The playground battle for supremacy has a slightly longer bat. Ford moved its hand toward the top Tuesday when it announced that its 2018 Ford Super Duty will offer more horsepower and torque than the competition—for now.
When equipped with a 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8, the 2018 Ford Super Duty will make 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque, up slightly from competitors Chevrolet and Ram.
The latest superlative crown is likely to be short-lived—the Detroit Three annually jockey for the claim with identical engines that are tuned for more output each year.
The Ford Super Duty was new for 2017 and featured the largely same engine, although tuned for 440 hp and 925 lb-ft. The small increase can be largely attributed to modifications in the engine’s software, although small changes to the engine's cylinder heads are new for 2018.
The Ram and General Motors’ heavy duties are close behind the Ford Super Duty in terms of tugging performance. The Ram HD models make up to 930 lb-ft when equipped with an optional 6.7-liter turbodiesel, and the GM models make 445 hp and 910 lb-ft when equipped with an optional 6.6-liter turbodiesel.
It’s entirely fair to call the one-upmanship a shell game: usually the same hardware is boosted slightly from the factory for more performance and bragging rights. Maximum torque isn’t accessible from a stop or at low speeds (that much torque would twist a transmission harder than the logic required to understand why you’d need that much pull in the first place) and horsepower is still a calculation of performance—not a measured observation.
But, the 2018 Ford Super Duty can claim the crown now: most available horsepower from a diesel engine, best-in-class torque and towing, and most willing to play the game for today.