Dear truck makers,
Enough already! Your trucks are big. I get it. Can we stop with the bigger is better mentality?
I spent a last week with a 2017 Ford F-250, a mega truck not exactly suited to the urban confines I call home. Ford updated its Heavy Duty pickups for the 2017 model year, increasing the power output, stiffening the frame, improving the ride, and making these behemoths even bigger and more capable. But no smaller, that's for sure.
The timing of my pickup loan was fortuitous, as my mom needed some stuff moved. I know, right? As soon as you get a truck you have to help people move.
The following are some thoughts on living and working with Ford’s new Heavy Duty pickup.
For a guy who lives in Chicago and has to deal with alleys, street parking, and tight one-way streets with cars lined up on both sides, this thing is just too darn big. If I had a sprawling ranch in West Texas, it would be fine, but do today’s trucks need to be too big to fit in most garages?
I used to think that retractable running boards were a ridiculous luxury. Not any more. If this monster didn’t have running boards, I’d have to set up base camp half way up the climb so I could acclimate to the change in atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels. Retractable running boards are still not entirely necessary, but there are times when fixed steps become a problem, like when off-roading, so retracting them up into the underbelly of the truck is useful.
The bed step is a godsend.
I moved several boxes for my mom and that meant getting into and out of the bed. Without the bed step built into the tailgate, I would have had to learn the Fosbury Flop. I was an idiot, though, and didn’t realize that the handle was part of the mechanism, too, so I had to rely on balance to get up and down instead of steadying myself with the handle. Now I know, and I'm slightly less of an idiot.
The diesel is a stroke of genius.
Ford’s Powerstroke 6.7-liter V-8 turbodiesel churns out 440 horsepower and an earth-moving 925 pound-feet of torque. Here, it is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that's larger than most apartments in Chicago.
This duo does a great job of getting the F-250 moving from a stop, and if you floor it from a light, 60 mph will arrive in about 7.0 seconds. Highway passing is also a breeze, making this monster, which weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,500 pounds, scoot like a much smaller car.
Over 459 miles of driving, mostly on the highway where I was pushing a big brick through the air at 75 mph, the F-250 returned 15.1 mpg. While that doesn’t sound spectacular, I think it’s pretty good for such a heavy, lumbering beast. Had I heeded the posted speed limit, I'm sure I could have upped that by 1-2 mpg.