The new F-250: Have a big travel trailer? This is your truck

Author's note: Bryan Laviolette is a former co-worker of mine. What makes us forever connected is we both purchased identical travel trailers (2000 Trail Lite Bantam) within months of each other from the same salesman at General RV. In addition to his regular job with the Michigan Credit Union League, Bryan also writes automotive reviews for area newspapers. Here's his review on the new F-150, the best-selling truck in America for nearly 40 years, and one you see at many RV parks pulling a travel trailer.

How it's rated (1-5 stars, 5 being best)
  • Performance *****
  • Interior ****
  • Handling ****
  • Styling ****
  • Overall ****
Good: Comfortable interior, big truck diesel sounds
Bad: MyFordTouch is getting better, but there’s still more to do
Bottom line: Have a big travel trailer? This is your truck
Base price: $54,030 (including destination)
Price as tested: $64,710
Powertrain: 6.2-liter gasoline V-8, 385 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 405 lb.-ft. torque @ 4,500 rpm or 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8, 400 hp @ 2,800 rpm, 800 lb.-ft. torque @ 1,600 rpm; six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
Curb weight: 7,454 pounds
MPG: NA city, NA highway, 16 observed
Built: Louisville, Kentucky

By Bryan Laviolette

This is the way to travel with friends

Plan to tow something like a fifth-wheel travel trailer? This is the vehicle you want. Not one like it. This exact one. 

Start with the Ford F-250 Super Duty. Bump up to the top trim level, the Platinum (starting at $54,395, including destination; base F-250s start at $31,230). Add in the 6.7-liter diesel ($7,960), fifth-wheel hitch prep package ($370), transmission power take-off provision ($280), dual alternators ($380) and even a heated rear seat ($300) and you have the perfect tow vehicle for a couple to travel in style with a pair of friends. Now that’s a double date.

Spec’d with the 3.55 electronic locking rear differential ($390), this rig could tow up to 14,000 with a hitch or a whopping 16,300 pounds if pulling a fifth wheel. 

It’s a great way to travel. With Ford’s integrated sway control and brake controller, it just doesn’t get any easier to tow the equivalent of a small house. 

Pushing the right pedal makes the truck feel as though it’s being pushed by some otherworldly force. This is a massive truck, but, if requested, it will accelerate like a spry little F-150.

That’s because the 6.7-liter turbodiesel twists 800 pound-feet of torque at just 1,600 rpm. While Ford’s 385-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 is standard, this truck just feels like it should have a diesel. The diesel nearly doubles the gasser’s 405 pound-feet of torque. Emphasize that point: The turbodiesel has nearly double the torque of the gasoline engine.

The Platinum adds other features that make towing a breeze. The power folding mirrors also telescope outward at the touch of a button making it easier to see around a big trailer. The Platinum also comes standard with navigation and MyFordTouch, so finding the campground shouldn’t be a problem.

Hooking up the camper is a piece of cake because the backup camera is perfectly positioned to see the trailer hitch.

Ford has done a great job pumping up the volume of the Super Duty’s styling. Unlike a couple of generations ago, the big truck no longer looks like an oversize F-150. The massive chrome grille surround announces the truck’s presence with authority.

The interior is very comfortable. The massive seats offer plenty of adjustments. The leather smells luscious. The back seat in our CrewCab – the Platinum is only available with the largest cab style – was roomy and comfortable. 

There are a few niggles to complain about inside. Why does such a massive truck have such tiny front footwells? Blame the beefy transmission for requiring that massive center console. Speaking of the center console, why do the front seat passengers need four cupholders? But there’s no place for a cellphone – other than one of the cupholders. 

Ford has improved MyFordTouch, but why can’t the virtual buttons, such as the ones for the seat heaters and heated steering wheel, be bigger? There’s space on the touchscreen to make those buttons bigger. And considering that the seat heat and cool functions can’t be controlled by voice, shouldn’t they have real buttons elsewhere? You’ll find that adjusting the heating and cooling of your seats are the only reason you even touch the screen.

And as nicely styled as the truck’s interior is, fake wood trim just seems wrong. Do buyers of big, expensive trucks really like that stuff?

Outside, the chrome step rails feel a little slippery with snow on them.

The only complaint about the way the truck drives is a little bit of a side step on bumpy pavement in turns. It’s hard to avoid with this truck’s combination of size and stiff suspension, which is necessary to get the extreme towing capacity. The six-speed transmission never gives any sort of hint that it is capable of transmitting all that torque to the drivetrain.

Owners might protest a bit when they have to visit the pump. While trucks of this size are not required to have EPA fuel economy numbers, we saw 16 mpg, mostly spent on freeways. 

Many automakers have removed almost all hint diesel engine sounds, particularly in smaller diesels. But the big 6.7 in the Super Duty seems to flaunt its dieselness. The people who buy giant trucks like this probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

In a world where luxury cars can easily rise above – or double – the price of this truck, the F-250 Super Duty Platinum starts to look like a bargain. And just try hooking up an eight-ton trailer to one of those luxo-yachts. 

Bryan Laviolette is a Detroit-area writer and editor of