Ford Motors is one of world’s largest and well-renowned automobile manufacturing companies, based out of Michigan, USA. So quite obviously, it is one of the first brands you look out for when purchasing a car.
If you are someone residing in the Americas, and are looking to add a pickup truck to your garage, it is a no-brainer that Ford will be one of the first brands that you will go for. And to solve your utilitarian purposes of towing or hauling cargo and also, a bit of the “lifestyle” vehicle for your weekend camps, Ford has got the “Super Duty” series of pickups to choose from, which already sell like hotcakes . So, if you want to buy a pickup and feel the F-150 just does not make the cut, you are probably looking at F-250 or F-350. The question is, which of these two suits your purpose?
Before, looking for one of these, you need to be sure that you are going to need them. Their name “Super Duty” is just not for distinguishing these from the base model, F-150. The trucks, literally justify their names. Based on the same platform, they pack in a much stronger chassis, a different and stronger suspension setup and heavier payload or towing capacities. So, if you are some average Joe going for ride around the city or on a trip with your friends across the town, you won’t need these. These are rugged, hardcore , load-hauling heavy duty trucks.
Design: Exterior and Interior
The F-250 and F-350 both belong to the same family and thus are really similar in most ways to each other. So similar, that it might be difficult to distinguish them when parked next to each other. They sport identical front and rear ends, identical side profiles, wheel and tires sizes. They also are of similar dimensions. The new models sport a aluminium body, which reduces weight by more than 300 lbs. Both the models are available in six trim options: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. The major difference is the presence of the dually in the F-350. The 350 is the first pickup in the Super Duty lineup to have one. For the unversed, dually is an extra set of tires mounted on the rear axle. These specifically help in increasing towing capacities.
Both the trucks are in their fourth generations since 2017, but recently received a mid life-cycle update in 2020, just to keep things fresh. The overall boxy shape continued to stay, with slight aesthetic tweaks. But there is a huge surprise, under the hood. 2020 models feature a slightly revised front grille design and a revised headlamp setup, with a different set of reflectors. The alloys and mirrors look similar, but the dash of chrome on both has been removed and they look slightly, less premium. Both the F-250 and F-350 are available in a maximum of 16 different color options. The XLT trim has 16, followed by the XL, which has 14 and Lariat has 11.
F250 vs F350: Technology and features
Both the models are similarly equipped with a host of features. A welcome addition in 2020 models is, drive modes. There are 5 different drive modes namely, Normal, Tow/Haul, Eco, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand. 2020 models also come with a very cool “Trailer pro backup-assist” system, something, previously unseen on a Super Duty. It basically helps the driver to setup and turn a trailer attached to the truck without using the steering wheel. This system is controlled by a knob, placed next to the AC controls. Super Duties’ of XLT and higher trims ,now come installed with goodies like powered tail gate, a electric steering assist system and 360 degree camera. The 2019 models carried a regular rear-parking camera with adaptive guidelines.
The various trims provide with varying levels of technology and features. Te most basic XL trims is comparatively, shabbily loaded. They still pack a punch with essentials like air-conditioning, steering-mounted audio controls, and Wifi-hotspots but lack the creature comforts and premium feel of the higher trims. The top trims come with a long list of comfort features including heated and ventilated leather seats, tilt and telescopic heated steering wheel, adjustable foot pedals, blind spot monitoring and collision warning systems, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and audio systems by B&O.
The cabins of all trims, like most trucks have utility, no-nonsense features like lots of cup holders, dual glove boxes, door bins and USB type-A and type-C sockets. All the trims offer three cab and two bed sizes. The cabs can be a 2-door regular, 4-door Super cab and a 4-door crew cab. The two standard bed sizes are short box( 81″) and long box (96″).
F250 vs F350: Powertrain and Drivetrain options
The mechanical parts of these models of pickup trucks are exactly the same too. Earlier, F-250 and F-350 models used the Dana 50 axles in the front, which are replaced by the Dana 60 axles in the newer ones. Both are great, the Dana 60 axles are bit more solid and beefier in comparison. The rear axle setup is slightly different for both, although. With the SRW or single rear wheel configuration, Sterling’s 10.75 mm axles are used on both. The only difference is that, the one on the F-350 has a bigger center section. DRW or duallys have the Dana 80 axles.
The powertrain is where the huge surprise comes in the 2020 models. Ford offers both F-250 and F-350 with a brand new, 7.3 litre OHV V8 16 valve turbocharged gasoline engine, which generates a class-leading 430 hp and 475 ft. lbs (644 Nm) of torque. This gasoline engine has the best performance figures of all the gas engines, used in heavy duty trucks of major competitors like General Motors (GMC), Nissan or RAM. Another big change, is that Ford now mates this engine to its 10-speed automatic gearbox. This engine replaces the 6.8 litre Triton V10 32 Valve gasoline engine which produced 288 hp @4000 rpm and 424 ft. lbs (575 Nm) of torque @3000 rpm.
