If you play with cars, boats, horses, RVs or anything else bulky, chances are good you will need a truck to haul your trailer and your crew. You can tow with an SUV if you have smaller loads, but today’s trucks are designed to be your work partner, and they make the job so much easier.
Perhaps no other company offers a larger selection of trucks with innovative features designed to help you get the job done than Ford. The F-150 is now available with a hybrid powertrain that promises great fuel economy, and the F-250 is available with a big gasoline engine that can haul huge loads. Either of these trucks will be a great partner, but although they are similar, they are also quite different.
The F-150 Hybrid Lariat comes with a 3.5-liter PowerBoost V6. It is one of the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup trucks you can buy, with an EPA city rating of 25 mpg and 26 mpg on the highway (4×2 models). Those are excellent numbers, but Ford also offers a 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine that gets 27 mpg on the freeway on the 4×4 models. What is impressive on the PowerBoost version is the amount of power. Currently the only full hybrid powertrain available in a pickup truck, PowerBoost has 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque. It is rated to tow 12,700 pounds of trailer and haul more than 2,000 pounds of cargo. That is more than an F-350 with a big block V8 from not all that long ago — and that would only get 8 mpg.
The PowerBoost is meant for work and it offers so many features to help you work more efficiently. These features include items like a mini table inside, storage compartments, a multi-use tailgate that can help contractors cut and measure things. The best feature is the optional Pro Power Onboard, which is standard with the PowerBoost hybrid F-150 and comes with a 2.4 kw power inverter in the bed of the truck, which you can use to power anything. Our truck had the expanded version, and after using it, we can’t go back to anything else. The optional expanded version provides 7.2 kw of power wherever you go.
The Pro Power Onboard makes life so much easier. You can be on a job site, at the racetrack or in the woods camping or fishing. The F-150 will become your best friend. There are four 120-volt 20-amp plugs in the bed and one 240-volt 30-amp plug. You can power an entire house with your truck and, best of all, the truck is smart enough to manage everything. You can plug everything into the truck and the F-150 will start and stop the engine as it needs to keep the power going. Assuming you are pulling the maximum 7.2 kw — which is a lot! — the truck can keep powering everything for 32 hours. This is not just awesome for fishing trips, but also in cases of storms and disasters, you can power your house as long as you have fuel in the tank. With a full tank of fuel, the F-150 will go over 700 miles on a tank if you are just driving it on the freeway.
If you decide to tow, the PowerBoost is rated for some big loads and we just had to try it out. We went with a trailer around 8,000 pounds and tried to take it up some big hills that are too steep to be on the freeway. The PowerBoost handled it like it was nothing. The PowerBoost comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission and we expected it to need that super short first gear to make it up the steep hill, but the truck selected third gear and pulled up the hill with ease. It may be rated for 12,700 pounds, but it felt like it could have pulled a lot more than that. This truck is so strong.
The F-150 PowerBoost is a beast, but everything has a limit and if you need more, the F-250 is a logical step up the truck ladder. Our truck came with the Tremor off road package, and you will need a ladder to climb inside this beast.
Our F-250 was also equipped with the Lariat trim level, which hits the sweet spot among the many trim levels. The levels start out with the XL, which is the work version followed by XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Our Lariat had so many luxury features that you really don’t need anything more. We could even argue that the XLT is the best trim level to get. Nevertheless, our Lariat had heated and cooled seats, power telescoping mirrors, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bang and Olufsen 10-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, 8-inch LCD screen, wireless phone charging, and so much more.
Our truck was equipped with the new 7.3-liter gas V8. This engine was designed as a replacement for the diesel engine in the Super Duty trucks. While the engine can’t match the power output of the diesel engine, it is more than enough for most people and it will save you a lot of money.
The 7.3 V8 provides a best-in-class gas power of 430 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. The Power Stroke diesel by comparison puts out 475 horsepower and a whopping 1,050 pound-feet of torque. The diesel engine is impressive, but you will save more than $10,000 by skipping the diesel and going with the super smooth and quiet 7.3 gas V8
Our truck also had the Tremor off road package, which includes 35-inch Goodyear tires, 18-inch wheels, 2-inch lift, 10.8 inches of ground clearance, 33 inches of water fording capability, and special, larger shock absorbers. The package turns the F-250 into a serious off road machine without sacrificing much towing or hauling capability. It also rides pretty smooth for such a big truck.
With the 7.3-liter engine, the F-250 can tow as much as 19,500 pounds. The diesel engine by comparison can handle 22,800. We did not have anything that heavy to tow, but rest assured that the F-250 is a beast and can tow the biggest loads without breaking a sweat. Expect to get around 7.5 mpg while towing big trailers, which is a few mpg less than a diesel but when you factor in the price difference of over $10,000 plus the added cost of diesel, the 7.3 looks very attractive.
While the F-150 Hybrid has more power, the F-250 is much more heavy duty. It seems like everything in the suspension and brakes is bigger on the F-250 and it can handle a lot more than the F-150.
Our conclusion was simple. Our F-250 with all the goodies came out to just under $65,000. If you don’t care about off roading, you can save about $7,000 by skipping the Tremor package and just getting the 4×2. That is a good deal for such a luxurious and heavy-duty truck. The F-150 was also a Lariat trim and it came out to just over $70,000. The F-150 gets much better fuel economy and is almost as capable, and don’t forget about the awesome Pro Power system. We loved the F-150 and would choose it for those reasons if we were pulling a smaller trailer. If you need to haul bigger loads, the F-250 will make you happy.
|Engine:||3.5-liter PowerBoost full-hybrid V6|
|Horsepower:||430 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque:||570 @ 3,000 rpm|
|Front Suspension:||Independent double wishbone with coil-over shock|
|Rear Suspension:||Solid axle with leaf springs|
|Axle Ratio:||3.55:1, 3.73:1|
|Curb Weight:||5,260 lbs.|
|Horsepower:||430 @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||475 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Front Suspension:||Independent twin I-beam with coil springs|
|Rear Suspension:||Solid axle with leaf springs|
|Axle Ratio:||3.55:1, 3.73:1, 4.30:1|
|Curb Weight:||6,568 lbs. (4 x 4 SWB Crew Cab model)|