2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Pickup Truck Preview

The battle for heavy-duty pickup truck supremacy rages on, as each major competitor updates and redesigns their entries. Ford is the latest to trot out improvements, aimed at raising the Super Duty's workhorse capabilities while defending its market-leading position.

The 2020 Ford Super Duty pickup truck, expected to be fully unveiled this week at the Chicago Auto Show, showcases light cosmetic updates and boasts significant improvements under the hood. Specifications are expected to be revealed at the show.

Here's what we know so far:

What it competes with: Chevrolet Silverado 2500, GMC Sierra 2500, and Ram 2500
What it looks like: Current Super Duty. Look close and you’ll find minor light and bumper changes.
Powertrains: 6.2-liter gas V8, 7.3-liter gas V8, 6.7-liter turbo diesel V8 engines; 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- or four-wheel drive.
Expected price: Not available.
On-sale date: Late 2019.

Outside

The updated Super Duty trucks look strikingly familiar, with changes limited to headlamps, bumpers, grille, taillights, and tailgate. Some changes to the front are meant to freshen the appearance and help cool the engine.

2020 Ford Super Duty Pickup Truck interior

Inside

Various trim levels receive minor updates, such as to their badges and stitching. More notable is the now-standard Fordpass telematics system with WiFi hot-spot capability and available wireless phone charger that can help both workers on the go and traveling families.  

What Drives It

For 2020 the base 6.2-liter V8 engine will be mated with the ubiquitous 10-speed transmission that's spreading through Ford’s truck line. This new transmission has selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand/snow. Ford explains that despite adding four gears, the 10-speed unit fits in the same space as the previous six-gear system and weighs just 3.5 pounds more.

There's a new step-up engine for 2020, a 7.3-liter V8. Ford expects this to be the most powerful V8 in the class. If so, output should be greater than the 410-hp, 6.4-liter V8 offered in the new 2019 Ram 2500.

A redesigned 6.7-liter diesel V8 will be the choice for challenging commercial and towing duties. The last diesel we tested had oodles of power, and it was quick for the class.  

2020 Ford Super Duty backup control for trailers

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

Buyers will need to skip over the rather basic XL trim to get key advanced safety features. The XLT and higher trims will come with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Blind spot warning and lane keeping assist with trailer coverage are available as options. These features are recommended given the massive size of this vehicle and the likelihood that owners will use it for towing.

The Super Duty will be available with Pro Trailer Backup Assist, a helpful feature seen on other Ford trucks. This system helps with backing up with a trailer, enabling the driver to steer via knob (rather than the steering wheel) while monitoring the rearview camera display.

CR’s Take

The F-250 is known as a tough work truck that can pull a heavy load and provides a roomy cabin. The new powertrains promise to improve its capabilities. However, we’re not hearing that some of the shortcomings exposed in our road test have been addressed, such as ponderous handling and long stopping distances.

See our current Ford F-250 road test.

2020 Ford Super Duty Pickup Truck rear