Ford F-250 road test review - hauler has a luxurious edge
WHAT do you think is the best-selling vehicle in the USA?
A Toyota Corolla? Ford Mustang? Not even close. It's one of these: an F-Series full-size pick-up truck. Incredibly, these giants have been the vehicle bought by more Americans than any other for the past 32 years.
They're not officially imported into Australia by Ford, but Harrison F-Trucks - which has recently opened a showroom in Maroochydore - brings them Down Under and carries out the required right-hand drive conversion at its Melbourne facility.
And really, short of owning a Sherman tank, there's little else on Australian roads with quite so much in-your-face road presence.
At 6.7 metres long you won't miss this F-250 Super Duty Lariat SWB Pick-up coming, and with a 6.7-litre Scorpion turbo diesel V8 good for 298kW and 1085Nm of torque, you'll hardly want for pulling power.
It's the towing ability that's the primary appeal of these brutes in Australia.
They can be tough to park, take up a great deal of the road and have a big turning circle, but they'll haul like nothing else officially sold in our domestic market.
If you need to tow greater than 3.5 tonnes, namely people with large weighty caravans or the so-called fifth-wheelers, the F-250 has a capacity to pull up to seven tonnes.
Yet as our test model proved, these truck-like abilities don't have to translate into a utilitarian truck cabin. On the contrary, this Lariat example features air-conditioned and heated seats, leather trim, climate control, reversing camera, a 20.3cm touch-screen, sat nav, electric everything and airbags all round.
There's also an unbelievable amount of space inside, well suited to those planning lengthy trips across the country while towing their home.
The centre console armrest is practically an extra seat up front, while under its lid is a storage compartment you could almost mount an Esky in to.
This being a crew cab variant there is also ample space for three adults to sit in the back comfortably, and unlike some pick-ups or utes, the rear floor isn't raised in a manner making it uncomfortable for long trips. If you forget the F-250's size, which makes it hard to live with day in day out, not much can touch it in terms of being excellent family transport.
You'll never want for space in the cabin or in the tray, it's safe as houses because in an accident not much would even cause a dent in the big Ford, and the kids will be begging you to drop them off to school in it as they'll be the coolest in class.
There are also some funky features to impress not just school kids. People will be wowed by the 20-inch alloy wheels and the full chrome pack on this F-250, and you can start the truck remotely from inside your house using the key fob so it will prepare the climate and seat temperature inside to your liking.
The 6.7-litre diesel engine is indeed a monster, but surprisingly quiet considering its size, unless you floor the accelerator.
Do this and the V8 does like a good drink, as it also does around town. But on our test, mainly on motorways, it returned a quite respectable 13 litres/100km. This was achieved without towing anything.
The right-hand drive conversion has been superbly done by Harrison F-Trucks - hard to notice from factory spec - but there are compromises such as the dash controls still laid out in their ideal left-hand drive places, plus there's not much room to rest your left foot in the driver's foot well.
With no load on the 1815-litre tray and nothing being towed, the FX4 off-road pack Rancho shockers aren't under strain so the F-250 can bounce along over road imperfections, and while the steering is light when driving, it is effortless for manoeuvring and parking - far more important in vehicles like this.
It is a fun, powerful and incredibly capable truck with a cabin you'd happily enjoy crossing the country in. And for those who always wanted to be a truck driver, the F-250 brings that big rig dream a touch closer.
Model: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat 4x4 SWB Pick-up.
Engine: 6.7-litre Scorpion turbo diesel Powerstroke V8 producing 298kW @ 2800rpm and peak torque of 1085Nm @ 1600rpm.
Transmission: Column-shift six-speed automatic with progressive range select and tow/haul mode.
Towing capacity: Up to seven tonnes when properly equipped.
Economy: 13 litres/100km (as tested) with no towing involved.
Bottom line: $135,000 as tested drive-away from Harrison F-Trucks, www.harrisonftrucks.com.au.