Ford makes the best-selling pickups in the nation and the F-250 is a heavy-duty machine for when the popular F-150 doesn’t have enough capability.

Base Price: $65,515
As Tested: $74,220
Horsepower: 430
Mileage: EPA doesn’t rate heavy duty trucks

As you’d expect, the 2021 Ford F-250 is one powerful pickup and it’s available in a dizzying variety of trims and configurations and with three engine choices so you can get the truck that has the capability and power you need. Whether you’re looking for a no-frills work truck, a luxury truck loaded with all the bells and whistles, or an off-roading beast, there’s an F-250 for you.

The F-250 got a makeover in 2017 and some tweaks since then. It’s a super competitive class as the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and Ram 2500 are worthy rivals. You really can’t go wrong with any of these heavy-duty trucks.

The F-250 comes in six trims: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Starting prices range from $34,230 to $84,190. Cab choices are Regular, SuperCab (extended cab) and Crew Cab. Beds are 6.75- or 8-feet. Most trims come standard with rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive is available on all trims.

There are two gas engines and one diesel: a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque; a 7.3-liter V8 that generates 430 hp and 475 pound-feet; and the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 that puts out a whopping 476 horses and 1,050 pound-feet of torque, making it a hauling beast. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic.

My tester with the 7.3-liter V8 has smooth and confident acceleration, and the 10-speed shifts smoothly and quickly. The F-250 handles like the large truck it is—while it’s easy to maneuver, you never forget that you’re behind the wheel of a big vehicle. The ride is firm and you will notice some bounces and bumps, especially when the bed is empty. Visibility is good all the way around.

The F-250 boasts impressive towing and payload capabilities. Depending on the engine and equipment, Ford says the F-250 delivers best-in-class maximum gooseneck towing of up to 37,000 pounds, best-in-class maximum fifth-wheel towing of 32,500 pounds, best-in-class maximum conventional towing of 24,200 pounds, and best-in-class maximum payload capacity of 7,850 pounds.

For off-roading, there’s the available FX4 Off-Road Package that adds hill descent control, off-road shock absorbers, transfer case and fuel-tank skid plates. The Tremor Off-Road package includes a specially tuned suspension, Trail Control system with different off-road drive modes including rock and trail crawl modes, limited-slip front differential, locking rear differential, two-inch front-end lift, ground clearance of 10+ inches, shorter front air dam, and huge 35-inch Goodyear tires.

Fuel economy is difficult to know in this segment because the EPA does not provide estimates for heavy duty trucks. I got between about 8 and 18 mpg during my week-long test drive, depending on whether I was driving in the city or on the highway.

Getting into the F-250 requires some climbing. Thankfully there are handles at each door you can use to hoist yourself up. The interior is pleasant, but rivals offer nicer cabins and updated designs. The cabin is roomy—I joked that my front passenger was in another zip code. Controls are easy for the driver to reach, and the audio and climate controls are nice and big, making them easy to use when wearing gloves.

Standard features on the base XL trim include vinyl upholstery, 4.2-inch center display screen, USB-C port, and FordPass Connect.

Lots of features are standard or available on the rest of the trims including keyless entry with push-button start, remote start, up to seven cameras with four high-definition 180/360-degree cameras, power windows and door locks, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, leather upholstery, two-tone leather upholstery, premium two-tone leather upholstery, suede headliner and wood interior trim, power-adjustable front seats, massaging and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, eight-inch instrument cluster screen, SYNC3 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen display, navigation, 11-speaker B&O audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB-C ports, two 110-volt household-style outlets, FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, automatic high beams, LED bed lighting, remote tailgate release, and moonroof.

Available driver assistance technologies include blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping alert, rear parking sensors, AdvanceTrac with roll stability control and trailer sway control, trailer tire pressure monitoring system, pro trailer backup assist, and trailer reverse guidance.

Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system is user-friendly and responds quickly to touch and voice commands. However, some rivals now have bigger screens and updated graphics.

The good:

Huge variety of configurations so you can get the heavy-duty truck you want

Three engine choices

Lots of available features and tech

Advanced trailering technology

Best-in-class towing and payload capabilities

The not-so-good:

Rivals offer more upscale cabins

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $65,515. Rapid Red paint is $395. The 7.3-liter V8 is $2,045. The Tremor Off-Road Package is $3,975. The tough bed spray-in bedliner is $595. Destination fee is $1,695 bringing the grand total to $74,220.

Bottom line:

Ford sure knows how to make an excellent pickup and the 2021 F-250 is a solid truck that can get the job done. And with plenty of choices in engines, trims, cabins and beds, you can get the heavy-duty truck that’s perfect for your needs.

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