The rear seating of the Lariat folds away to maximize storage space when you need it most.
Power for the 6.4-liter diesel is assisted by twin sequential turbochargers with 42 pounds of boost. Like a multistage rocket, the smaller turbo comes on immediately at takeoff through lower rpm. As the rpm increase, the larger turbo boosts the power through the middle of the torque curve and beyond.
Transmission choices include a six-speed manual with overdrive or a five-speed automatic. Our test truck was equipped with the automatic transmission and 4.88:1 rearend ratio, but we can see a lot of practical applications for the six-speed manual.
The new F-450 has a 6,000-pound payload capacity.
Inside the cab, the 6.4-liter Power Stroke diesel is really quiet. Under throttle with the sequential turbos spooling up power, you'd expect diesel clatter to be annoying and loud. It's not.
Ford engineers did some redesigning of the valve covers and piston rings to reduce noise and looked at ways to tune the new air-induction system and exhaust for a more refined note. There was engine cooling fan hum at 80 to 85 mph that was unsettling, but only at that speed.
The F-450's interior comfort is part of Ford's Quiet Steel technology that was introduced with the F-150. Quiet Steel is a laminated steel sheet fitted around the dash and flooring that works with additional sound padding. Thicker side glass, a revamped steering-column boot, and foam-filled A-pillars and C-pillars are designed to further reduce unwanted interior sounds in all Super Duty pickups
To make driver and passenger more comfortable, there's the dual-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC). It's standard on the Lariat for '08 and allows the driver and front passenger to set individual temperatures. There's also an optional RapidHeat system available for warming up on cold mornings.
Another small but much appreciated feature is the F-450's audio system with MP3 input. You can take all your favorite music with you wherever you travel. A DVD-based navigation system takes the guesswork out of getting to the jobsite on time.
The premium leather seating, ample head and legroom, and ergonomic console and dash all tu
There were a few other things that really made the F-450 stand out. Ford's innovative power-fold and power-telescoping mirrors took the fumbling out of mirror positioning to see around your trailer. They extend outward up to 2.75 inches and have a functional spotter mirror that is double the size of the previous generation. A heated glass feature for the cold mornings, clearance lamps, and integrated turn signals are pluses.
Then there's the optional tailgate step that is made of high-strength steel and is MIG-welded for added strength. A grab-handle folds up and out of the tailgate to provide extra support when using the tailgate step, which can handle up to 300 pounds.
Finally, Ford included a 24K Reese fifth-wheel hitch as a factory option on our '08 Lariat. It just doesn't get any better than that.
After we returned from our road trip, we realized that we had just scratched the surface of the new F-450 Super Duty, and we're certain we'll test it again to see how it tows a heavy fifth-wheel trailer. But for now, we have a good first impression of what it's like to drive.
Although the 4x4 Lariat can easily handle the occasional loose dirt trail or mud and water obstacle, don't expect it to do the Rubicon. That's unrealistic for a truck of this size.
Time will certainly tell, but we think the F-450 will prove every bit the reliable, luxuriously appointed workhorse Ford designed it to be.
Ford offers an optional Reese fifth-wheel hitch as part of the F-450 package.
The F-450 rides on 225/70R19.5F Continental tires.
The tailgate step is made of high-strength steel and is MIG-welded for added strength. A