|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck, Lariat King Ranch Edition.|
What was tested? 2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty ($47,730).
Options: Automatic transmission ($1,490), power moonroof ($995), upgraded stereo ($625).
Price as tested (including $720 destination charge): $50,840.
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty is one of the largest full-size pickup trucks on the road. It comes standard with a powerful 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine, or an optional 6.8-liter Triton V10 for enormous towing capacity of up to 24,000 pounds. When carrying a significant payload, the truck handles well. But empty, it's tiresome to drive. Get one if you really need to tow often. Skip it if you don't.
They say climbing a mountain is the greatest test of a man's strength, endurance and sheer will to survive.
I was about to find out just how strong I was.
|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck, Lariat King Ranch Edition towing horse trailer.|
Starting my journey was easy enough, but the higher I ascended the more difficult each step became. Soon I was struggling for breath, knowing how thin the air must be at these high altitudes as I clung to the mountain for dear life. I was starting to get dizzy and began to think about how long my emergency rations would last if I got stuck up here, unable to muster enough willpower to take another step.
And then, after what felt like months of climbing, I reached the driver's seat of the Ford F-450.
This mountain of a truck is bigger than any other pickup for sale today. It feels exactly like Mount Rainier with a steering wheel as it lumbers around town, crushing boulders and probably some Miatas and PT Cruisers along the way, too.
If you think the Hummer H1 is big, wait 'til you see an F-450. The Ford is 78 inches longer, half an inch taller and 1,000 pounds heavier than the vehicle designed to do Uncle Sam's dirty work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck interior.|
It bears repeating: This truck is bigger than the biggest Hummer you can buy.
There's a reason for the F-450's dimensional madness, though. It's designed to tow more than any other pickup -- up to a mind-blowing 24,000 pounds -- so it has to be big, strong and unbelievably heavy.
If you tow stuff for a living or happen to own a mammoth RV trailer, then the F-450 makes sense.
Ford executives did their homework before making this truck available to consumers -- it was only sold as a commercial vehicle before now -- and they say there's a growing number of baby boomers who want things like granite countertops in their RV but can't tow that much weight with a run-of-the-mill F-350. The F-450 solves that problem.
|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck sunroof.|
Like a commercial vehicle, the F-450 is designed specifically for hauling heavy loads. It comes with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel (350 horsepower, 650 pound-feet of torque), but you can also opt for the 6.8-liter Triton V10 (364 horsepower, 457 pound-feet).
Unlike a commercial vehicle, you can get an F-450 with a luxurious interior to create the ultimate cowboy ride with goodies like a navigation system and rear-seat DVD player.
This truck is great for people who need it. But if you don't do frequent towing, you don't want to be anywhere near this pickup.
|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck 6.4-liter Powerstroke diesel engine.|
If God is fair, he's going to make sure Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini all drive F-450s in hell. I can't think of a better punishment than cruising around the lake of fire in this Ford, which makes your back feel like it's being run through a meat grinder and your eardrums sound like they're being blown up with dynamite.
But, having grown up in Texas, I know there will be a few cowboys who suffer from cerebral deficiency and actually think it's cool to drive this truck on the streets of Dallas.
To them, I have only one thing to say.
|2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty Full-Size Pickup Truck TailGate Step. It pulls down and out in one motion enabling easy access for climbing into the bed.|
Please don't crush me.
Pros: If you do serious towing -- that is, up to 24,000 pounds -- this truck is built just for you.
Cons: It's automotive hell when you're not towing.