When it comes to high-powered, off-roading, and trailer-hauling pickup trucks, no brand does it better than Ford. With decades of auto-making experience, Ford is one of the most trusted manufacturers. The American brand has an outstanding stat sheet of production vehicles. This ranges from the smallest ultramini models to the large Excursion crossovers. And its trucks keep getting stronger and mightier by the minute. One of the brand’s trucks that is more recognized is the Ford Super Duty. If you don’t know much about how far this capable truck has come, brace yourselves.

The Ford Super Duty first rolled out of the assembly line in the late 1990s and quickly grew popular. During the time, the American truck market faced high demand for new trucks. And customers were ready to indulge themselves in something with a little more practicality, more power, and greater off-roading capabilities, among other things. Once the Ford Super Duty made it into the market for the first time in 1998, it stole all the attention. It came with an entirely pioneering appearance, a robust engine, and a plethora of equipment. Not only did the Super Duty change the way we look at trucks. It also changed our perception when shopping for them.

In a lot of ways, the Ford Super Duty revolutionized the American truck market. In this post, we’re looking at how the Ford evolved over the last couple of years, to become the champion it is today.

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The First-Generation Ford Super Duty Makes Its Way To The Market (1998 – 2007)

Via: Bringatrailer

At its start, the Ford Super Duty came available in 3 trims: the Base X, the midrange XLT, and the Lariat. The midrange became the most popular level. It offered a lot of features and came at a reasonable price. All models had the same old fashion look on the outside, with slight exterior differences at the fascia. It also had a more tech-focused interior, offered in a limited number of shades. The major difference was their shape. Models were either available in a 2+2 door Super Cab, two-door standard cab, and four-door crew cab shape.

The brand went on and added the F-450 and F-550 chassis cab trucks in the mix. These models came with two powertrain options. One was a 5.4 L Triton V8 petrol engine, which made 255 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The other was a 7.3 L turbocharged Diesel V8 diesel engine, which produced 235 hp and a class-leading 500 lb-ft of torque. The larger engine welcomed a lot of updates, such as air-to-air cooling and a turbocharger. All Ford Super Duty trims did outstandingly well in off-roading and hauling tasks. One particular trade-off was the fuel consumption in diesel-powered trims. But the truck made up for this with a great reliability factor.

Ford added the rear-hinged doors on the extended cab of all SuperCab-configured trucks. With this feature, the Ford Super Duty accommodated more passengers without compromising on the payload - at least not by much. The feature became so widespread and later inspired the Ford F-150 and the legendary Mazda’s B-Series models, both produced in the next year. In 2005, Ford revised the Super Duty’s exterior, featuring a completely new front end, and a locking tailgate at the rear. Higher engine output required stronger engines to take on all those horses. For this, the brand equipped the Super Duty with four-wheel disc brakes.

RELATED: Supercharged All-New 7.3L Ford Super Duty Cranks Out 700 HP

Second Generation Super Duty Debuts In 2008 With A New Look and Fresh Power Stroke Engine (2008 – 2010)

Via: Ford

The Second-generation Super Duty came with a stroke of bad luck initially. The truck was set to debut as a 2007 model. Because of some quality issues, the brand held back on the release and focused on the problem, which was the quality. But that didn’t stop the brand from receiving orders, nor did it stop customers from placing them. The wait only raised people’s anticipation of the ever-so dedicated Super Duty. The second-generation model came with a 6.4-liter Power stroke Diesel V8 engine, which made 350 horsepower and 650 lb.-oft of torque. The 6.8-liter V10 also made it to the scene, producing up to 362 horsepower.

The brand introduced cool features to the second generation. One was the Rapid-Heat Supplemental Cab Heating system. The other was the concealed slide-out step and swing-up hand grab bar. This allowed easy access to the rear tailgate. Standard equipment included a new audio system, Ford’s SYNC entertainment, and GPS navigation, among many other things. The second-generation line-up also featured a new trim: FX4. This trim came with exclusive seats with the sFX4 cloth upholstery. It also arrived with other great features, such as the anti-theft ignition system, keyless entry, and a black leather-wrapped steering wheel. The exterior welcomed all-terrain tires with 17-inch forged aluminum wheels. When compared, the newer one was significantly longer than the 2005 update. But the Extended Cab models lost a few inches in length.

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The Third Generation Ford Super Duty Notches Up In Power (2011 – 2016)

Via: Ford

By 2011, the third-generation line-up debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. This then-new line-up received a total makeover, giving it a new and larger grille, as well as more powerful engines. Its face gave it a new story and attracted yet a larger audience. There were two engines on offer. These were: a 6.8-liter Triton V10 from the previous line, a 6.2-liter Boss SOHC V8, and a 6.7-liter power stroke turbo diesel V8. All engines came paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 came offered in all trim levels, including the XL, XLT, Lariat. Newer trims also debuted: the Platinum and King Ranch. This generation line-up competed with the likes of Ram HD and the popular Silverado HD.

And to stay ahead of the competition, the F-series Super Duty offered more features on all fronts. Firstly, the truck had an extended pulling capacity, with the highest trim, the F450, towing up to 24,400 pounds, and carrying 4,920 pounds in its bed. Throughout this generation, the F-450’s towing capacity increased. By 2015, it could tow up to 31,200 pounds. The 2011 Super Duty also came with a locking differential, a Sony premium amplified sound system, and a color instrument panel screen. The King Ranch trim added the special King Ranch logo on seats and floor, for a unique appeal.

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The Fourth Generation Super Duty (2017 – Present)

Via: Ford

Following the success of its third-generation line-up, another generation was underway. It showcased its resilient steel frame and military-grade aluminum-alloy body. The adaption of an aluminum body reduced the curb weight by about 700 pounds. Taking into account that the truck had heavier steel frames and extra components, the weight-saving was good for the truck. The 2017 line-up inhabited the same engines from the previous generation. But some changes came in to maximize torque produced which, in turn, enabled a more efficient and energy-saving driving. In April 2017, Ford recalled all F-250 Super Duty trucks. This is because they had a risk of faulty rods, which affected up to 52,000 trucks. Ford maintained the trim levels through 2018 when the Limited trim joined the ensemble.

For the 2020 model year, Ford revised Super Duty’s design. On the outside, the truck received a new grille, tailgate, and wheels. The inside featured high-quality materials, which oozed luxury on so many levels. It came with a 7.3-liter engine that made 430 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft of torque. The 6.7-liter counterpart produced up to 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb.-ft of torque. These come paired to a standard 10-speed automatic. In the 2020 model year, Ford had a nickname for the F-250 and F-350: the Tremor. Recall, this was initially the name used as a sports appearance package in 2014. Today, the Tremor is the ultimate off-roading truck line and has become a model of its own. It currently competes directly with the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. It offers driving modes to fit all kinds of terrain conditions, a higher ground clearance, and a water fording of 33 inches.

The Super Duty’s heritage still continues. Ford recently tested the 2023 Ford Super Duty for the first time last year, as reported by Ford Authority.

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