After many months of test driving and haggling, last week I finally settled on a 2012 F350. My last truck (a 2000 F350) was about to put a huge hole in my wallet just to end up with the same old truck. As much as loved the old 6-speed 7.3, I decided it was time to upgrade.
The first truck I drove was a 2014 Chev 2500 with the Duramax and Allison. I have to say I think I liked the interior the most in this one, it was simply laid out, spacious and comfortable. I was excited to try the famous Allison transmission but I was very disappointed. It was sluggish with a sloppy torque converter, always hunting for the right gear and very slow to shift. Coming from a standard transmission there was no way I could live with a terrible automatic, so I moved on.
So I decided to stick with the manual transmission and try a 2011 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins with the 6-speed manual. What could go wrong, the legendary Cummins diesel engine back by a row-your-own funbox? Pretty much everything else on the truck. It was noisy, uncomfortable, everything was cheap feeling, squeaks everywhere and it was already starting to rust. Completely unacceptable for a truck that cost as much as this. I might have been happier with another version of this truck, but they are incredibly hard to find so this was my only option.
So I decided to see how the newer Fords handled the 1-ton category and I must say I was very impressed. I found a beautifully maintained 2012 F350 Lariat FX4 with the new 6.7L Powerstroke. With the ZF-6 no longer an option on the Fords I was forced to try the automatic again, but honestly it didn't matter. The 6-speed automatic in the new trucks is set up properly. It shifts when you want it to, the converter is tight and locks up at just the right time, and when slowing down it will downshift exactly where I would have when driving the manual as if it were reading my mind. I was sold.
After a week with the truck I can only say it's gotten better. As I find all the little gadgets and toys hidden in the electronics, never (EVER) running out of power even when towing a huge load behind it, and averaging 10.5L/100kms (22.4mpg) when empty, I have to say Ford has a very well thought out truck. I still miss shifting on my own, but as a whole package this truck is just much much better than the old one. Makes me wonder why I didn't do this sooner.