Ford’s 6.4-liter V-8 Power Stroke diesel is the heart and soul of this truck. Its pedigree screams hard work, and with 350 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, it can deliver. That’s the F-250 SD. Forget Staid and Demure. It’s Super Duty, and it’s the best-selling truck in America, but that could just as well stand for Sophisticated and Discerning. With base price of $37,305, our Forest Green tester came with several packages: the King Ranch, Preferred Equipment, 4x4 off-road 10,000#towing and 6.4L Diesel, and totaled $57,635 with a 3-year/36,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty. With no EPA stats, ours came in at 14/16.
Initial Impression: Hey there, big guy
Christine: “Brawny and muscular, with tow hooks and 20-inch tires, this guy certainly looked like he could handle anything ya threw at him. Having driven a variety of large vehicles over the years—from a ’68 manual tranny pick-up to a 40-foot school bus—I was looking forward to seeing how this big boy handled. Would I feel as dwarfed in the driver’s seat as I felt standing in its shadow?”
Scott: “I was sitting on the back porch writing on my iBook when I heard the familiar sound so dear to my heart—the rattle and clack of a purebred diesel. I walked around to the driveway just as the driver from the delivery company was shutting off the engine. “That thing looks like it needs a landing strip to park,” I said to him. He just chuckled. I gawked for just a bit—the Super Duty is an impressive vehicle, and I could feel myself falling in love right then and there. And that ferocious, brand-spanking new 6.4-liter turbo-diesel was beckoning to me—this was gonna be fun!”
The Insider’s View: All the better to hear you, my dear
First of all, camel buckskin leather seats make us both drool. Figuratively, not literally, of course. Ford makes sure you’re not going to suffer just ‘cause you need to get the work done. Not only does this F-250 diesel boast first class towing and hauling ability, this Super Duty King Ranch just might have you checkin’ out the real estate ads for the next available acreage with a horse barn.
Quiet’s not usually an adjective used in the same sentence as diesel, but Ford has developed a unique rear bulkhead sound package. What that means for you is a peaceful interior cabin. It’s part of what they call Quiet Steel. A composite laminated steel sheet that's in the truck’s dash panel, paired with the extra sound padding in the dash, floor and back panel, it sets the stage for a muted cabin. Yes, the sound engineers left no noise/vibration/harshess (NVH) stone unturned when they went to work on this new generation of Super Dutys. While quieter and more refined than diesels of yore, this Power Stroke does indeed give that meaty diesel rumble that we love. The result: Impressive with a capital I.
Step around back and you’ll find improvements there too—from the tailgate step to the innovative grab handle integrated into the tailgate. Yep, hefting 350 pounds—or yourself--just got easier. And not only does the bed boast a stowable bed extender, but the backseats conveniently fold up to reveal a nifty flat cargo floor.
Fuel-ability: Not just dead dinos
Diesels get to be alt fuel by default, and this '08 F-250 is no exception. High-pressure diesel (or biodiesel) fuel is delivered via a common fuel rail to the piezo-electric injectors that can fire up to five times per combustion cycle. This allows the computer to adjust fuel delivery to precise increments depending upon vehicle load and speed. Note: This is something that mechanical systems simply couldn’t do. It’s the electronics that make diesels what they are today.
For the first half week, we drove urban and rural roads and fuel economy yielded about 12.3 mpg—according to the instant gauge. But then Scott was reading the owner's manual and checked the Electronic Shift on the Fly (ESOF) option, and found the hubs can be manually locked to override the electronic control. Sure enough, our hubs were locked. After making the switch to AUTO, we did notice the fuel economy started to climb; after filling the 30.5-gallon tank with B5, the remainder of our week yielded 14.3 mpg. However, we had no way of knowing if the gauge had been calibrated properly from new, so we tallied up our fuel economy the old-fashioned way—by long division.
Thinking the tank would be taking about 15 gallons since it was showing half empty, we were startled when the pump clicked off after only 10 gallons. We did the math … and we did a double-take. 16.2 mpg? Not bad, indeed. Maybe Christine wasn’t as heavy-footed as Scott thought. And that renewed our faith in the almighty diesel engine. Powerful, yet efficient.