2020 Ford F-350 Grill
Jerry Kronenberg

2020 Ford F-350 Can Handle Any Road Condition or Cargo Job

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2020 Ford F-350 Grill
Jerry Kronenberg

Worthy Competitor

The 2020 Ford F-350 is about as big a pickup truck as you can drive without joining the Teamsters. Slightly updated for 2020 after a major redesign in the 2017 model year, this beefy vehicle (base price: $35,550) can accommodate lots of cargo, lots of towing and (in some configurations) lots of passengers as well. I recently test-drove the high-end F-350 Platinum Crew Cab SRW with a 6-3/4-foot bed (MSRP: $66,235) and a bevy of optional equipment, including a brawny 475-horsepower V-8 turbodiesel engine.

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2020 Ford F-350 Exterior
Jerry Kronenberg

Exterior

On the outside, my test F-350 featured a chest-high hood and mammoth grille with tow hooks, LED headlights, and a big Ford logo. These swept back to large front doors with massive side mirrors that fold automatically when the vehicle isn't in use. My F-350 also came with a great panoramic moonroof. All the way back, the F-350 Platinum came with large chrome dual exhaust pipes, rigging for a trailer hitch, and a nearly 7-foot truck bed with an optional bedliner. If you can't haul something with all of that, odds are you don't really need it.

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2020 Ford F-350 Interior Front Seats
Jerry Kronenberg

Interior: Front

My test model featured running boards that extend automatically from the body when you approach the vehicle, helping you climb into a cabin that sits 22 inches off of the ground. Inside, my test truck came with optional brown-and-gray stitched leather seats that offer acres of headroom, legroom, and hip room for driver and front passenger, as well as built-in heating and cooling. The model featured a black leather-wrapped steering wheel and a traditional analog speedometer and tachometer with a digital display between them.

Additionally, my test F-350 offered a nice 8-inch touchscreen to control the vehicle's navigation, three-zone climate system, and optional Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker AM/FM/SiriusXM/Bluetooth audio system. Another convenient touch: a voice-activated command system for doing such things as turning the audio or climate system on or off. The F-350 Platinum also offered some two-dozen buttons and knobs to manually control the audio and climate systems, including my favorite design among automotive controls: buttons made to look like a little stick-figure person to help you direct airflow only where you want it to go. My test truck came with two household-style 110-volt plugs that can accommodate standard electric-powered devices.

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2020 Ford F-350 Rear Seats
Jerry Kronenberg

Interior: Rear Seats

In back, the F-350 crew cab offered some of the roomiest rear seats around. The driver's side and passenger's side seats provided excellent headroom, legroom, and hip room that two adults will find plenty comfortable even for long city trips. The center seat had good headroom as well, but a little less legroom and hip room. These seats also included their own climate zone, as well as an armrest with cupholders for use when there's no center passenger.

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2020 Ford F-350 Cargo
Jerry Kronenberg

Cargo Area

All the way back, my test F-350's bed offered enough cargo room for snowmobiles, a small rowboat, or other large items. If you need even more space, there's an available F-350 with an 8-foot flatbed. You can add a tow hitch to either model for even more cargo capacity.

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2020 Ford F-350 Interior
Jerry Kronenberg

Road Test

On the road, my test F-350's diesel-powered 475-horsepower V-8 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission and on-demand four-wheel drive could handle pretty much any type of road or weather condition around. Starting up the engine, the pickup roared to life with a hefty engine idle that'd be as much at home in a truck stop as in your driveway. That said, the F-350 runs fairly smoothly and (relatively) quietly once on the road. My test car revved only to 2,200 rpm going from zero to 60 mph, a fraction of what I've seen some small economy cars do. (Not surprising, given their much smaller engines.)

The model's "high-up" road view and large windshield and windows combine to offer excellent front, side, and rear views. Backing up is reasonably easy, given the excellent sightlines, although the F-350's large size means you have to pay attention to what's behind you. My test model also came with a backup-alert system for any cross traffic, as well as a great 360-degree backup camera. The F-350 brakes and corners reasonably well, given its size. But rather than risk an accident, I did decide to back up and go a different route when I encountered cars parked on both sides of a small street.

As for fuel economy: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn't provide estimates for large trucks such as the F-350, but I logged 19.1 mpg in combined city/highway driving during a weeklong test drive — pretty impression for such a mammoth vehicle.

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2020 Ford F-350 Grill
Jerry Kronenberg

Pricing

While an entry-level F-350 XL Regular Cab lists for a modest $35,550, higher trimlines and options can boost that significantly. For instance, a top-of-the-line F-350 Limited edition carries an $85,105 MSRP. My F-350 Platinum was one trim line below that, but a bunch of add-ons took the total sticker price to $84,220. Fortunately, Ford offers various rebates and low-APR incentives on the vehicle.

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Jerry Kronenberg is former auto editor of the Boston Herald.