It’s been a wild ride these past four weeks as we send our 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year award winning 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty long-term tester off in grand style. We began our year of testing with the luxurious Ford by setting out on a grand road trip and we’ve ended it by going even bigger.
Our grand adventure took us through 10 states and covered nearly 5,000 miles. After a year of being cooped up at home, we dubbed this our Revenge Road Trip, as this so-called “revenge travel” has become something that millions of Americans are embarking on this summer. And judging by the number of campers and RVs we saw on the road; millions is probably an understatement.
We spent this time, which amounted to more than 114 hours in the truck (nearly five full days of the trip), giving nearly every feature of the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty a final evaluation. We towed up and down extreme grades, in below freezing temperatures, in 109-degree heat, and in stiff wind from all directions. We tracked fuel economy and diesel exhaust fluid usage. And we wore out nearly every interior feature, including the truck’s adaptive cruise control, massaging front seats, and built-in WiFi modem. While we had some issues arise with our 13-year-old travel trailer, the Ford F-250 Super Duty performed flawlessly during the entire 28-day journey.
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The first leg of our trip covered 1,015 miles through California, Arizona, and Utah. During this time, the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty used 88.96 gallons of diesel and averaged 11.41 mpg. The second leg consisted of 804 miles of mostly two-lane backroad driving through Utah and into Western Colorado. This second jaunt saw the Super Duty consume 59.66 gallons of #2 for a slightly better 13.49 mpg average. The third leg sent our group of explorers north, through Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana. We covered the greatest number of miles during this time, churning away at 1,682.4 miles. Burning 129.84 gallons of fuel, the Super Duty achieved an average fuel economy of 12.96 mpg, splitting the difference between the first two legs.
The fourth and final leg of our adventure was certainly more of a sprint than the previous marathon stages. We covered the final 1,183.1 miles in just two days, with the final day being an agonizing 752 miles. This leg took us from just south of Seattle to Grant’s Pass, Oregon, and finally home to Los Angeles. We intended to spend one more night camping in California’s Central Valley, however, a heatwave with highs of 114 degrees sent us heading for the comfort of home instead. During this leg the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty used 92.10 gallons of diesel for an average of 12.85 mpg. We also added another 2.5 gallons of diesel exhaust fluid at the end of this leg.
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During our towing adventure, we utilized the Super Duty’s adaptive cruise control function as much as we possibly could. On the 2020 and newer Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks, adaptive cruise can be used at any speed and with any load, which proved to be quite the helpful companion on the long and boring highway slogs. We set the speed to 65 mph for the entirety of the journey, which proved a touch fast for the West Coast and a touch slow for everywhere else, but it allowed us to be consistent for testing. While the system worked flawlessly, we did notice that it would typically slow by about 5 mph before downshifting and accelerating on grades. This was no worry, however, as the 1,050 lb-ft of torque from the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine made hills of any size a nonissue.
We also kept the truck in Tow/Haul mode any time the trailer was attached. We also kept the engine brake activated as well, most of the time in full-on mode (we used Auto a few times during the trip but found full-on as our best option for most cases). Generally, we found that if there was any grade to the road or any sort of side or headwind the truck would keep the transmission locked in 9th gear. Even on the steepest grades (we saw 8-percent in Colorado), the truck never needed to downshift below 5th gear. And on flat, straight, highways the transmission was happy to jump into 10th and cruise.
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We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, the interior of our 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty in Limited trim is incredibly comfortable. During the many long hours on the road, we never fought driver fatigue. In fact, this author drove the entire journey, never needing to tap out or ask for assistance. The Super Duty is incredibly quiet as well. Even loaded down and working hard, it’s tough to tell from the inside that it packs a large and powerful diesel engine. After basically living out of the truck for the number of hours we put in, we came to really appreciate the two 110-volt outlets (one on the dash and one in the rear seat), and the availability of USB ports for charging. And the truck’s large amount of storage meant that we could go for days before needing to clear out the bags of trash that road trips create (don’t judge, if you’ve driven any number of miles, you know how quickly fast-food trash, Monster cans, and kids snack wrappers accumulate.)
Our only real regret is that we never used Ford’s Pro-Trailer Backup Assist feature. We’ve experienced it before on other trucks, and we definitely see the benefit. In a big move, Ford was able to add it to the Super Duty lineup for 2020 model year by adding an electric motor to the truck’s steering column. While we got the pamphlet out of the owner’s manual, the setup process for ProTrailer Backup Assist is so involved that we never did it. If we owned the truck, setting up this function would be priority one. However, since our short time with it is drawing to a close it just didn’t happen. And we regret that now.
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At the end of the 28 days, we had logged 4,685.6 miles, spent 114 hours and 56 minutes in the truck, filled up 370.56 gallons of diesel from 17 stations, and topped of the DEF tank with 12.23 gallons. And we used one gallon of windshield washer fluid, though it wasn’t full to begin with. For our full trip, the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty logged an average of 12.64 mpg, which is quite remarkable when considering that over the course of more than 20,000 miles of testing we’ve average between 14 and 16 mpg unloaded.
We set out on our adventure not really knowing what to expect. We had physically planned for nearly every possible roadside situation, and mentally prepared as best we could for the challenge at hand. And really, it was the reliability and comfort of our long-term 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty that made the road trip adventure a pleasure. While we’re going to surely miss our Ford F-250, we’re already planning the next adventure!
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