2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited
DETROIT — Let’s set the scene: A pickup truck driver and their wife, the truck in reverse, try to align the truck’s tow ball with the coupler on the trailer. “A little bit left. No, your left. No, your left. Okay, now a little bit to the right. Never mind. Let’s try it again.”
This familiar headache, among other things, is to blame Ford Motor It improves the technologies in its most expensive trucks to make the vehicles more manageable for new owners and alleviate major pain points for seasoned truck drivers.
The Detroit automaker is adding features to the 2023 Ford Super Duty lineup to boost transaction pricing for trucks and ease difficulties with some of the vehicle’s most important functions: towing and hauling/hauling.
“It’s really about making the truck safer for our customers, for the equipment, for everything you tow. It’s about productivity. It’s about ease. It’s about saving marriages,” said Tim Baughman, general manager of business for Ford. “With our new trailer towing features, I’m sure we’ll save some marriages based on what he can do now.”
According to Ford, many owners of pickups, especially newer ones, face such headaches as determining how much weight they can safely put in their vehicles or hitch trailers to their trucks.
The last challenge, specifically, can cause relationship problems, as it can take two people and many tries to get the correct positioning of trucks and trailers for towing—as in the very common but fanciful scenario above.
“Our team is obsessed with our customers,” Baughman said. “It’s about understanding customers and customer obsession. And everything about this truck is purpose-built.”
Ford says 96% of its customers tow its F-250 trucks to the F-450 Super Duty, which are bigger siblings to its well-known F-150 trucks. The majority also use vehicles to haul heavy loads in vehicle beds, which start at around $44,000 and can run more than $103,000, depending on the model.
To help with hitching and hauling, Ford is using technologies like new camera features, automated assistance, and smart taillights.
Easy to install
Ford’s new “Pro Trailer Hitch Assist” takes the hassle out of the process. The truck automatically backs up and aligns the hitch ball with the trailer receiver. The feature is standard or available on many models, starting at $1,035.
“It’s to help take the pain out,” said Aaron Brisky, Ford Super Duty chief technology officer. “People have to run for fun and for work, and the more we can get rid of the pain, the more natural it becomes.”
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” system automatically backs up the truck and aligns the conventional hitch ball with the trailer receiver.
Light scales on board
Besides towing or hauling, Ford Super Duty trucks can tow a lot, up to 8,000 pounds, depending on the model. This includes all people, cargo, and any items that may be in the truck bed.
But having to guess or calculate how much you’re towing can be difficult, especially when you have passengers in the car or don’t know how much your load weighs.
Ford’s answer to this problem is something it calls “Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch,” which debuted on the 2021 F-150. The system uses in-vehicle scales to determine the gross payload/vehicle weight.
Drivers can use the car’s infotainment screen or app to select payload, but Ford also offers a unique way to do so. The vehicle’s tail lights illuminate at different levels to let the owner know how close they are to reaching the vehicle’s maximum gross payload.
If the vehicle exceeds its approved load, the top bar will flash, alerting the owner that they may need to rethink what they’re hauling or let go of a passenger or two.
Taillights can also be used to balance a trailer with a vehicle, which is also known as a trailer tongue weight.
Onboard scales with Smart Hitch are available for $650 on Lariat models and standard on higher-end trucks.
Available new “compact scales” measure and display the approximate weight of a load in Ford Trucks. Load information is displayed on the center touchscreen, in the FordPass app, or in the truck’s smart tail lights.
back door camera
The simplest new feature is the rearview camera, which is mounted at the top of the car’s tailgate. While pointed skyward when the gate is up, it provides a clear view of what’s behind the vehicle when the tailgate is lowered, providing an extra set of eyes when the owner pulls something taller into the vehicle bed.
While all new cars require rear-view cameras, Ford is the first to use such a camera that comes in handy when the tailgate is down. Standard rear-view cameras on American pickup trucks point toward the ground when the tailgate is lowered.
The option also comes with built-in sensors that work with the camera to notify drivers when the lowered tailgate is approaching an object.
A new backup camera and sensors are standard on higher-end models 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 trucks that can be used when the tailgate is disabled.