The 2019 Ford F-250 is a solid work truck dedicated to getting the job done, all while competing against full-size heavy-duty trucks from Chevrolet and Ram.
We got our hands on an entry-level model, the Super Duty F-250 XL, complete with a vinyl front bench seat, relatively few fancy options and minimal exterior chrome — in other words, a truck built and designed for heavy hauling and tough tasks, not showing off.
That’s not a knock against the other Ford HDs or GM and Ram HDs. You can load them up with enough options to become veritable luxury cars that happen to have pickup beds. If luxury is what you want, have at it — but you’ll pay a lot more than the $38,540 base price of the rig we recently tested (all prices include destination). Even with options, our rear-wheel-drive test truck came to a reasonable $44,310.
What’s it like to drive a truck that doesn’t have wood trim or heated leather seats? As we discovered in Cars.com Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman’s recent review, the Ford F-250 proves that less can be more, especially if you want to get back to basics with your pickup. For a quick take on our impressions of this big Ford truck, keep reading below.
Things We Like
1. V-8 Power, Rumble
Ford likes to promote its turbocharged V-6 engines in the half-ton F-150, but we appreciate the old-school power and exhaust rumble of the F-250’s base V-8. The normally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 delivers 385 horsepower and 430 pounds-feet of torque, pairing with a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a responsive combo: “Smooth and quiet, the power it produces is always just a quick, light stab of the accelerator pedal away,” Bragman wrote.
2. Great Handling — No, Really
Stop laughing; we’re being serious. Bragman noted the F-250 is the size of a cargo ship, but its handling chops make it easy to drive and keep in its lane. Granted, our truck — a crew cab with the long bed — required more planning for close-quarter maneuvers. But credit to Ford for giving the F-250 some excellent driving manners.
3. Good Mileage, Great Range
Trucks in this size and weight class aren’t required to have official EPA mileage estimates. During a 200-mile unladen loop that was about 75 percent highway, we recorded an average of 15.7 mpg. Our calculations peg the total driving range of the F-250 at about 750 miles per tank. On a long, unladen road trip, you’ll need more pit stops than this truck.
4. No-nonsense interior
Like the exterior, the vinyl-trimmed cabin of our F-250 truck was simple and lacking in design flourishes. The crew cab has room to stretch out in front or back. While it didn’t have many creature comforts, the cabin was functional and put all major controls within easy reach.
5. Ultimate Trailer Tow Cameras
This is one option you might really want to consider, if only for its better sightlines. The Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera system includes a 360-degree camera that’s invaluable when positioning this big truck in tight spaces. Blind spot monitors also helped spot vehicles that might have otherwise gone MIA in adjacent lanes.
Things We Don’t
1. Optional Diesel Is Super Expensive
If you want to step up to the torque-rich 6.7-liter diesel engine (450 hp, 935 pounds-feet of torque) offered in the Ford F-250, prepare to break open your wallet. The Power Stroke turbo-diesel V-8 costs a whopping $9,120 more than base gasoline V-8. True, it’s a beast when it comes to towing. But only get it if you truly intend to use all that capability.
2. Uncomfortable Front Seats
We found the front seats in the Ford F-250 flat and unsupportive, which is not good if you’re going to spend hours in your work truck. And the middle seat of the front-row bench is an absolute joke, as the truck’s massive central tunnel gobbles up any would-be legroom.
3. Trailering Trails Others
Our Ford F-250 had a more efficiency-focused 3.73 rear axle, which meant ultimate towing ability was 12,900 pounds. That’s short of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 or Ram 2500, which can both manage some 14,500 pounds with their 3.73 axles. If you want to tow more in the F-250, a heavier-duty 4.10 rear axle, bumps capacity up to more than 15,000 pounds.