Update: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab 4X4

By Brandon Turkus

June 10, 2013

Winding Road tends to focus on the sporty stuff, the stuff you’d take to the track on a weekend or to tackle the local autocross course with. So why are you looking at a piece on a huge Ford pickup truck that doesn’t have “Raptor” in its name?
Well, for a lot of us, our track cars and such aren’t always street legal. Much like the Marines need to catch a lift from the US Navy to get to a fight, our most dedicated racecars need to get towed to each event, usually in a large trailer.
Update: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab 4X4
Now, we don’t exactly have a large trailer at our disposal, or a racecar. We asked Editorial Director Martin to ship the Team Winding Road Boss 302S up to Michigan, along with trailer, but he cited something about shipping costs there and back. We weren’t really paying attention.
So while we weren’t able to tow anything with the Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab we borrowed, we were able to test out its accommodations and manners. We opted for a roughly 400-mile drive, which was right at the maximum of our gas-powered Ford’s range estimates. 
This is a solid number, at least for Detroit area racers. Both Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, and Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan—two of the most popular road courses in the Midwest—are about 400-mile round trips.
We loaded the truck up with four adults of varying sizes, plenty of luggage, and set out for our test.
Update: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab 4X4
Now, this may not come as a surprise, but the F-250 is not a speedster. Its 6.2-liter V-8 turns out 385 horsepower and 405, which is then tasked with towing around over 6800 pounds of truck. So no, it doesn’t sound promising, at least on paper. 
In reality, if you’re a clever driver, the F-250’s gas engine gives plenty to work with. The truck’s sheer weight means you need to have a bit more foresight of where you want to go on the road before deploying the Super Duty’s limited power. Keep an eye open, though, and this becomes a reasonably easy truck to keep pace with traffic in. It was also surprisingly quiet while cruising. Low-end torque is strong, and the power delivery is linear.
There is an argument to be made for the much more powerful 6.7-liter, Power Stroke V-8. In the 4X4 F-250, the diesel V-8 can tow up to 14,000 pounds with a conventional hitch or 15,900 pounds with a fifth-wheel setup (the 6.2 is limited to just 12,200 pounds). It also provides 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque at just 2800 and 1600 rpm, respectively. But at $8095 (our tester’s option price), and when the price of diesel is taken into account, unless you’re planning on towing there’s nothing really wrong with the 6.2-liter V-8.
We did record our fuel economy, and yes, it was pretty poor. We averaged around 12 miles per gallon during our trip, which makes for a rather depressing frequency of fill ups on the F-250’s 35-gallon tank. That works out to 420 miles per tank, although we’d expect it to drop if we were towing a trailer.
We had a few complaints from passengers over the F-250’s ride during our trip. We found it to be reasonable for such a big truck. There wasn’t an overabundance of vertical movement, and the F-250 seemed able to soak up bumps reasonably well, not bouncing around or yanking the steering wheel about. The secondary ride was probably the biggest source of complaints, with each bump being reflected as a shimmy and a shake through the cabin. Most corners need to be approached with apprehension, as this suspension does roll quite a bit.
Speaking of the cabin, it was deceptively well equipped. Make the big jump into the FX4-equipped truck, and you’ll find cloth seats and quite a lot of plastic. The seats, though, are both soft and supportive. We certainly had no complaints about a three-hour stint behind the wheel. The same can be said for our passengers in the bench backseat. The materials, although plastic, felt solid and well constructed. This was certainly not a bad cabin for a long trip.
Update: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab 4X4
Our tester was optioned with a dedicated center console, rather than the front-row bench seat. This added a spate of cupholders along with a proper, comfortable rest for our right arm. On first inspection, our audio options seemed to consist of just terrestrial radio, satellite, CD, and auxiliary options. Further diving revealed that even this low-level XLT had standard Bluetooth streaming audio, USB iPod connectivity, and the full suite of Sync option. 
So, while we weren’t able to test the F-250’s hauling capabilities, it is, despite its sparse interior and working-class reputation, an able road tripper. It also proved that you don’t need the absolute top-of-the-line truck to get a comfortable, long-distance cruiser that can also haul whatever you need. The Platinum F-250 might get all the press, but this XLT had just about everything we could ask for on it.
2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab 4X4
Engine: V-8, 6.2 liters, 16v
Output: 385 hp/405 lb-ft
Weight: 6827 lb
Towing Capacity: 12,200 lb
Payload: 3250 lb
Base Price: $40,620
As Tested: $46,480