2012 Ford Super Duty Performance

$10,814 - $36,998

2012 Ford Super Duty Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Ford Super Duty was new.


Performance: 9.0

The 2012 Ford Super Duty’s only downfall seems to be that, like any other heavy-duty truck, it’s so big, powerful and rough-and-ready that it can be tough to use on daily commutes or around town. However, if you need a vehicle that can tow and haul big loads, reviewers agree that your best choice is any of the Super Duty’s trims.

  • "A few days in the Texas outback revealed a truck that is stable, sturdy and easy to drive. The cabin is quiet, the steering firm and direct, and the brakes strong.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As with any large object, you don't want to try to get this truck into the basement parking garage of your urban skyrise, but out on the lone prairie you will feel like a long-haul trucker, king of the road.” -- AutoWeek
  • "In the old days, an empty heavy duty pickup truck would punish all passengers, but our … Super Duty was not only quiet enough for all four of its occupants to comfortably talk to one another at highway speeds, but when we arrived at our tow-test destination, our backs (and backsides) were quite relaxed.” -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The Ford Super Duty received two new engines last year, and reviewers are still impressed with their acceleration and pulling power. The 6.2-liter gas-powered V8 makes 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. The 6.7-liter Powerstroke turbodiesel V8 engine makes 400 horsepower and an incredible 800 pound-feet of torque. That means the Ford Super Duty diesel ties with the Ram 3500 diesel for the most torque in the class. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a manual mode for towing.

The EPA does not rate the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks, but you can expect all incarnations of the Ford Super Duty to be thirsty, even with the improvements Ford made to the fuel economy of the new engines. The Super Duty’s gas engine is able run on E85 ethanol and the diesel can run on B20 biodiesel.

Test drivers note that both engines feel plenty powerful. They spend a lot of time praising the quiet, refined diesel engine and its impressive fuel economy.

  • "In full-throttle takeoffs, the turbodiesel V8 offers tremendous thrust. Left in 2WD mode, this three-plus-ton truck can spin its tires.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Compared to the competition, the 2012 Ford F-250 Super Duty line is noticeably quieter, with wind and road noise pleasantly silenced. Even the diesel's customary clatter has been hushed to barely detectable levels.” -- Edmunds
  • "We did get enough time up and down the 2000-foot (elevation) hillclimb to know the gas engine was plenty powerful enough to pull a 9500-pound trailer with comfort and authority, and the exhaust makes a wonderfully throaty note when you have to put the hammer down.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "During some quick testing of the Super Duty at an Arizona rock pit -- heavy duty trucks live in pits -- I pulled an 86,000-pound front end loader, crawled over boulders and then drove back to the hotel with 1,000 pounds in the bed and four people in the cab and managed to top 23 miles per gallon.” -- The Detroit News
  • "The six-speed undoubtedly contributes to this performance, with smooth upshifts and prompt kickdowns for passing or other hurry-ups.” -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Although this nearly 4-ton pickup will never be nimble, easy to maneuver downtown or flexible in parking lots, reviewers say that it has good road manners for such a big truck. Its interior is especially quiet, and it has relatively low amounts of body lean for a heavy-duty truck. One complaint reviewers have is that the rear end hops when the truck is driven over bumps with an empty bed, but this is true for just about every pickup on the market. Multiple test drivers note numb steering feel. A few testers mention that the brakes feel softer than those in most full-size and compact pickups, but they’re quick to note that this makes it easier to modulate them while towing, when you don’t want to make any sudden moves that might disrupt a heavy trailer.

  • "Cattle crossings and other more-severe impacts taken on a curve will send the truck sideways a little as the wheels fly briefly through space but again, for something this huge, it's remarkably well-controlled.” -- AutoWeek
  • "Steering feel is a bit numb on center, but in general, it's responsive enough. Handling is decent overall given these big rigs' overall size. Naturally, close-quarters maneuverability is not a strong point, requiring drivers to carefully survey the surrounding environment before attempting any such moves.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "As with any heavy-duty pickup, the ride can be a bit jittery when unloaded, but the F-250 remains well-mannered over rough roads. The chief downside to the Ford's dynamics is the steering, which feels numb and instills less confidence (especially when towing) than its competitors.” -- Edmunds
  • "The only negative comment in the F-350’s logbook had to do with occasional seismic tremors in the chassis on bumpy stretches, particularly those with washboard ripples.” -- Car and Driver

Towing and Hauling

When properly configured, the Ford Super Duty has the highest towing capacity of any heavy-duty truck. The Ford Super Duty is an eminently capable tow and haul vehicle, reviewers say. The F-450 Super Duty has the highest fifth-wheel towing capacity in its class, at 24,500 pounds. The base model (F-250 Regular Cab with two-wheel drive and single rear wheels) can tow up to 12,500 pounds with a conventional hitch. The least capable of the Ford Super Duty trucks is the F-350 Crew Cab, which has a gas engine, 3.73 rear axle ratio, four-wheel drive and dual rear wheels. This truck can still tow up to 11,700 pounds in fifth-wheel towing or 11,900 pounds in conventional towing.

  • "Towing is a big part of the Super Duty's capabilities, and the 6.7-liter diesel will likely be the engine of choice. Even when lugging a 10,000-pound trailer up a steep grade, the diesel climbs with ease, and the six-speed automatic never labors, nor does it get caught hunting for the right gear.” -- Edmunds
  • "Put simply, were it not for the huge mirrors to give its position away, we could have simply forgotten that any sort of trailer was attached at all. No sway, no porpoising, no noise, no noticeable load on the rear suspension, and no significant drag.” -- Winding Road
  • "Performance shouldn't be an issue. If it is, you belong in a medium-duty truck because Ford has boosted the Super Duty's trailer-towing ratings so high that we're at the point where a standard F-350 one-ton pickup with the 6.7-liter diesel and a middle-of-the-road 3.73 rear axle requires a commercial driver's license to pull its maximum-rated trailer, depending on the state in which you live.” -- PickupTrucks.com
  • "Now, admittedly a truck with this kind of wheelbase isn't going to be the rock-crawler's darling, but if you need to get deep, really deep into the back country to, who knows, tow a town closer to a lake, it’s fairly capable.” -- Jalopnik

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