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Adaptive steering: The latest class-exclusive doodad for Ford Super Duty

Now you won't need forearms the size of a log to hustle your truck around, not that you did before.


Steering hasn't been a decidedly difficult task since power assistance came about. But that doesn't mean we've reached the zenith of steering tech. Now that electronics have taken hold in steering columns, there are all sorts of new tricks hidden away, and Ford thinks it's got some good ones in its new 2017 Super Duty truck lineup.

Ford borrowed the adaptive steering technology from its Edge crossover, with some slight software tweaks to accommodate the different system in the Super Duty. The result is the first adaptive steering setup in its segment.

If you're unfamiliar, adaptive steering is capable of changing the steering gear ratio on the fly, which can confer a few different benefits. In the Super Duty, it can increase and decrease the ratio by up to 30 percent, allowing owners to maneuver easier at low speeds (it can save nearly one full wheel revolution) and to get a more precise feel at higher speeds.

It works by shoving a whole bunch of components into the steering wheel. An electric motor, gear unit and computer work in tandem to add or remove torque on the steering column, either helping or working against the driver's inputs, depending on speed. There's also a towing and hauling mode, which is not present on the Edge.

Of course, owners will have to pay to play. It's a standalone option, costing $685 on XLT-and-up Super Duty trims, although it's standard on the range-topping Platinum model. While it's the first in its segment to have this tech, I wouldn't be surprised if other truck manufacturers scrambled to get something similar in their own models soon.