Ford's 2017 SuperDuty pickups and chassis-cab models will come with more engine power and torque and advanced electronic features, as previously reported, but they'll also share their cabins with the popular F-150 pickup – something not done for more than 20 years.
At a launch event in Denver on Tuesday, Ford executives said that combining the cabs yields economies of scale, because the F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles of any kind in the United States and its three cab types are produced in great volume.
The change also provides more interior room for Super Duty models, because F-150 cabs were enlarged and updated with aluminum construction several years ago. By adopting those cabs, the ’17-model F-250 through 550 SuperCabs and SuperCrews will be several inches longer than now. Also like the F-150, cargo beds, front fenders and hoods will also be aluminum.
Since the mid 1990s, SuperDuty trucks have had bodies separate from the F-150, executives explained. At first SuperDuties kept the old cabs originally used in the 1970s; then about seven years later they got new, slightly larger cabs – in steel as they’d always been – and used those through the current 2016 model year.
Going to aluminum saves as much as 750 pounds for the largest F-150, but weight savings for a SuperDuty will be 350 pounds at most compared to current models, executives said. Light-weighting could’ve been greater, but engineers added beef to the new SuperDuty frames, which are made of mild and high-strength steel.
Among other changes, each of the heavier frames got at least three extra crossmembers, and with fully boxed main rails a SuperDuty frame is now 24 times stiffer.
The Ford event continues on Wednesday, and a more complete report on features and driving impressions will appear later on Truckinginfo.com.