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There's no way around it: the 2021 Ford F-350 King Ranch Tremor Crew Cab is a lot of truck. In fact, it's probably too much truck for most people, most of the time. That ratchets up even further when you add in the utterly ridiculous diesel V8 engine and its 1,050 pound-feet of torque. But serious hauling calls for a serious truck with serious capability. And here's the thing, I seriously love it.
The heart of this particular F-350 Super Duty is Ford's excellent 6.7-liter PowerStroke diesel V8, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine has been continually refined for the last decade and now produces 475 horsepower at 2,600 rpm and a borderline stupid 1,050 pound-feet of torque at just 1,600 rpm.
Those numbers are impressive on their own, but the way the PowerStroke delivers that performance is almost more so. The 6.7 is a highly modern diesel, delivering power effortlessly and smoothly. It's also relatively quiet and thanks to the advanced emissions control equipment it's packing, it doesn't really have that characteristic diesel smell, either.
The transmission stands out simply because it acts intelligently; you don't really feel it working. The 10AT smoothly changes gears and pretty much always lands on the right one for the task at hand. The low-effort nature of the diesel powertrain and its techy transmission means that the F-350 is a surprisingly efficient vehicle for its size and with its brick-like aerodynamic profile. I'm seeing approximately 16 mpg during a mix of city, highway and off-road driving.
Road manners are not typically a strong suit for unladen one-ton pickup trucks, but while the F-350 is hardly what I'd call supple, it's surprisingly refined for the class. Still, the Ram 2500 with its rear coil-spring suspension is much smoother. My F-350 tester has the off-road-focused Tremor package, which adds larger 35-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires, softer sway bars and upgraded twin-tube shocks do a decent job of taking some of the jolt out of road imperfections, though those meaty tires make a lot of noise at highway speeds. The Super Duty's steering is a little heavy but accurate enough to place something this big in a lane comfortably and the brakes feel like they're up to the task of hauling a fully loaded trailer down from speed, though I didn't have the opportunity to test this claim.
Off-road, the F-350 Tremor works a whole lot better than you might think, but hitting the trails in a truck this big with suspension this stiff is not for the faint of heart. The Tremor's 35-inch tires, locking differential, trail control tech, lifted suspension and underbody skid plates all make it wildly capable in just about any terrain. My test vehicle is equipped with a 12,000-pound Warn winch, too, so even if you do manage to get yourself stuck, you won't stay that way.
Given the extremely front-heavy nature of a truck, especially one with a huge diesel engine under the hood, I do find that I regularly have to drop the truck into low-range four-wheel drive and engage its differential lock more often than I'd expect. The trail camera system that Ford fits to the Tremor is OK, but I'd like to see better resolution and more angles, as well as the ability to have them on outside of driving in low range. It would go a long way towards being able to more accurately choose a line off-road and place the truck there accurately without needing a spotter.
We've spent a good deal of time at Roadshow talking about how modern full-size trucks are more like luxury cars these days when you consider how many amenities are offered, and that's definitely true with my F-350 tester. The King Ranch trim isn't at the top of the stack, but it's arguably got the nicest and most distinctive interior finishes thanks to its two-tone brown-and-tan leather seating surfaces and armrests. The rest of the interior is fine, with lots of average-to-good quality plastics and plenty of storage.
The King Ranch's seats are among the best I've experienced in a full-size truck in recent memory, with plenty of cushion and enough grip to keep me from sliding around when turning. As you might expect, given the truck's overall gargantuan-ness, there is plenty of interior room for drivers and passengers of all sizes, both front and back. Something I find particularly handy is the easily accessible storage under the rear seat and I especially like the fold-up divider that turns that storage into a much more usable space by preventing things from sliding around.
From a tech standpoint, the Super Duty is just average. Ford's Sync 3 software is showing its age, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are along for the ride and that's good enough for me. My test vehicle is equipped with a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, which sounds pretty good. There are several USB-A plugs as well as 110-volt household-style outlets scattered throughout the interior, as well.
Despite not being the newest kid on the block, figuratively speaking, the F-350 has some decent safety features which come as part of Ford's CoPilot 360 suite. These include blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking with cross-traffic and trailer detection and automatic high beams. Ford also offers several towing assistance features like Pro Trailer Backup Assist and Trailer Reverse Guidance which help with lining up your hitch and with backing your trailer up once it's attached, respectively.
When stacked against the competition -- Chevrolet's Silverado HD 3500 and Ram's 3500 HD pickups, namely -- the Super Duty holds its own. Power output and torque are broadly similar across the three. The Super Duty offers the most of both, with the most significant mechanical difference being the Ram's four-gear deficit in its available transmissions. Towing is close, with the Super Duty taking the lead, followed by the Chevy and then the Ram. The 2021 Super Duty loses out to the Ram when it comes to in-cabin tech, however, thanks to Ram's excellent Uconnect system (and available 12-inch portrait display) and its superior available driver safety tech.
Pricing for the F-350 Super Duty runs a pretty wide gamut, with the base XL model with a 6.2-liter V8 starting at $38,410, including a $1,695 destination fee. My well-equipped test truck costs a whopping $82,685, including destination. While that's a number that sits well into premium territory, there aren't many luxury cars that could likely pull your house off its foundation with the same ease as the F-350, all the while offering a ton of space, tech and creature comforts.