2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty Debuts Standard 6.8-liter V8, New Towing Tech
When Ford rolled out the redesigned F-150 in 2021, it hid substantial technological changes and new features under a lightly restyled – but nevertheless new – exterior. Despite the visual similarities to its predecessor, though, the new truck pushed the F-150 forward in almost extreme ways. With the introduction of the 2023 F-Series Super Duty, Ford is taking a similar approach.
Look past the revised grille, which evolves on the twin-bar look of the current truck, and beyond the crisp (but familiar) headlights, and the Super Duty’s exterior design does little to indicate just how new it is. But the sides of the new Super Duty give that away somewhat. It’s stunningly slab-sided and free of fuss, aside from the side grilles, which serve as heat extractors. Simple, modest wheel arches barely protrude from the bodysides, while even high-end models lack the typical ornamentation outside of the front or rear end.
Gallery: 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty
Ford was similarly conservative in the cabin, which retains the same basic layout as last year’s truck. The center stack is virtually indistinguishable to what came before, although Ford did update the Super Duty’s steering wheel and added the 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster as an option. But customers upgrading from a Super Duty built since 2017 will feel immediately at home in this new truck.
Like the F-150, the big changes are under the skin. As reported, a new 6.8-liter gas-powered V8 arrives and sits at the bottom of the engine lineup. Based on the 7.3-liter Godzilla V8, Ford is promising an increase in low-end torque relative to the outgoing 6.2-liter engine. And if you’re a fan of diesel power, Ford is introducing a high-output version of the 6.7-liter PowerStroke.
Along with the new four-engine lineup, every Super Duty will use a 10-speed automatic. Finally, the days of paying extra for four-wheel drive are gone – it’s standard on XLT trims and above. The bad news here is that Ford isn’t yet sharing horsepower, torque, fuel economy, or even towing/payload for its latest workhorse.
Joining the powertrain changes are some big technological additions starting with a new head-up display. Also joining the fray is ProPower Onboard, and while it’s only available with a 2.0-kilowatt capacity (just like non-hybrid F-150s), the critically acclaimed generator system should be a welcome addition at the campground or job site. Speaking of camping, Ford is adding more technology to make towing easier, including a totally hands-free improvement on Pro Trailer Backup Assist called Pro Trailer Hitch Assist. Tap the button and the Super Duty will steer itself to the right decision to drop a trailer onto the hitch.
Gooseneck and fifth-wheel towers get into the tech game, too, as high-end Super Duty models take the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that approach and add a secondary camera and proximity sensors to the top of the tailgate. So even when the bed is open, drivers will still have a camera’s eye view out the back. Beyond that, a blind-spot supplement makes towing safer, while the navigation system will now consider a trailer’s dimensions and only plot a course on roads that can accommodate wide or tall loads.
Ford is also expanding on the Super Duty’s off-road abilities, pointing out during a backgrounder that the hardcore F-Series dominates trades that rely on working in the dirt, such as mining and excavating and forestry. The Tremor off-road pack returns, although at a time it’s a dedicated trim on the Maverick, Ranger, and F-150, it remains an option pack available on a variety of Super Duty trims. A new XL Off-Road pack adds 33-inch rubber, a locking rear diff, and underbody protection with a revised air dam for better clearance and water fording, too.
For businesses, the 2023 Super Duty’s standard 5G modem will make keeping monitoring trucks easier via the Ford Pro Telematics and Fleet Management Software (check out our review of the E-Transit to learn more about just what those systems can do). And those same businesses will find the Super Duty easier to upfit, thanks to the Upfit Integration System. Instead of bulky controls, UIS will give aftermarket companies the option to add digital switches to the Super Duty’s infotainment to control add-ons along with safety measures to keep workers safe.
The bad news? The Super Duty remains an ICE-only affair and Ford isn’t adding BlueCruise to its popular pickup just yet. But even with those annoyances, there’s more technology here that should make life easier for the power users that gobble up this workhorse on the regular. Look for much more on the Super Duty’s output, performance, and price as its early 2023 on-sale date approaches.
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