|Positives: Enough power and torque to take on Herculean tasks, interior space fit for a family of tall adults, capacious interior storage, easy infotainment system, great towing tech, easy to drive for something this large.|
|Negatives: Some clumsy styling elements, ergonomics could be better, rough riding at times, braking isn't very reassuring.|
|Bottom Line: The F-250 is right-sized for those who need more capability than a half-ton and not quite as much as the massive F-350. Fully loaded, the F-250 is expensive but comes with everything you need for daily driving duties, as well as major tasks. It's still one of the best big rigs in existence.|
Heavy duty trucks aren't about great driving dynamics. Instead, it's about towing and hauling. The F-250 diesel is a powerful beast of burden that definitely feels big and brawny while you're behind the wheel, but it still needs improvement in some key areas.
Ride Quality: The F-250 definitely rides on the side of firmness. Over pavement gaps, it was a bit unsettled, but it does well over mostly smooth roads. The adaptive cruise control works while towing big loads, and it operates smoothly and without drama.
Acceleration: Gear shifts are quick to respond, but there is definitely some turbo lag. Once it gets moving, however, the F-250 is potent. It'll hurtle to 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds, very fast for a truck that weighs about 6,700 pounds.
Braking: The F-250's brakes are one of the worst parts about the truck. They're spongy and not reassuring in emergency situations. Stopping distances are also longer than average.
Steering: The steering is nicely on-center, and the adaptive steering helps drivers maneuver at low speeds with less effort. Feedback, however, is absent.
Handling: This is a tall truck, and you feel it when you enter turns that require some planning. Overall, though, it's still manageable for a large vehicle.
The F-250 has more than just great infotainment tech with the SYNC 3 system. Its Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System has a whopping seven cameras, as well as a rearview camera that can be mounted on a trailer, along with a trailer tire-pressure monitoring system.
Infotainment System: The screen is crisp and clear, and it responds to inputs very quickly. It's just too bad the 8" touchscreen is far too small for a vehicle of this size. Ford plans on changing this soon with 12" and 15" versions, so that's good news.
Controls: For the most part, the controls work well. We especially like the large knurled knobs for audio and climate. The climate control buttons could use a better layout. They're too close together and the vent selection controls are confusing.
When you start to get into the larger heavy duty trucks, automakers make things a little bit busy for our liking. All three major heavy duty manufacturers (Ford, GM, and Ram) give their truck dramatic looks that don't always translate to handsome.
Front: This is a busy front end with a lot of shapes and a ton of chrome. We can't recommend the fascia with its numerous horizontal bars and openings. It looks like it was inspired by the cargo section of a sci-fi spaceship. We could also do withtout the tacky "SUPER DUTY" embossed letterin in the hood. We get it. It's a big truck.
Rear: The Limited trim gets a big swath of metal-like treatment across the bed gate. It adds refinement, but we think it would look fine without it. There's only so much you can do with pickup truck taillights, and the F-250's add some curvature and character.
Profile: The F-250's profile view is standard pickup truck with some flair in the front window shape and the large vertical faux vent.
Cabin: In Limited trim, the normally block F-250 interior gets dressed up with special badging, two-tone leather, and nicer materials. Though we wouldn't refer to it as well-styled, it certainly looks upscale.
The F-250 in Crew Cab trim boasts a lot of space for front and rear occupants. There are definitely some cheap plastics inside, but the preponderance of them has been mitigated by high-grade Limited trim materials.
Front Seats: The seats are big and supportive, but the seat cushion could use more contour as they're pretty flat.
Rear Seats: Legroom and headroom are huge, and you can easily sit three adults in the back. The seats, like the fronts, have overly flat bottoms.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The build quality is very good, but you can still hear the big diesel engine work. There is also wind noise at highway speeds, which isn't surprising given the big mirrors, blocky shape, and the sheer size of the thing.
Visibility: Placement in tight spaces is tough given the tall, squarish front end and large dimensions, but the big glass all around is helpful, as are the cameras.
Climate: Heated and ventilated seats work quickly, and the climate system is responsive and has big vents to move large volumes of air.
Though heavy duty trucks dont' get crash/safety tested, that doesn't mean they don't come appointed with safety tech. The F-250 in Limited trim comes with a few important tech features, but there isn't any automated emergency braking, even as an option.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Our tester came standard with BLIS with cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, SOS Post-Crash Alert System.
Optional Tech: None.
The F-250 is big, and the Crew Cab gets a single bed size, the shorter 6.75-foot long version compared to the 8-foot version found on lower trims. The cabin has, as you expected, ample small and medium-sized item storage that's easy to access. Even the second row has great options.
Storage Space: The center armrest is absolutely huge and is easy to access. The center console cubby is also large, as is the one at the base of the center stack. There's even a deep tray in the dash for keys, etc.
Cargo Room: The truck bed offers 65.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
There are no EPA ratings for trucks of this size, but if you expect great efficiency, you're definitely smoking something. The big V8 gets the help of turbodiesel power, but it's still a massive vehicle with the aerodynamics of a block of concrete. At least it gets a huge 48-gallon gas tank, which might make it expensive to refuel, but puts the range easily over 500 miles.
Observed: 13.3 mpg.
Distance Driven: 76 miles.
In Limited trim, the F-250 gets the great Bang & Olufsen premium sound system as standard equipment, replacing the old Sony system. The sound is rich, full, and powerful. It's just right for a truck of this size and price, and it's nice you don't really have to pay extra for an optional system.