Other than this, there are two options; the updated 6.7 litre, V8 PowerStroke turbocharged diesel engine and the 6.2 litre BOSS SOHC V8 Flex-fuel engine. The former, is an updated third generation model, available only as a option in the Limited top trim. It pumps out 475 hp and 1050 ft. lbs (1423 Nm) of torque @1800 rpm. That is the highest amount of torque produced by any Ford engine, ever. Apart from changes in its fuel delivery systems and pistons, this engine, is now mated to the new, 10-speed automatic gearbox as well. The Flex-fuel engine generates 385 hp and 430 ft. lbs (583 Nm) of torque. This engine allows use of multiple fuel options like propane and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Both the cars come with RWD (4 X 2) as standard and 4WD (4 X 4) as optional drive systems, in all the trims. The super cab and crew cab versions get standard full time 4WD system.
F250 vs F350: Transmission options
This is one place with a difference, something which may help in making a choice. The top trim, 10-speed automatic transmission mated to the new diesel and petrol engines makes no difference, as both the models are available with it. The transmission is standard on the F-350 and optional on the top spec Limited trim for the F-250. But what tilts the scales in favor of the smaller 250 is the new, TorqShift-G 6-speed Heavy Duty SelectShift Automatic transmission, which comes with a really good host of transmission qualities like, high first gear ratio, improved upshifts, quick downshifts and transmission-based grade braking, which improves brake endurance. Although, this is not as smooth as the newer, 10-speed but, if you are on a tight budget, this can be a good reason to select the F-250.
F250 vs F350: Suspension setup
Similarly constructed leaf spring suspension setup are found on both the trucks. The difference is the stiffness of the springs. A F-350 has a stiffer rear suspension and is reinforced midsection . This makes towing a bit easier. Other than that, everything is probably the same.
F250 vs F350: Towing capability
This is where the main difference lies. Both of them are heavy duty trucks and can tow heavy loads. But, while in other places they are identical to each other, here one completely outdoes the other. The maximum towing capacity of the 2020 F-350 is 32,500 lbs. The F-250, no slouch in its own right, does fall short here; it can tow a maximum of 20,000 lbs. These figures are achieved using a 4 X 4 system with the 6.7 litre diesel and gooseneck towing. In case of the F-350, this also includes the DRW (Dual rear wheel) configuration.
The difference is due to the towing hardware. The F-350 comes with 4″ rear blocks, while the F-250 gets a 2.5″ rear block. This gives the truck more lift and helps in towing heavier loads. As already discussed, the stiffer suspension in the 350 and the dual rear wheels also aid in the increased towing capacity.
The F-350 also gets a higher payload capacity at 7640 lbs, compared to the F-250’s 4200 lbs.
F250 vs F350: Pricing and warranty
Pricing is one important factor which becomes really important, when you make a final decision between two options. Considering these two at hand, they are largely similar vehicles, with identical dimensions, chassis, features and powertrain options. Their points of differences lie in the towing capacities and the standard powertrain options in all the trims, except the top spec one. The base spec F-250 XL starts at MSRP of $34000, while the F-350 XL carries a price tag of $35500 approximately. The top spec F-250 Limited with 4 X 4, crew cab and long box is priced heftily at $84,100 approximately. The priciest F-350, the Limited 4 X 4 with the dually, costs around $88k. The new 2020 F-250 comes in 6 trims and 36 configurations, while the F-350 has 57 configurations in a similar number of trims.
In some states, the F-350 maybe considered a commercial vehicle and that leads to considerably high taxes, insurance rates and registration costs.
Ford vehicles are known for durability and they last. The standard bumper to bumper warranty for both the trucks is of 3 years/36,000 miles. The engine has a warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles. Corrosion has a warranty of 3 years/unlimited miles while, roadside assistance has a warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles.
F250 vs F350: Which one should you choose?
If you are someone who does really heavy-duty towing, the F-350 might be your choice. But if that seems to pricey and your towing loads, although heavy are not humongous, a F-250 is a really smart buy.
The new F-250 comes standard with the 6.2 litre V8 and 6-speed automatic. The new F-350 does the same, but gets the 10-speed automatic. This makes the starting price of the F-350 higher, although marginally. In most cases, the F-350 is not too overpriced and a person doing serious, heavy duty commercial towing won’t mind the upgrade.
In case you own a light pickup like the F-150 and want to upgrade, probably because your new camper is heavier than 12000 pounds, the F-250 is the clear and economical choice.