The heavy duty pickup truck wars have never been hotter than they are now. All three major players (Ford GM and Ram) have all unveiled heavily revised offerings that aim to take the HD crown, with the Ram boasting an impressive 1,000 lb ft of torque. Ford didn’t want to be left in the dust, and has formally unveiled the heavily revised 2020 Ford Super Duty.
Unlike the other two, Ford is keeping its torque figures close to the cuff, but the exterior styling for 2020 does not stray too far from the basic formula that has made the current generation Super Duty a sales success. Instead, Ford designers opted for a moderate refresh that includes a tweaked front grille that is more prominent than before, as well as a new design for the LED headlights. Small revisions to the front bumper help enhance aerodynamics slightly, while new graphics for the tailights and a tweaked rear bumper should help enhance the big Ford’s toughness especially against the Silverado HD which opted for a more radical suit of clothes for its updates.
However, the key changes for 2020 are located under the aluminum skin of the big Ford. A new 7.3 liter gasoline V8 makes its debut in the 2020 Super Duty range, and in typical Ford fashion, the company is keeping performance details to itself. What is known however is that this 7.3 liter beast has alot of potential, and according to Ford, is the most powerful gasoline V8 in its class. The engine uses an all new cam in block overhead valve architecture with a cast iron block and a steel forged crankshaft providing the rugged dependability buyers want. Meanwhile, specially designed oil jets help keep the big V8 cool when undertaking heavy towing or hauling big loads. A 10-speed TorqShift automatic replaces the old 6-speed and is much more compact. It also fits in the same fashion as the old unit, and even helps shed 3.5 pounds of excess weight. Five drive modes are on hand for buyers to choose from ( Normal, Tow/Haul, Eco, Slippery, and Deep Sand/Snow.)
Meanwhile a third iteration of the 6.7 liter Power Stroke engine also makes its apperance, and is outfitted with new fuel injectors, and measures to help reduce noise. More power is expected to be on hand, but like before, Ford is keeping the diesel’s capabilities a secret. That’s a shame since we are keen to see if Ford will respond to Ram’s 1,000 lb-ft of torque with an even higher figure. Rounding out things is the 6.2 liter V8 which reprises its role as the entry level V8 for 2020 with minimal changes.
The interior of the 2020 Super Duty matches the lightly tweaked theme of the exterior with new premium materials and some new options for certain models, but buyers that tow trailers as part of their commute will be pleased to hear that Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist system is making its debut with the overhauled Super Duty. When combined with the Trailer Reverse Guidance system, it allows drivers to have much more confidence when backing up even the largest trailers. The system projects guidance lines, and also gives drivers suggested steering inputs to help them backup a trailer effectively. This gives it a leg up over its two domestic rivals, but we will dock a point for the Super Duty not embracing the air suspension that allows the Ram HD lineup to raise and lower the bed to help load cargo as well as to easily hitch up a trailer.
Look for the 2020 Ford Super Duty to make its debut later this week at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. We will be on the ground in the Windy City to see how this rig measures up both against the RAM HD as well as another entry that will also be making its debut in Chicago, the Silverado HD.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.