Ford’s Super Duty has been a frequent and welcome visitor. Despite a vast portfolio of work and play attributes, two other thoughts dominated the big Ford’s latest visit.

First, the shift to battery electric vehicles dominates the news cycle each week, as automaker after automaker announces the billions of dollars they are willing to commit to the creation of vehicles that they say we will all soon be driving, yet few are currently buying. Those multi-million dollar BEV investments will, obviously, curtail investments in other technologies, for instance, the engines that 97% of today’s buyers rely on for their transportation.

Will this be the last PowerStroke turbodiesel Ford builds for its heavy-duty pickup lineup? It is a smooth performer; quiet and refined and full of stump-twisting torque when you light the fuse. Yet Ford recently pulled the plug on its half-ton F-150 diesel engine program, one —because that motor wasn’t quite as good as the GM and Stellantis 3.0-liter diesels and two — the new F-150 Hybrid is such a stellar performer.

Will Ford find the technology to build a Super Duty BEV with over 600-miles of driving range (like our off-road package Tremor model), a truck that you can refuel in 10-minutes and tear off another three states before nightfall?

Given the current dynamic of conveniently re-fueling our current driving fleet at a site not at our homes, will the vast majority of BEV drivers find enough charging ports in their condo’s, apartments and suburbia homes to readily embrace the supposed convenience of ‘fueling’ at home?

Secondly, the price of the Super Duty, wearing Lariat trim ($54,255) plus the Tremor package ($3,975) and adding the PowerStroke diesel engine and 10-speed automatic (($10,495) as well as some other impressive features for an all-in price of $75,300 is now, well, almost normal.

The average new-vehicle transaction price has crested $40,000, up over $5,000 in the last 8-months (due in no small part to big pickups like this Super Duty), as the chip shortage and vehicle production restrictions are creating extremely high demand scenarios that are enriching dealers and automakers. New vehicle inventory levels for many Ford dealers is nine-days, an unheard of level of turn-over that carries pluses and minuses depending on your view as a seller, or a buyer.

Visiting during the height of my pleasure-boating season, the Tremor—radiant in Rapid Red Crew Cab with black-alloy wheels shod with oversize 35”Wranglers—was soon employed as tow-master for saltwater excursions. In regular tooling about—commuting, urban driving—the Super Duty’s diesel returned a steady 20-22-mpg. With the boat and tandem trailer (6,300-pounds) attached to the three-inch receiver hitch, fuel economy only dipped to 15-16-mpg.

My half-ton pickup doesn’t get that fuel economy, going downhill, and usually returns 9-mpg towing the boat. So, obviously pleased with the Super Duty’s towing prowess.

But there’s more. The 6.7-liter PowerStroke powertrain includes larger components everywhere—the hardware you need for serious towing. Beefier brakes eliminate stopping drama, the firmed up chassis erases the body gyrations often associated with towing, while the torquey engine provides gobs of seamless power.

Can’t stress enough how much more relaxing the driving experience is with the diesel powertrain over a regular gas engine half-ton truck—no matter what the tow ratings are.

One caveat for the stoutness of the F-350 platform. If you aren’t planning on doing serious towing/hauling, stick with the F-250. On less than consistently maintained surfaces, the one-ton chassis can provide unplanned reactions that might become tiring if that is your commute. Beaten roads like Route 15 from Bangor to Greenville come to mind.

This tortured stretch of tarmac had us bouncing around the cabin, and the truck jitter-bugging, as if we had the meanest bull on the planned 8-second ride. This road is infamous for its corrupted surface—especially north of Monson, and the F-350 exposed every fault-line.

The cabin is very comfortable. The controls are easy to use. The back seat is limousine-like roomy, with a flat-floor below. The safety systems work with the trailer attached, the camera systems make trailer attachment a snap, and the backing program makes everyone a driving pro. The heated/cooled leather seats you’ll want; the power-folding running boards you’ll need. Strangely, the pickup bed is 1.5-inches narrower than the bed in my older half-ton Tundra.

Ford can’t build enough F-series pickups, including Super Duty models, to meet demand. I suspect that situation will remain even after the computer chip supply issue is resolved.

Tim Plouff