Diesel, Gas Upgrades Plentiful for 2023 Ford Super Duty Trucks

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford
  • New features on the 2023 Ford Super Duty include embedded 5G connectivity, 360-degree trailer camera system, weight-based real-time trailer navigation routing, and a laptop table above the center armrest, able to pivot 45 degrees for easy use by the driver.

  • The new 6.8-liter gasoline V8 was derived from the existing 7.3-liter gasoline V8, which itself was all-new for the 2020 model year in Ford Super Duty trucks.

  • A high-output version of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel is offered for the first time, alongside the standard-output Power Stroke. Some 70% of Super Duty customers choose diesel.

Foreign automakers would love to tap into the lucrative market in the US for full-size half-ton pickup trucks, but the Detroit brands have kept this market to themselves—a three-way battle for supremacy that spans decades. Step up to the three-quarter and one-ton segments for heavy-duty pickups and it’s just Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, and Ram taking off the gloves to earn their customers’ brand loyalty with bare-knuckled intensity.

It’s been a constant battle of one-upsmanship over the years, like when the Dodge Ram HD was first to reach the 600-lb-ft torque threshold in 2005, or three years ago when General Motors strapped a 10-foot-tall anvil, along with massive slabs of steel, on a flatbed trailer to demonstrate the Chevrolet HD’s ability to tow 35,500 pounds.

This year it’s Ford’s time in the spotlight with an all-new 2023 F-Series Super Duty, to be launched at plants in Louisville, Kentucky, and Avon Lake, Ohio.

Ford has been building trucks in Kentucky since 1969, so the state’s governor, Andy Beshear, marked the occasion by declaring today “KenTRUCKy Day” as the new sixth-generation truck is unveiled tonight at Churchill Downs, where horse trailers and Ford heavy-duty trucks go together like jockeys and thoroughbreds. The new truck launch has spurred Ford to invest $700 million in its Louisville plant and add 500 new manufacturing jobs.

The important numbers like horsepower, torque, and towing capacity for the new Super Duty are unavailable, but there is much to like about the new truck, from the all-new standard 6.8-liter gasoline V8, embedded 5G connectivity, 360-degree trailer camera system, and weight-based real-time trailer navigation routing to an ingenious laptop table positioned above the center armrest, able to pivot 45 degrees for easy use by the driver.

Certain new Super Duty features first appeared on Ford’s all-new light-duty F-150 a few years ago, including the overall interior design and fold-flat front seats for napping in the quiet of the cabin. The body and bed are made of high-strength aluminum, just like for the F-150.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Powertrain tends to be the biggest point of content among heavy-duty truck loyalists who prefer the Cummins (Ram), Duramax (Chevrolet and GMC), or Power Stroke (Ford) diesel engines that determine how much a truck can tow, how much fuel it will consume both laden and unladen, what kind of maintenance is likely to be involved, and what it sounds like at idle or while towing 12,000 pounds up a long, steep grade. No customer wants the experience to sound (or feel like) a dental drill.

Refinement has come a long way in these trucks with uber-capable engines, but Ford is convinced the new Super Duty powertrain lineup is second to none, starting with the new 6.8-liter gasoline V8 that was derived from the existing 7.3-liter gasoline V8, which itself was all-new for the 2020 model year in Ford Super Duty trucks and now remains as an uplevel gas option, with improved air intake and tuning.

But there’s more energy density in diesel fuel, which helps explain why this sector of the truck market leans toward oil burners to pull massive fifth-wheel vacation trailers, livestock, and large cabin cruisers. Ford estimates about 70% of its Super Duty customers opt for the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 that was upgraded in 2020.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

That percentage might even go up, now that a high-output version of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke is offered for the first time in the ’23 model, with a unique turbocharger, upgraded exhaust manifolds, and unique tuning to target best-in-class horsepower and torque. To be clear, the standard-output Power Stroke will remain in the lineup as well, which means four different engines, up from three for the previous truck.

Yes, the horsepower and torque numbers are not available yet for any of these four engines, but it’s safe to assume the high-output diesel will churn out at least 475 hp and 1050 lb-ft of torque—the numbers attached to the 2021 Super Duty 6.7-liter. On the gasoline side, the ’21 Super Duty with the 7.3-liter V8 was rated at 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel tanks will range in size from 29 gallons for the standard-output Power Stroke diesel up to 34 gallons with both gasoline engines. In crew cab configurations with a 176-inch wheelbase, 48-gallon tanks are available with all three engines. For the high-output 6.7-liter diesel, Ford isn’t ready to disclose the size of its fuel tank paired with any of the cabs (regular, super, or crew).

And just like the previous generation, the new Super Duty will be offered in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim. All Super Duty trucks will use the same 10-speed TorqShift 10R100 automatic transmission for all engines, available in 4x4 or rear-wheel drive.

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Potential customers will also want to know how much payload the new Super Duty can handle, and its maximum tow rating, but they’ll have to wait for those numbers as well (about 96% of owners use their heavy-duty trucks to tow). Ford surely knows these numbers, along with horsepower and torque, but probably prefers to keep these numbers close to the vest, to prevent being outgunned by the competition. This type of gamesmanship, though tiresome, is pretty common among Detroit truck producers.

Ford engineers drove 4 million miles in proving out the new Super Duty—with testing in Nevada gold mines and Alberta tar sands in Canada—but it’s not clear if any of those were simulated.

Customized chassis cabs for fleet use (such as utility company trucks) will account for more than a third of all Super Duty volume, the automaker says. Ford says it has some 300 upfit and body equipment partners that customize Super Duty trucks for a wide range of customers.

New for the ’23 Super Duty is Ford Pro Upfit Integration System, which gives aftermarket equipment makers improved access to Super Duty’s electrical system to better integrate their hardware into the truck’s digital displays.

On the inside, in addition to the swivel laptop table, the infotainment upgrades include a standard 8-inch screen and optional 12-incher (the base 4-inch screen in the previous model goes away), as well as four USB power ports, available wireless charging pad, and 640-watt eight-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.

By the time the Super Duty trucks launch in early 2023, Ford will fill in the vital information gaps, including how much these heavy-duty haulers will cost.