When you’re 20 years old, you don’t think twice about hopping up into the bed of a pickup truck to retrieve something. When you’re 40 – and I can personally attest to this – you can still hop up into the truck bed, but really don’t want to. You generally waste a minute or two trying to reach whatever it is you’re after from the ground before giving up and climbing up on the bumper and into the bed. When you’re 60 – hopefully – you just tell the 20-year-old on your crew to climb up in there and get whatever it is you need.
But if you purchase a 2008 Ford Super Duty pickup this year, climbing into the truck bed will become a lot easier. That’s because Ford – after gathering lots of feedback and suggestions from pickup truck owners across the country – has equipped its all-new Super Duty lineup with a host of innovative ideas, including an optional Tailgate Step.
The two-piece “bed extender,” as Ford calls it, stows neatly into the truck’s tailgate when not needed. The Tailgate Step is fully integrated into the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use. To use the step, you simply drop the tailgate, grab the bottom step and pull it straight out and let it drop into the down position. At the same time, a grab handle folds up and out of the tailgate for extra stability and is capable of supporting up to 300 pounds. When not in use, the handle fits snugly into a channel molded into the tailgate liner. Both the step and the handle are crafted from high-strength steel and have been tested to handle loads up to 1,000 pounds.
All-new F-450 model completes Super Duty lineup
Of course there’s more to the new Super Duty line than a folding tailgate step. The new trucks – which have been designated 2008 models, but are available at Ford dealerships now – will be offered with three cab styles, two bed lengths and a bold look and stance both inside and out. An all-new, more powerful, yet quieter Power Stroke diesel engine contributes to what Ford says is best-in-class payload, gross vehicle weight ratings and trailer tow rates for vehicles in the over-8,500-pound truck segment. Even more significant, Ford has filled the previous Class 4 gap in its lineup by expanding the Super Duty line to include an all-new F-450 pickup.
Ford says its research indicates more than 90 percent of Super Duty owners use their trucks to tow trailers and that those towing needs are growing. The 2008 F-450 was designed to handle that growing demand for towing capability with a model-exclusive chassis and new, rear leaf-spring suspension and radius arm front suspension to provide enhanced maneuverability and turning performance when towing. When combined with the F-450’s axle and powertrain, this suspension can haul a vehicle payload of more than 6,000 pounds and tow more than 24,000 pounds – an increase of more than 5,000 pounds compared with the F-350 model it complements.
A diesel so clean it’s on par with gasoline engine emissions
The new 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel engine joins a lineup that already includes the 362-horsepower, 6.8-liter, V-10 Triton gasoline engine. The new Power Stroke diesel delivers 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. The new engine uses Ford’s Clean Diesel Technology, which includes a high-pressure, common rail fuel system, Piezo-electric fuel injectors and an advanced diesel particulate filter to ensure strong engine performance while reducing particulate output by more than 90 percent. This engine is so clean Ford says it posts emissions numbers on par with gasoline engines.
High-tech, series sequential turbochargers provide improved throttle response and better low-end performance, thanks to a small, electronically controlled, smart remote, variable-geometry turbocharger. This system kicks in at low engine rpms to provide extra boost at takeoff. As engine rpms increase, the larger, fixed turbocharger engages to boost power throughout the middle of the torque curve. As the truck’s optimum speed is reached, the largest of the sequential turbochargers kicks in to maintain top end engine performance. Ford says tests of this system have shown zero-to-60 times more than a second faster than the 6.0 diesel the new Power Stroke replaces.
“Tough luxury” concept heads Super Duty design effort
All Super Duty models were designed with a “tough luxury” mantra, which combined serious off-road and highway performance with a quiet interior and comfortable cab.
In fact, on the highway, it’s the new Super Duty interior which is most impressive. Ford engineers capitalized on the already-quieter new Power Stroke engine by adding composite laminated steel sheet metal to the firewall and dash panel. This steel paneling is combined with extra sound padding in the dash and floor, a rear bulkhead panel and thicker side glass, which all help to keep unwanted drivetrain noise to a minimum.
A new dash layout includes a prominent center stack, which houses most of the truck’s switches. Like the center-mounted trailer brake control system, all of these switches are fully integrated into the dash and vehicle electronic system for a clearer, user-friendly appearance. All gauges have been organized better and are now easier to read when driving down the road.
All new door trim includes dual map pockets, while a larger center console is designed to store file folders and store laptop computers out of sight. A totally redesigned climate control system has more balanced airflow and quieter operation than previous Super Duty model trucks. A more reliable, higher capacity air compressor helps boost A/C performance and dual zone electronic, automatic temperature controls for driver and passengers is standard.
Walking around the new Super Duty trucks, the first thing you notice is the bold front-end, characterized by a larger, more prominent grill and accented by outward flowing fender flares with integrated air vents. The new grill isn’t just cosmetic: Its larger design helps improve cooling system performance, which in turn boosts towing performance.
The new grill sits on a horizontal cut line that defines the top of the bumper, but more importantly provides a base for the new stacked headlights. The step pad on the front bumper has been specifically textured and designed to accommodate owners who stand on it while servicing the truck.
In addition to the afore-mentioned Tailgate Step, Ford engineers added a host of innovative design features to the 2008 Super Duty line – all of which are aimed at boosting productivity and enhancing safety. These include new PowerScope integrated exterior mirrors. Powerscope mirrors feature powered folding and telescoping movements, including a manually adjustable spotter mirror that is more than double the size of mirrors on previous generation Super Duty trucks. The large mirrors extend outward up to 2.75 inches or fold inward or outward at the touch of a windowsill-mounted electric switch. The operator’s preferred mirror positions can be programmed in conjunction with the truck’s seat-position and pedal-memory system. The mirrors come standard with heated glass, clearance lamps and integrated turn signals.