They were all good; the ford was better.When Ford delivered the Super Duty test truck to us, it seemed to have two strikes against it from the start. This truck had been in the press fleet for a while, and it had racked up more than 21,000 miles performing for various magazines. Since press fleet miles are sort of like rental-car miles (can you say "accelerated wear"?), we were unsure how much life was left in the ol' F-truck. We were also concerned when we spotted a fifth-wheel gooseneck hitch taking up most of the bed, wondering how much the weight of that gear would affect the truck's performance.
Turns out we needn't have worried. This is a diesel, after all, and 21,000 miles-even in dog-year, press-fleet terms-isn't even close to broken in, let alone tired. And while the weight of the gooseneck may have slowed the truck some, it didn't do irreparable harm.
One look at the scoring results will tell you this was a close race. As Fred Williams wrote in his judging sheets, "Any of these trucks would be perfect for me. All tow great and are comfortable to spend hours in during long trips. Some are just a little better in certain areas."
That describes the Super Duty's victory perfectly. It was by no means a slam-dunk. In fact, we were all a little surprised when the Ford came out on top. The carlike nature of the Chevy and the work-truck persona of the Dodge left more of an impression on all of us than the deluxe cruiser that was the Ford. That the Power Stroke didn't perform as well as we anticipated seemed to doom the Super Duty to also-ran status.
Then again, the Ford did come out on top in some key categories. As much as we mocked the big-belt-buckle fanciness of the King Ranch interior, the Ford's cockpit was a comfortable, well-laid-out place to spend time. Its suspension was supple enough and its BFGs grabby enough for the truck to top the off-road ride and handling portion of the test (and nab second in the on-road segment). And then there were its towing attributes: those wonderful PowerScope mirrors, a nicely designed trailering package (complete with trailer brake controller), and a reversing sensor to alert you when you were close to the trailer's tongue.
This was, after all, a test of tow rigs. The Ford wasn't the fastest or the most powerful truck of the three. But it was fast enough, and powerful enough, and when you put those traits together with a very stable, well-handling towing platform with mirrors that allow you to move around in traffic with full confidence, then you have a truck worthy of being called our Ultimate Tow Rig. Congratulations, Ford.