Second Place - Ford F-350
Each of the three trucks in our comparison were supposed to be duallies but unfortunately Ford sent a single-wheel and said, “take it or leave it.” With that in mind, let’s dive into this F-350.
FAST FACTS: 2015 Ford F-350
Engine: 6.7-liter turbo diesel with 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque.
Max as tested fifth-wheel towing: 15,899 lbs.
As tested price: $64,565.
Rear-end axle ratio: 3.55.
First, the insides are clearly the oldest of the three competitors and it shows. The recent rush to “soft touch” everything hasn’t been applied to this truck and it comes off feeling the most utilitarian with its mostly black plastic innards because of that. It’s also especially noisy, which adds to the lack of refinement. It easily has the noisiest cabin of the three. Overall comfort is acceptable, although the seat is a little harder than the other two. A dashboard-mounted storage compartment and a monstrous center console with six cupholders improves the functionality of this interior, but overall it still feels lacking compared to the competition.
A high-seating position is forced upon you in this truck, as the seat never feels like it can sit quite low enough. However, rear visibility was never a problem thanks to huge mirrors, one area where GM and Ram could stand to improve, not to mention the power fold and telescope feature.
The other big player in the numbers game, Ford’s stats stack up in the real world a little better than Ram’s do. Empty, this truck absolutely flies off the line, jumping to speed faster than most average vehicles. The F-350 also has the most balanced steering setup. Not heavy like the Ram or quite as light as the GMC, this truck finds the nicest compromise between the two. Applying the brake pedal also feels good with predictable performance and a pleasant level of resistance.
Once loaded, just about everything is the way you’d want it be. This truck did seem to wander about the road a little more than the other two, though that may be the result of the single wheel. That aside, dynamically the Ford feels solid under load and continued to deliver some of the best throttle response. There was no unwanted body roll or floaty feeling to speak of.
Loading the shingles into the bed did unearth one particularly annoying issue. The bed step that extends out of the tailgate has an accompanying handle which sits on the inside of the tailgate. Thanks to this handle, there is a large hump on the tailgate, directly in the way of our fork lift pulling the pallet out of the truck. We ended up bending the drop-in bed liner pretty badly because of it.
Fuel numbers clocked from the F-350 put it neck and neck with the Ram. Overall, the truck averaged 10.3 MPG, while our first unloaded highway stint saw us run at 16.5 MPG.
Despite the fact that it felt a little faster off the line than the other two, the F-350’s drag strip times posted in the middle of the pack. The best quarter mile we got out of this truck was a 16.542, while adding a trailer pushed the time up to a 23.303.
Ford’s F-350 is the antithesis of the Ram HD. It offers solid dynamics and a great powertrain coupled with a loud, old, bleakly styled cabin. Go for the Ram and you’ll get the most lavish interior, but the least refined powertrain.
There is one choice however, that offers the best of both worlds.