The heavy duty pickup truck market is a lot like a constantly ongoing powerlifting competition. There are massive competitors that have relentless drives (no pun intended) to compete, and best its competitors every chance they get. Each challenger has the ability to move ungodly amounts of weight that only a few years ago would’ve seemed more like myth than reality. But, much like any strongman event, you are only as good as your last lift. And in the pickup truck market, you’re only as good as your last model.
For 2020 Ford has upped the ante yet again and will be giving its F-Series Super Duty a little performance enhancement in the form of an updated 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel motor. While official numbers aren’t out yet, the new diesel sports a revised turbocharger, lower friction internals that are simultaneously stronger, and a new 36,000-psi injection system all serve to help produce what will be about 475-horsepower and about 1,000 lb-ft of torque (which is right about where the current leader from RAM sits at).
The bigger news (literally) is the new 7.3-liter big block V8 — codenamed Godzilla, Variable valve-timing, piston-cooling jets will help make this engine more efficient and more reliable as well. Again specific numbers aren’t out, but over 450-horsepower and over 500 lb-ft of torque — both of which are fairly conservative numbers.
Whichever engine you choose (there is also a base 6.2-liter V8), you’ll be treated to a new 10-speed automatic TorqShift transmission that has been taken from the F-150 and juiced up to be able to handle the massive heft and workload of the big boys. Unlike the 6-speed it replaces, the new 10-speed is able to have a shorter first gear for improved torque off the line and yet taller top gears for better fuel economy. The trans will also feature different modes for varying weather and towing conditions and situations.
Visually, the 2020 Super Duty gets an updated front end, which is mostly cosmetic, but does allot for better cooling to the engine, as well as a new rear end including the tailgate itself, bumper and taillights to help differentiate it from previous model years, and of course to keep up with the Joneses, namely RAM and Silverado. Although the heavy duty truck class is mostly about brute force, there is an air of aesthetic competitiveness that maybe more akin to bodybuilding than powerlifting. A few new color schemes will be available for the same change of pace feel for repeat owners. There will also be some tech upgrades including standard issue of FordPass Connect that has a 4G-LTE WiFi modem as well as a few additional USB ports, because, well, you can never have too many these days.
The big option to be offered will be Pro Trailer Backup Assist which works in tandem with the already very useful Trailer Revers Guidance System to help make sure that monster powerboat or horse trailer you bought the HD to tow in the first place, ends up where it’s supposed to go safely. Aside from that, there will also be a host of other driving safety features available like lane-keeping assist, Pre-Collision Assist autonomous emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring — helpful again for those big trailer towing days.
As you might expect, pricing isn’t out just yet, but suffice it to say that for 2020, the pricing won’t start too far from where it left off in 2019. An F-Series Super Duty will start right around $35,000 for a 6.2-liter XL model, and then climb to astronomical heights depending on just how many options you’d like to tack on, ending up at about double that base price when it’s all said and done. But that is the cost of power, and to be able to move massive weight, you’ve to to be able to afford the diet that a powerlifter needs to have to be able to perform the feats it does. With the 2020 Ford Super Duty, you will be ready to haul and put its strength to the test against all challengers, but don’t get too satisfied with yourself, because you’re only as strong as the last weight you moved, and there are a few other big boys out there training for your title right now.