In 2008, Ford chose to slide its commercial-only F-450 across the lot to the general public, making it the only 4500-series pickup truck on the market. Despite the extreme niche, the F-450 sells relatively well within the farming community, and to folks who regularly haul a large trailer or camper.
Coming into the 2013 model year, the F-450 is completely unchanged with exception of an all-new Platinum trim level that tops the lineup. The F-450 has four additional trims: XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. All five models come standard with the same 6.7-liter diesel-powered V-8 engine, which cranks out 400 horsepower and a massive 800 pound-feet of torque. This engine links up to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission, and delivers power to a four-wheel drive system. This drivetrain affords the F-450 a conventional-towing rating of 18,500 pounds and a fifth-wheel towing rating of 24,700 pounds.
It's fairly easy to distinguish F-450 trim levels from each other. The XL is a work truck with vinyl upholstery and flooring, and spartan equipment levels. The XLT is more suited for daily use -- it has a cloth interior, carpeting and an upgraded audio system. The Lariat model adds a bit of luxury with leather seating, nine-speaker audio and body-color door handles. The King Ranch achieves a bespoke touch through an exclusive paint scheme and leather interior. Finally, the Platinum transforms the F-450 into a luxury truck with premium leather upholstery, a navigation system and other top-line features.
The XL serves as the base F-450 with standard features like: four-wheel disc brakes; trailer-sway control; a trailer-tow package; 17-inch polished-aluminum wheels; black door handles, front grille and bumpers; a tailgate quick release; air conditioning; vinyl floors and upholstery; and an AM/FM stereo with two speakers.
The XLT adds features that make it more appropriate as a daily driver: an integrated trailer-brake controller; chrome bumpers and grille; heated power mirrors; dark-tinted rear glass; cup holders in the dashboard; an armrest and map pockets; cruise control; carpeted floors; cloth seating; power windows and door locks; and an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, an auxiliary input and steering-wheel-mounted controls.
The Lariat brings a touch of luxury to this full-size, utilitarian pickup truck with: an on-the-fly transfer case; body-color door handles; fog lamps; power telescoping mirrors; dual-zone automatic climate control; power adjustable foot pedals; a 4.2-inch LCD information screen; and a Sony sound system with nine speakers and AM/FM/CD/MP3 capabilities.
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Much cheaper and easier to maneuver, but weak gasoline engine standard and lower max towing
Up to 800 foot-pounds of torque and roomy Mega Cab format, but low base torque and lacks towing capabilty
About $15,000 cheaper, equally powerful optional diesel and well-equipped, but limited base torque and towing capability.
Nissan quality, less expensive and easy to drive, but underpowered engines and miniscule tow rating