Taking it to the limit: Ford F-250 pushes what pickups can do

I pulled up the driveway and this is what I heard: “Ooohhh, look at that.”

And this is what I saw: The camera come out. Click. Click. Click.

The object of attention? A 2017 Ford F-250 Platinum 4x4 Crew Cab. This is a big one, ladies and gentlemen, part of a Super Duty pickup truck lineup that also includes F-350 and F-450 versions. This particular F-250 came equipped with Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine with 440 horsepower and 925 lbs.-ft. of torque. And the bystander, a soon-to-be 90-year-old I call Dad, couldn’t wait to get in. He didn’t want any help, either; after all, he spent 45 years driving semis across America without the aid of a power running board that lowers when a door is opened or an assist handle.

This is what he noticed within a minute of heading down the road: “This sure is quiet for a diesel.” That wasn’t just his loss of hearing (remember those decades on the highway) picking up on one of the many highlights of the F-250. Revamped this year, the F-250 adds aluminum body panels and pickup box to somewhat offset the steel frame rails and other key components that push the weight to a beastly 8,300 pounds. As if you could tell.

The adaptive steering system allows for even the daintiest of drivers to casually maneuver the F-250 through the tightest of areas. The thickly bolstered and padded leather seats have heating, cooling and massage features up front. The heated leather steering wheel has audio and cruise controls. The pedals are adjustable. There is an optional power moonroof. There is push-button start and the requisite electronic gadgetry that come in high-end sedans. The cab itself is three inches longer than last year’s model.

The F-250 at heart, though, is a workhorse. The crew cab can carry 3,450 pounds in the 6.75-foot bed and properly equipped, as our tester was with a 5th wheel hitch prep package, can tow up to 18,600 pounds. Loading into the bed is assisted by easy-up tailgate and built-in step.

F-250s come in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims with regular, Super and Crew cabs and pricing beginning at just more than $32,000. The loaded Platinum 4x4 starts at $62,110; our tester came with nearly $14,000 in options. The bottom line was $77,015.

The real bottom line of the Ford F-250? It is the type of pickup that makes even a 90-year-old former trucker wish he had another load to haul.

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