2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited Edition
DETROIT – Let’s set the scene: a pickup driver and their spouse, with the truck in reverse, trying to align the hitch ball on the pickup with the coupler on the trailer. “Go a little to the left. No, your left. No, your left. Okay, now a little to the right. That’s okay. Let’s try again.”
Among other things, the familiar headache is why Ford is beefing up technology on its most expensive pickups, making it easier for new owners to manage their vehicles and alleviating major pain points for experienced truck drivers.
The Detroit automaker is adding features to its 2023 Ford Super Duty lineup to boost the truck’s deal value and ease some of the vehicle’s most important functions (towing and carrying/hauling).
“It’s really about making the truck safer for our customers, for our equipment, for whatever it’s towing. It’s about productivity. It’s about ease,” said Tim Baughman, general manager of Ford’s commercial business. It’s about saving a marriage.” “With our new trailer towing feature, I believe we’re going to save a couple’s marriage based on how it works now.”
Many pickup truck owners, especially new ones, face headaches like figuring out how much weight they can safely put on the vehicle or hitch a trailer to the truck, Ford said.
Specifically, the latter challenge can lead to relationship problems, as it may take two people and multiple attempts to get the truck and trailer properly positioned for towing – as in our common but imaginary scenario above.
“Our team cares deeply about our customers,” Bowman said. “It’s about customer understanding and customer obsession. Everything on this truck was purpose-built.”
Ford says 96 percent of its customers tow with F-250 to F-450 Super Duty pickups, the larger siblings of its famous F-150 truck. Most people also use these vehicles to transport heavy loads on lathes, and vehicles start at about $44,000 and go up to more than $103,000, depending on the model.
To assist with towing and towing, Ford is using technology like new camera features, Auto Assist and smart weight taillights.
Ford’s new “Pro Trailer Hitch Assist” takes the hassle out of the process. The truck backs up automatically and aligns the hitch ball with the trailer receiver. This feature is standard and is also available on a number of models starting at $1,035.
“It’s about helping take the pain out,” said Aaron Bresky, Ford Super Duty chief technology officer. “The more we can alleviate the pain that people have to tow for fun and work, the more natural it becomes .”
The 2023 F-Series Super Duty trucks can tow 14,000 to 40,000 pounds, depending on the truck.
Ford’s “Pro Trailer Hitch Assist” automatically backs up and aligns a conventional hitch ball with the trailer’s receiver.
In addition to towing or towing a truck, Ford’s Super Duty pickups can tow a lot of weight themselves, up to 8,000 pounds, depending on the model. This includes all people, cargo, and anything that may be inside the pickup truck bed.
But guessing or calculating how much you’ll be hauling can be tricky, especially if you have passengers in the car or you don’t know the weight of your cargo.
Ford’s solution to this problem is what it calls an “onboard scale with a smart hitch,” which first debuted on the 2021 F-150. This system uses scales in the vehicle to determine the total payload/weight of the vehicle.
Drivers can use the vehicle’s infotainment screen or app to determine payload, but Ford also offers a more unique method. The vehicle’s taillights will illuminate at various levels, letting the owner know how far away they are from reaching the vehicle’s total payload limit.
If the vehicle exceeds its certified payload, the top bar will flash, alerting owners that they may need to rethink what they’re hauling or jettison a passenger or two.
Tail lights can also be used to balance the trailer to the vehicle, also known as trailer tongue weights.
An on-board scale with a smart hitch costs $650 on the Lariat and is standard on higher-end trucks.
A new “vehicle scale” measures and displays the approximate weight of a payload in a Ford truck. Load information is displayed on the center touchscreen, in the FordPass app or in the truck’s smart taillights.
The simplest new feature is a rearview camera mounted on top of the vehicle’s tailgate. When the doors are raised, it faces the sky, and when the tailgate is lowered, it provides a clear view of what’s behind the vehicle, providing an extra pair of eyes when the owner is hauling something longer under the car.
While all new cars are required to have a rearview camera, Ford is the first to include one, which is useful when the tailgate is down. The standard rearview camera on American pickups faces the ground when the tailgate is lowered.
The option also comes with built-in sensors that work in conjunction with the camera to notify the driver when an object is approaching with the driver’s lowered tailgate.
A new backup camera and sensors are standard on high-end models, but not on entry-level and lower-priced trucks.
Ford has installed cameras and sensors in the tailgate of its F-Series Super Duty pickups that can be used when the tailgate is down.