When it comes to bigger trucks, you’ve only got a few options, but that doesn’t mean the competition is any less fierce than a busier part of the market. In fact, it might be that much more fierce. Ford updated their Super Duty line of trucks for the 2023 model year, and sent me a 2023 F-350 Super Duty to see if the updates made towing a trailer that much easier.
Styling of the new 2023 Ford F-350 Super Duty is evolved a bit. There’s a new nose, differentiated further based on trim level. My fully-loaded Limited trim was handsome enough for being a (too tall) big ol’ work truck at its core. Interior updates abound as well, with revised infotainment on a gigantic screen and a fully digital gauge cluster. Obviously, lower trim levels won’t have all of these goodies, nor do they need ’em.
Engine-wise, Ford retains the 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 introduced a few years ago, adds a new 6.8-liter V8 below it as the basic fleet-ish option, and upgrades the 6.7-liter PowerStroke turbodiesel. The diesel in optional High Output form – standard on this F-350 Super Duty Limited trim – now makes 500 HP and 1,200 lb-ft of torque thanks to a new turbo and exhaust manifolds and revised tune. It’s funneled through a 10-speed automatic and four-wheel drive with a locking 3.55:1 rear differential.
Technology tweaks for 2023 focus on towing. Clever onboard scales use sensors on the axles to show either live payload readouts or a “Smart Hitch” view to help ensure proper axle weight front and rear with a trailer attached. You’ll get a detailed readout on the truck’s infotainment screen or can simply look at the taillights as you hook up. Four LEDs indicate where you are capacity-wise in 25-percent increments.
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, which we first saw on the 2023 Ford F-150, can guide the truck to your trailer tongue on its own, says Ford. It doesn’t require any special stickers on the trailer tongue or other prior setup, making it easily compatible with any trailer you want to attach. I first sampled the system at the Javits Center as part of the New York Auto Show, and it worked well enough, though it didn’t quite line me up perfectly then. In the real world, though, the F-350 Super Duty was able to line up bang-on to my trailer tongue. I think I’m pretty good at quickly hooking up, but even I might end up using this feature often.
Ford’s got a clever tailgate setup for 2023 as well. If you tow gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailers, or often haul longer loads that require the tailgate to be dropped, you’ll love this. Ford added backup sensors and a second rear-facing camera to the top of the tailgate. When dropped, that camera and those sensors take over so you can still reverse the 21-foot-long truck with (some) ease. It’s a clever enhancement, though I do wonder about the durability of the entire skyward-facing suite of sensors.
The 2023 Ford F-350 Super Duty Limited I tested was rated to tow 24,000 pounds with a conventional hitch, 25,900 with a fifth-wheel or 27,000 with a gooseneck. I put the equivalent of a bag of cotton balls on the hitch, using the very-overkill truck to tow my racecar to the shop for some off-season maintenance. Total trailer weight came in around 7,000 pounds. Of course, the truck handled it with ease, as I’d expect in this case. But checking out all of Ford’s trailering tech was the impressive part.
Take a look at the video to see how it all played out: