2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited
DETROIT – Let’s make a scene: A pickup truck driver and his wife, the truck in reverse, trying to balance the ball on the pickup with the hitch on the trailer. “A little left. No, left. No, YOUR left. Okay, now a little right. Never mind. Let’s try again.”
That familiar headache, among other things, is the reason Ford Motor is improving the technology on its most expensive pickups to make the vehicles more manageable for newer owners and to alleviate major pain points for veteran drivers.
The Detroit automaker is adding features Ford Super Duty 2023 series to increase truck transaction prices and alleviate some of the most important vehicle functions: towing and carrying/hauling.
“It’s really about making the truck safer for our customers, for equipment, for whatever you’re hauling. It’s about productivity. It’s about simplicity. It’s about saving marriages,” said Tim Baughman, general manager of Ford’s commercial business. “With our new trailering and towing capabilities, I’m sure we’ll save a few marriages based on what it can do now.”
Many pickup truck owners, especially newer ones, face headaches like determining how much weight they can safely put in their vehicles or attach trailers to their trucks, according to Ford.
The latter challenge in particular can cause problems in relationships, as it can take two people and multiple attempts to get the trucks and trailers just right for towing – as in our all-too-common but fictional scenario above.
“Our team is obsessed with our customers,” Baughman said. “It’s about understanding the customer and obsessing over it. And everything about this truck is purposeful.”
Ford says 96% of its customers tow its F-250 to F-450 Super Duty pickups, which are the bigger siblings of its popular F-150 trucks. Most also use heavy duty vehicles in the bed of vehicles, which start at around $44,000 and can be upwards of $103,000, depending on the model.
To aid in towing and towing, Ford uses technologies such as new camera functions, automated assistance and intelligent taillights.
New Ford “Pro Trailer Hitch Assist” takes the hassle out of the process. The truck automatically reverses and aligns the hitch ball to the trailer receiver. This feature is standard or available on several models starting at $1,035.
“It’s to help take the pain out,” said Aaron Bresky, Ford Super Duty technical director. “People have to stretch for recreation and work, and the more we can remove the pain, the more natural it becomes.”
The 2023 F Series Super Duty trucks can tow between 14,000 and 40,000 pounds, depending on the truck.
Ford’s “Pro Trailer Hitch Assist” automatically backs up with the truck and aligns the conventional hitch ball to the trailer receiver.
In addition to towing or trailering, Ford Super Duty pickups can tow a lot by themselves, up to 8,000 pounds, depending on the model. This includes all people, cargo and any items that may be in the bed of the pickup truck.
But having to estimate or calculate how much you’re carrying can be tricky, especially when you have passengers in your vehicle or don’t know how much your load weighs.
Ford’s answer to this problem is something called “Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch,” which debuted in the 2021 F-150. The system uses the vehicle’s scales to determine the vehicle’s total payload/weight.
Drivers can use the infotainment screen or vehicle app to determine payload, but Ford also offers a more unique way to do it. The vehicle’s taillights illuminate at different levels to let the owner know how close they are to reaching the vehicle’s total payload limit.
If the vehicle exceeds its certified payload, the top bar will flash to alert the owner that they may need to reconsider what they’re carrying or eject a passenger or two.
Taillights can also be used to balance the trailer with the vehicle, also known as trailer weights.
On-board scales with Smart Hitch are available for $650 on Lariat models and standard on higher-end trucks.
Newly available “on-board scales” measure and display the approximate payload weight of Ford trucks. Cargo information is displayed on the center touchscreen, in the FordPass app or in the truck’s smart taillights.
The simplest innovation is the reversing camera mounted on top of the rear door of the vehicle. While facing the sky when the doors are up, it provides a clear view of what’s behind the vehicle when the tailgate is down, offering an extra set of eyes when the owner is hauling something longer in the vehicle bed.
While all new vehicles must have rear cameras, Ford is the first to implement such a camera, which is useful when the rear doors are down. The standard rearview cameras on American pickups face the ground when the tailgate is down.
This option also comes with built-in sensors that work with the camera to notify the driver when their folded tailgate approaches an object.
A new reversing camera and sensors are standard on the higher-end, but not available on entry-level and lower-priced trucks.
Ford has placed a camera and sensors in the tailgate of its F-Series Super Duty pickups that can be used when the tailgate is down.