Most of the new vehicle introductions in this country have typically taken place at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. But Ford didn’t choose to use that venue to unveil its 2017 line of Super Duty trucks. Instead, the brand picked the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina last November to show potential buyers what was coming their way.
“Take a look around,” said Bill Rowe, Ford’s product marketing manger, when asked why the company chose to introduce the new trucks in Regina. “These are our customers. Agribition is the largest agricultural show in Canada and we wanted to showcase the 2017 Super Duty to the people that use the Super Duty.”
The 2017 models are still several months away from production and not all of their specifications have yet to be published, but a December press release claims there will be “16 class-exclusive new features.”
Making these models even more capable in front of a trailer has been a priority. “We know the people who use a Super Duty need it for either payload or towing,” added Rowe. “The vehicle’s payload and capability for trailering will be higher than it’s ever been.” Official load ratings haven’t yet been released.
To make trailer towing easier, the new trucks will be available with seven onboard cameras. Four will provide a 360 degree view around the truck, while another is in the bed to make backing up to a gooseneck hitch easier. A camera for the trailer will also be able to tell if there is a vehicle in the trailer’s blindspot. And just like on the truck, there will be tire pressure monitors available for the trailer as well.
One of the biggest changes for these trucks will be switching to aluminum body construction, which the F150 went to a year ago. Engineers have gone to that material to save weight. Overall, aluminum-bodied Super Duty trucks will tip the scales at about 350 pounds less than the previous all-steel versions.
“Changing to the aluminum alloy probably took out a lot more weight than that,” says Rowe. “But what we did was reinvest that weight into components that are required on the vehicle. Things like a heavier-duty frame, bigger brakes, axles, and things like that, just to make the vehicle tougher.”
Ford claims the high-strength steel frame on 2017 models will be 24 times stiffer than before and fully boxed from the rear of the cab forward on all models.
The adaptive steering feature changes steering wheel input sensitivity based on the truck’s speed, increasing it a low speeds and reducing it at highway speeds for better handling.
Buyers will get a choice of a “second generation” 6.7 litre V-8 Powerstroke diesel or a 6.2 litre gas engine. Gas engines will be mated to Ford’s TorqShift-G transmission in the F-250 pickup.
Up front, a new grille and LED light package give the 2017s a little different face. Buyers can also get new side-view mirror LED spotlights and rear LED cargo lights.
Of course the list of digital “driver assist” features is a long one. There is lane departure warning. The Blinds Spot Information System with trailer tow is enhanced for the Super Duty, using radar embedded in the taillights to detect vehicles Super Duty drivers may not be able to see in their mirrors. There is also adaptive cruise control and collision warning which detects slower-moving vehicles ahead.
“We’re trying to make it easier for our customers and make towing smarter,” Rowe said. “The Super Duty is going to be our smartest, toughest, most capable truck ever.”
All 2017 Super Duty trucks will be built at Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky, assembly plant, which has just been give a U.S.$1.3 billion update and will hire on an additional 2,000 workers to meet the expected demand.
For a video look at the Super Duty unveiling in Regina watch the e-QuipTV episode at at Grainews.ca.