DRUMHELLER, Alta—Now that’s a truck I said to myself, stepping back from the absolutely huge Ford F-350 Super Duty Platinum with 3,000 lb of industrial equipment lashed to the bed and after climbing a seven per cent grade without breaking a sweat.
The new Platinum trim model builds on a long history of special trim Ford pickups.
Ford arguably started the move to luxury-trimmed trucks in 2000 with the Harley-Davidson F-150. That was followed in 2003 with the first King Ranch Super Duty and next up was the 2004 Harley-Davidson Super Duty.
For 2013 you can buy a mix of high-end Lariat and King Ranch Super Duty models with the Platinum, leaving no, and I mean no, amenity out.
And at the very top is the Super Duty Platinum tested here in F-350 form.
Available only in the Super Duty crew cab, it can be ordered as an F-250, F-350 or F-450 pickup and with the Ford-designed and Ford-built 6.7-litre Power Stroke diesel engine or the 6.2-litre V8 gas engine.
With the 6.2-litre gasoline V8, power is 385 hp and 405 lb/ft of torque for single rear wheel (SRW) versions and 316 hp and 387 lb/ft for dual rear wheel (DRW) models.
The mighty 6.7-litre diesel pumps out 400 hp and 800 lb/ft of torque in the F350 and F450 single or dual wheel variants.
Payloads vary, but in the Super Duty Platinum diesel as tested, the payload was 1,814 kg (4,000 lb) and it can tow 6,350 kg (14,000 lb).
The Platinum starts at a Super Duty Crew Cab Lariat at $59,549 with the Platinum Package priced at $6,800 for a $66,399 opening price, not counting shipping and the many extras available.
Even at a distance the Super Duty Platinum stands out with its bold grille that features a satin chrome surround highlighted by perforated mesh inside the grille. The redesigned grille is enhanced by a monochromatic bumper and chrome tow hooks.
There are numerous exterior trim differences such as chrome used on the door handles, mirror caps, running boards and exhaust tip.
On either side of the box, the “Platinum” name is raised in chrome letters and the tailgate is trimmed with a satin chrome applique. The polished-aluminum 20-inch wheels have painted black inserts.
The interior would do a Lincoln proud with wood trim throughout including wood inserts on the leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel. Wood is used on the doors, instrument panel and centre stack.
A new storage area on top of the dash includes two USB ports, audio-video connections, SD card slot and a 12-volt charging port for cell phones and other digital devices.
The driver’s seat has 10-way power adjustable seating and both captain’s chairs are upholstered with softer, premium leather, which is also used on the armrests and console.
Among the many standard features are: SYNC with MyFord Touch; navigation system; power-adjustable pedals; rear view camera; remote start system; universal garage door opener and power-telescoping mirrors.
Despite all the luxury, the Super Duty is built for working in the modern, connected word starting with SYNC that lets Super Duty drivers use compatible mobile phones and media players via Bluetooth or USB to make calls and play back music using voice control. In addition, drivers will get access to 911 Assist, a no-charge lifetime feature.
Also part of SYNC is MyFord Touch that includes an eight-inch screen offered for the first time.
This high-resolution touch screen display gives drivers easy access to phone, climate control, entertainment and navigation features along with a dramatically expanded voice control vocabulary.
I found it interesting that Ford’s designers rejigged the MyFord Touch interface to work with work-gloved hands on the climate and audio controls.
I don’t think I’ve ever driven a pickup this big that was so easy to handle.
It’s a big step up into the cabin and, after you settle in to the seat, the first impression is how high up you are and the surprising lack of blind spots thanks mostly to the outside rear view with two mirrors—one normal, the other with a wider plane of view.
My task at a full line Ford pickup truck event in Drumheller, Alberta, was to drive the Super Duty Platinum with 3,000 lb of machinery through the town and then across country to one of many sharp hills where dinosaur bones are still being found.
The big Power Stroke diesel fired up with a twist of the ignition key with the days of waiting for minutes for the glow plugs to heat up being a thing of the past.
Tooling through the town with the diesel just ticking over was a breeze and so was the highway portion, with the tack showing just over 1,300 revs at the speed limit.
The seven per cent grade with 3,000 lb aboard would normally have been a nightmare in a lesser truck but with 800 lb/ft of torque, I just sailed up.
The 2014 Ford Super Duty Platinum is not for everyone but for those who appreciate what it offers, this is a sumptuous blending of beauty and brawn.
Ford F-350 Super Duty Platinum 2013
Body Style: heavy duty pickup.
Drive Method: front-engine, rear/four-wheel-drive.
Engine: 6.7-litre Power stroke diesel V8 (400 hp, 800 lb/ft)
Fuel Economy: NA
Tow Rating: 6,350 kg (14,000 lb)
Payload: 1,814 kg (4,000 lb)
Price: $66,399 not including shipping
Web Site: www.ford.ca