheels and the Ford is ready to attack water up to 33 inches deep, clear 10.4 of obstacles (almost two inches more than a standard Super Duty 4X4) and the best approach/departure angles possible in a Super Duty.
In addition, the Super Duty Tremor has Trail Control™, plus a special rock-crawl mode included in the truck’s first-ever selectable drive modes to further add to its off-road prowess.
All this adds up to a truck very capable of going places heavy-duty pickups had not previously ventured. It also means a ride a bit stiffer, bouncier than normal (especially in an unloaded truck), but not unpleasant on decent pavement.
No sweat driving the Super Duty thanks to extensive ADAS
This is a big truck, not a sports car, but driving it around the tight confines of the Cape was relatively simple, once I adjusted to the size. The available 360°-camera view (supplementing a rear exposure) greatly aided in navigating supermarket parking lots, as did other advanced driver-assist systems’ parking aids.
The F-250 Super Duty Platinum includes a plethora of ADAS including Ford’s BLIS (blind spot information system) with rear cross-traffic alert; lane-keeping alert; pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB); adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
The braking functions of the ADAS bring into action the four-wheel anti-lock backed system including vented 14.29-inch rotors at all four corners (living inside the aforementioned 18-inch matte-black wheels).
Surprising oasis inside the beast
Even with the running boards, at 5-feet, 7-inches, I needed to pay attention climbing into the Super Duty. Once seated on the electrically adjusted (including lumbar support and massage functionality), heated and ventilated leather clad seat (same for front passenger; rear passengers just get heat) and door closed, it was like being in a finely equipped SUV.
Electronic aids also assist in adjusting the steering wheel for height and reach and the brake and accelerator pedals as well (and then these settings, along with those for the driver’s seat and outside rearview mirrors can be stored in memory for instantaneous readjustment). The driver and passenger’s windows feature one-touch up/down control.
Technology abounds in the Super Duty Platinum from the eight-inch color touch screen which has detailed controls for everything from the dual-zone electronic automatic climate-control system to the infotainment system (with sound from sources like satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pumped through a Bang & Olofson audio system with 10 speakers) to the voice-activated navigation program. (And despite the raucous diesel under the hood, the sound level inside the Crew Cab is well controlled allowing normal conversations and the ability to enjoy the infotainment-system’s music.)
A logically arranged set of buttons supplements the on-screen controls for the climate-control and infotainment systems (the latter also able to be remotely run from steering-wheel controls).
A FordPass™ Connect 4G wireless WiFi hotspot means staying online with a mobile device is simple, while USB, 110-Volt and 12-Volt electrical outlets allows these devices to remain fully charged and functional. And for the latest, most technologically advanced smartphone, a wireless charging pad in the center console can also maintain its ability to communicate with the world outside the truck’s roomy interior.
Opening the electronic shade for the panoramic moonroof will let the sunshine in, thus creating an even roomier feel for the big truck.
The sum of the parts equals a terrific heavy-duty pickup
Adding up all the features of this 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Platinum 4X4 Crew Cab pickup — and there are far too many to cover in this space — produces a very convincing total for someone looking for the capability (up to 21,700-pounds towing capacity; 10.5-inches of ground clearance), versatility, economical operation (20 miles per gallon of diesel fuel) and comfort it offers.
The price is commensurate with the overall package. The Platinum trim version of the F-250 4X4 Crew Cab starts at $66,225. Add in the major options like the 6.7-liter diesel ($10,495), Tremor package ($3,975), twin-panel moonroof ($1,495), high-capacity trailer tow package ($1,130) along with some minor ones, and the total (with $1,695 destination and delivery charge) is $86,395.
That is a lot of numbers, a lot of money, but this is a LOT of truck. The sum is definitely equal to its parts.