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Ford's Super Duty line of F-Series full-size pickup trucks was launched early in 1998.
1999 Ford Super Duty F-Series Pickup Truck Preview
By Bill Roebuck
Ford is focusing on expanding its full-size truck lineup into more and more markets and applications with the introduction of its new Super Duty F Series, on the market since March 1998.
Ford's 1999 Super Duty F-Series work trucks adds a second vehicle platform to the company's full-size truck lineup. The new models are built on a separate platform from the previous and continuing F-150 and F-250 (under 8,500-lb GVW) models. The new models replace the F250 HD, F-350 and F-Super Duty models in the over 8,500-lb GVW lineup. That means two models of the F-250 remain -- the standard version and the new Super Duty nameplate.
Ford says the two-platform strategy recognizes the significant differences between the commercial and personal-use markets and meets the needs of both. Jack Turner, Ford of Canada Super Duty F-Series brand manager, says the new models let Ford compete in multiple niche markets. "We've added four-wheel drive to the dual-rear-wheel trucks and raised the GVW ratings, increased horsepower and torque on our engine."
In all, there is a choice of 44 vehicle configurations compared with 23 on the previous model. Models in the lineup include the F-250, 350, 450 and 550, each with the Super Duty badge. The configurations include:
* Pickups or chassis cabs available as regular cab, SuperCab or Crew Cab models (plus a Class A Motor Home Chassis model)
* Single- or dual-wheel axles
* New F-550 models with 17,500-lb and 19,000-lb GVW
* Two- or four-wheel drive
* Short- (6.75 ft) or long-box (8.0 ft) configurations, and a box-delete option.
* Three engine variations -- a 5.4-litre Triton V-8 with 235 hp, a 6.8-litre Triton V-10 with 275 hp or a 7.3-litre diesel at about 235 hp.
* Transmissions range from five- or six-speed manuals to a new automatic transmission.
* Several trim variations, including standard XL, value-level XLT and Lariat luxury trim (the latter in the F-250 and 350 models only).
GVW ratings range from 8,800 lb in the F-250 Super Duty all the way to 19,000 lb in the F-550.
The Series' standard four-wheel power disc brakes are an industry exclusive, says Turner. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on all vehicles over 10,000-lb GVW and optional on the 8,000 to 9,900-lb GVW vehicles.
SuperCabs are offered on the F-250 and 350 Super Duty models. A rear seat is standard on all SuperCab models sold in Canada, but the fold-up seat can be deleted on the XL trim level if the space is to be used for storage only. The rear doors of the SuperCab have hinges mounted on the rear pillars of the cab, and they swing out 90 degrees for easy access to the rear. (The front door must be open before the rear doors can be opened.)
The Super Duty series is bigger all around than previous models. Even the Regular Cab pickup's exterior length is almost 9 in. longer than before.
Driver comfort can be augmented with a three-piece back-of-seat storage system and removable tool box. The three-passenger front bench seat has integrated head restraints for safety. The seats are larger than in the previous truck and offer an increased seat-back angle to improve seating posture. It also moves back an extra inch and a half.
A floor console with captain's chairs is available and offers a flat writing surface with an integrated pad clip at the front of the storage area.
© Copyright Bill Roebuck, CarTest.ca 2002.