Ford promised that big changes were coming to the venerable Super Duty pickup for 2023. While the latest chapter in Super Duty Performance is more of an evolutionary update versus an outright revolution, Ford is not resting on its heels, especially as it tries to retain its sales crown against the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Heavy-duty variants with the 2023 Ford Super Duty lineup.
New V8 Adds Newfound Punch To Base Models
An immediate change that buyers will notice is that there is an all-new 6.8-liter gasoline V8 lurking under the hood of lower-grade Super Dutys. This V8 replaces the old 6.2-liter motor, but while it’s making its debut in the 2023 model, this engine is not a ground-up creation and shares its core construction with the 7.3 liter “Godzilla” V8 that powered the previous generation model. Ford is not ready to talk about final performance figures just yet, but claimed that the company went with a bigger engine to enhance low-end torque and formally say that it has the biggest base gasoline V8 in the segment. As a bonus, the six-speed automatic joins the outgoing 6.2 liter in retirement, and the 2023 Super Duty lineup will now have the 10-speed automatic across the entire model family.
The aforementioned 7.3 liter is still being offered, but we were told that it has received a fair share of enhancements, including an improved airflow setup and a reworked software tune for more power and torque. Like before, Ford is not ready to talk about formal numbers just yet, but look for the 7.3 liter to be an even sweeter option for customers looking to add more power and size to their truck purchase. The venerable 6.7 liter turbodiesel will also continue to be offered, but the company is adding a “high output” tune alongside the default engine, which promises to enhance towing and hauling power for the tough jobs in life. This is partially achieved with new software, but a new turbo and exhaust manifold also play a role too.
The frame is a souped-up version of the outgoing Super Duty’s, but it now supports an all-new electronics architecture and benefits from revisions to the suspension, which now features tweaked shocks or improved ride quality when the truck is not hauling any cargo. The existing bed and cab options will carry over to the new truck, and the existing trim levels will also be retained. That includes the Tremor model, which now gets TrailTurn Assist technology to help move the big truck around tight trailheads. AN XL Off-Road Package is also available, and Ford claims that the package is the result of research that the company did into how some of its trucks were used at mining operations. This analysis obviously played a role in some of the XL’s equipment, including 33-inch off-road tires, axle vent tubes to help ford through high water, and an electronic locking rear differential.
Bigger Is Better Defines Super Duty Styling
At first glance, the truck’s exterior styling might not have appeared to change much compared to its outgoing predecessor, but Ford stylists decided to push the envelope in some regards. It’s still a light redesign, but the front grille and the C-shaped headlights are wider than before, and depending on trim level, the grille can house up to six different styles and the headlights also blend right into the piece itself. This helps make the front look wider and also helps shield the headlights to an extent during low-speed impacts. That reduces the chances of them breaking in an accident and will, thus, reduce replacement costs for owners that find themselves in an accident. The functional side vents are larger than before and draw attention to the side profile, which leads the eye to the tweaked taillights as well as the new bumper-mounted steps to help improve bed access.
These steps have been a staple in GM’s HD lineup for a few years now, and Ford even added new side steps that allow owners to access the bed from the rear and the sides. In addition to these new steps, Ford is also brushing up its footwork regarding the integrated tailgate mounted step. Ford claims that the sturdy piece is lighter and has been reworked to help it work better for shorter people.
The bed itself also gets Ford’s Pro Power Onboard system, but while the more powerful 7.2 kW version remains exclusive to the F-150 Hybrid, Super Duties get a 2.0 kW version instead. This makes them equivalent to gasoline-powered F-150s and will still be plenty of juice for work and recreational activities. The setup will be standard on Lariat and higher trims, but lower-spec trucks will only get it as an add-on option.
Interior Morphs Into Luxurious Oasis
The interior of the 2023 Super Duty also follows the evolutionary theme that defines the truck, and the changes Ford made are gradual versus outright jarring. The motif follows the F-150 to an extent, but Super Duty trucks receive an all-new dashboard design that also axes the puny 4.0-inch base infotainment system with a bigger 8.0-inch infotainment system now being standard. A 12-inch infotainment system is now the default upgrade for higher trims, while a 12-inch fully digital instrument cluster also makes its debut. Ford claims that the truck is using a 5G compatible modem for quicker infotainment system performance but while it remains to be seen if it does help improve things in that regard, look for the setup to integrate Over The Air updates (OTA), which will allow the system to evolve and improve over time.
The four USB ports offer plenty of space for charging devices, but they are now joined by a wireless charging pad which finally allows the Super Duty to follow in sync with rivals in offering this technology to consumers. The F-150 even lends some of its tricks to the Super Duty with both the Max Recline front seats and Ford’s Work Surface space all transitioning into the truck for 2023. The abundance of physical buttons versus a formal touch setup was entirely intentional. Ford claimed they wanted to try and make things easy to operate with gloves, which is impossible in a pure haptic touch layout.
When the truck isn’t coddling you in luxury, it’s also making the art of completing work easier thanks to a massive infusion of technology. One such party trick is Ford’s Pro Upfit Integration system which is tailor-made for commercial buyers who upfit their trucks to cater to a wide range of needs. The touchscreen serves as the system’s central hub and allows you to not only map out buttons for certain functions but also create certain settings for some applications. For example, an owner can create a setup where the transmission is locked into park when the boom arm of a crane or cherry picker is fully raised. Meanwhile, towing is also enhanced thanks to the addition of a 360-degree Trailer Camera system that provides an aerial view of the trailer, as well as a Pro Trailer Hitch Assist system that allows the truck to automatically back up and align it with a hitch ball. Our favorite feature, though, is the Trailer Navigation system which allows owners to type in the exact dimensions of the trailer into the infotainment system, and then the navigation will pick a route that avoids obstacles like low bridges or sharp turns that are beyond the trailer’s turning circle.
Sadly Ford isn’t offering Blue Cruise on the Super Duty, and while GM also doesn’t offer Super Cruise on their HD lineups, we think that Ford missed a tremendous opportunity to drive home a potent segment-exclusive feature into the Super Duty. While Ford didn’t share why it chose not to bring it to the 2023 model, we suspect that the existing electronic architecture and the way it relies on some aspects of the old truck’s layout to function properly made this feature incompatible with the truck,
When Can I Buy One?
Ford confirmed that the 2023 Super Duty will go on sale early next year, but in keeping with the theme of not sharing the details on key things, Ford isn’t ready to share final pricing numbers either. That said, look for pricing to go up versus before though not by too much, depending on what trim and any optional extras that an owner may equip to their rig. We are also interested in seeing final towing and hauling numbers for the Super Duty family, with these two categories being key bragging rights in the heavy-duty pickup segment.
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.