Ford's 2020 Super Duty medium-duty trucks get of host of upgrades, from a fresh new look to a full suite of productivity-boosting technology.
Among the new technology and features on the trucks are two new engine offerings, an all-new, heavy-duty, 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission, as well as the model’s highest-ever conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing and payload ratings. A new, class-exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist system with an enhanced Trailer Reverse Guidance system is now compatible with fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.
At a sneak-preview press event in the rugged mountains outside of Phoenix, Arizona, Ford gave automotive and trucking journalists a first-look at the new trucks and their improvements. Taking center stage is an all-new Ford-designed -and-built 7.3L V-8, which now joins the standard 6.2L V-8 in Super Duty’s gasoline engine stable. Additionally, Ford has upgraded its third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 to deliver more power and torque.
Both engines are paired with an all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission. Alan Constantino, a performance engineer for the Super Duty model line, noted during test drives that Ford is the only manufacturer to design and build all of its heavy-duty engine and transmission combinations – ensuring the powertrain works seamlessly with all chassis components and vehicle calibrations.
Constantino said that Ford designed the 7.3L gas V-8 engine to deliver high performance in a compact package. Moreover, he said, Ford expects the engine to be the most powerful gas V-8 in its class – providing durability, ease of maintenance, and the towing and payload capability customers want. In order to accomplish these goals, the engine features an all-new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft for maximum durability. Port injection with variable-valve timing optimizes the intake and exhaust to match performance with workloads. Oil jets cool the pistons under heavy loads.
Of course, you can’t have a Super Duty without a Power Stroke diesel engine option. The 2020 Super Duty is no exception. Super Duty’s third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke includes a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system with all-new injectors that precisely meter and spray up to eight times per stroke to control noise levels and optimize combustion.
The engine features a redesigned electronic-actuated variable-geometry turbocharger that provides improved pumping efficiency and throttle response, according to Constantino. Structural enhancements increase the strength of the cylinder head, block, connecting rods and bearings to handle higher cylinder pressure and increased output. New steel pistons provide higher firing pressure capability and less friction – meaning improved performance and more horsepower and torque than ever.
All Super Duty engines, including the standard 6.2L gas V-8, are mated with the all-new 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. This new transmission features a wider gear ratio span than the 6-speed transmission it replaces and is designed for harsh towing conditions. The heavy-duty transmission continues to offer class-exclusive live-drive power takeoff, which allows the operator to engage industrial equipment and accessories, such as snowplows, with the truck in motion.
The TorqShift transmission also features selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. In what Ford is hailing as an engineering triumph, the entire TorqShift — even with the addition of four extra gears — still fits in the same space as the 6-speed and weighs only 3.5 pounds more.
New Technology Inside and Out
For 2020, class-exclusive new Pro Trailer Backup Assist makes negotiating even the largest trailers into the tightest of spaces easier than ever before. With hands off the steering wheel, drivers use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist knob to easily steer the trailer via the reverse camera. The truck’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system shows trailer angle and direction, and provides steering suggestions to most efficiently direct a trailer backward. Both systems are built to accommodate all trailer styles, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.
Addiitionally, every new 2020 Super Duty includes FordPass Connect embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices, keeping crews in communication no matter where the job might take them.
On the safety front, available lane-keeping alert helps drivers stay between the lines on the road, while the Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage monitors for vehicles in your blind spots – even when towing. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection aids in avoiding or mitigating collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. These features are standard on XLT and above Super Duty models.
Outside the truck a new, enhanced, front-end design allows for optimized cooling and lighting performance under heavy loads.
For the first time, all dual-rear-wheel Super Duty trucks are fitted with a uniquely designed high-airflow grille optimized for maximum powertrain cooling. Super Duty’s LED headlamps have a new look with improved performance, while higher trim models feature continuous signature lighting. An improved front bumper and air dam optimize cooling and make using utility hooks easier. A freshened tailgate design, revised tail lamps and new rear bumper convey bolder styling cues.
Ford engineers say the new F-Series Super Duty debuts is the most thoroughly tested pickup in the company’s history. Preproduction models have endured more than 12 million miles of testing for the 2017 model year, which Ford said was increased by an additional 7 million miles for 2020 to ensure the new Super Duty can stand up to the rigors the most exacting truck customers demand of it.
Editor's note: Corrected 9:10 EST to remove incorrect reference to availability.