The redesigned 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty certainly still looks tough. New tweaks include a larger-than-life two-bar grille with a footprint-sized Blue Oval, a new hood, new headlights, and a new 20-inch chrome-look aluminum wheel option. The drop down side windows are carryover, as are three cab styles; regular, super cab, and crew cab, and beds at six foot nine inches and eight foot lengths. The useful fold-out step with handrail integrated into the tailgate is still available, too. A single overhead-cam FlexFuel-capable 6.2-liter V8 is standard, replacing last year’s 5.4-liter V8 and 6.8-liter V10.

Horsepower is higher at 385 with 405 pound-feet of torque. Two spark plugs per cylinder ensure more even combustion. But the towing set wants to know about the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8. Ford designed, the pushrod power stroke has a class exclusive carbon graphite engine block along with reverse-flow heads, and the turbo nestled in the vee of the engine. This makes for snappy throttle response and very little turbo lag, and also makes the turbo easier to service. Initially, the new Powerstroke was rated at 390 horsepower and 735 pound-feet of torque. Not numbers to sneer at, but rival Chevy raised the stakes to 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet with their new 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8. So, in August, Ford called Chevy’s bet, raising horsepower to 400 and torque to 800. All it took was a software upgrade, and it’s available free to 2011 Powerstroke owners who bought their trucks before the bump.

A higher rate alternator is an option, as are dual alternators with a combined 357 amps. Also new is a TorqShift 6R140 six-speed automatic transmission.

It includes tow haul and manual shift modes, all from the column. Gears are widely spaced and make the most of the Powerstroke’s limited rev-band. The new Powerstroke’s extra twist allows dually models to carry 7,070 pounds, up from 6,520. Maximum fifth wheel towing is 24,400, up 2,800. Again just edging out GM’s HD pickups. Fifth wheel and gooseneck tow packages are available as factory-installed options. Trailer Sway Control is included with AdvanceTrac and Roll Stability Control, all standard on single rear-wheel Super Duties.

Changes inside include a revised dash with better materials and a modernized gauge cluster. It can include a 4.2-inch productivity screen that let’s the driver keep tabs on various trailer functions. Seats remain all-day comfortable and as big as the Texas sky. New for 2011 is a reconfigurable flow-through center console. Ford’s SYNC infotainment system is available, along with Ford Work Solutions, a new option that makes the Super Duty a true mobile office.

At our test track, that deep well of diesel torque helped our F-350 hit 60 in 8.9 seconds, with shifts going by in a hurry. The quarter mile mark came up in 16.9 seconds at 84 miles per hour. Our F-350 lumbered through our slalom slowly, but with more poise than you might expect. The tall tires don’t provide much lateral control, so understeer rears its head early. Steering was quick and not too light, but was uncomfortably numb. Braking chores are handled by four-wheel ventilated ABS discs. Stops from 60 averaged 146 feet, with a mushy pedal and noticeable fade after only three runs. Diesels include Engine Exhaust Braking to better handle heavy loads going down hills. So a weekend auto crosser the F-350 is not. But then you knew that already.

No, this F-350 is happiest on the road with some serious weight over the rear axle. Big trucks also carry big prices. The base Super Duty starts at $28,995. But, with trim levels fit for a King Ranch, they can easily breach $50 grand. In this uniquely American arms race, the stakes have always been high. Horsepower and load figures are hotly contested, but at the end of the day, comfort, durability, and competence make the winner. And the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty has all those things in spades.



  • Engine: 6.7-Liter Power Stroke Turbodiesel V8
  • Horsepower: 400
  • Torque: 800 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 8.9 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 16.9 Seconds @ 84 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 146 Feet