Heavy-duty trucks often double up as daily drivers and work machines. Modern models are built nicely enough to use for the daily commute but strong enough to be used for hauling and towing. They’ve become an American staple. Because of this, there’s been no lack of memorable heavy-duty pickup trucks to hit the market over the past decades.
The Ford F-250 has been one of the standout models in the heavy-duty truck segment. Even though the F-250 is at the lower end of hauling capacity compared to its beefier Super Duty brethren, the truck’s overall practicality puts the F-250 among Ford’s better-performing trucks. You usually can’t go wrong with either a gas or diesel engine, as long as it’s not the problematic 6.0L or 6.4L PowerStroke diesel engine. Ford truck engines always pack enough punch to haul any payload.
Let’s look at the best F250 years, breaking down the best model years and trim options and what made the marquee rank high on the list of heavy-duty pickup sales.
2005 Model Year Ford F-250 (1st Generation)
Why They’re the Best
The 2005 Ford lineup of Super Duty trucks featured some changes for the Ford F-250 that year. The upgrades to what is widely considered one of the best among all Ford F-250 generations included an upgraded front suspension for more optimized handling, the TorqueShift automatic transmission, and increased towing and hauling capacity.
Engine choices include the 5.4L V8 and the 6.8L V8 gasoline engines and a 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine. Fortunately, the 7.3L Power Stroke was kept as an option for the model year in certain territories despite Ford rolling out the 6.0L variant in 2003 in response to stringent emission standards. The combination of the 7.3L Power Stroke and the improvements in the model year made the 2005 F-250 a memorable truck.
The 2005 Super Duty trucks were also the first pickups to feature an integrated trailer brake controller, making it a great towing machine. The Harley-Davidson trim package also sported upgraded brake rotors and stiffer calipers, making it a very capable vehicle.
Here are our picks for the best trim levels from the 2005 model year Ford F-250.
For a used 2005 Ford F-250, you’re currently looking at a price between $8,000 and $20,000 on average, depending on the condition. The reliability of this model year Ford super duty is factored into the cost for many private sellers, leading to a slight increase compared to other pickup trucks in the same class. This might be an older F-250, but it still demands respect.
2009 Model Year Ford F-250 (2nd Generation)
Why They’re the Best
Widely considered by many to be among the top F-250 in existence, this model year came with a performance-centered gas engine but was also fashioned as a diesel truck thanks to upgraded trims, including the 6.4L PowerStroke engine. This particular model is one of Ford’s best-selling HD pickup offerings and continues to impress.
Kelly Blue Book designated this super duty as “born to haul.” With the Powerstroke engine option and gritty gas engine configurations with incredible power, this Ford F-250 certainly lives up to this reputation. This 2009 Ford Super Duty included the In-Dash Ford TowCommand. This trailering feature integrates all the most critical systems and components to help assist with towing.
If you want maximum effort for towing out of the 2009 F-250, purchasing this model as a diesel truck provides maximum output to get the job done. The diesel option offers more towing power. However, note that the 2009 F-250 can be powered by the problematic 6.4L PowerStroke diesel engine. You may be better off choosing the gas option if you want long-term reliability.
These Super Duty trucks were more than just workhorses. It featured an interior and entertainment package that was a great leap forward compared to previous years.
Here are our picks for the best trim levels from the 2009 model year Ford F-250.
The 2009 model year F-250 still has no problem holding its value. This legendary F-250 and its diesel engine will still fetch a considerable amount. Finding one for $25,000 isn’t out of the question. However, you should probably look for it to net between $10,000 and $25,000, which is about the average price for gas and diesel trucks in the same category.
2011 Model Ford F-250 (3rd Generation)
Why They’re the Best
Ford started to feel some pressure from its rivals in 2011 as it faced stiff competition in the form of the Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram. The 2011 model year for the Ford F-250 was the first in the 3rd generation of Super Duty trucks.
It featured an upgraded engine lineup. The engine came either as the 6.8L gasoline V10 or the 6.7L V8 Power Stroke diesel. The 6.7L turbo diesel was built to replace the previous generation’s dismal 6.0L and 6.4L diesel engines. All trims in the US came with a 6-speed automatic. Because of the new powertrain lineup, the 2011 model turned out to be the dependable hauling and towing machine it was meant to be, with improved reliability to boot.
Critics also praised its ride comfort and pegged it among the best in its class. The previous model year boasted a quiet and softer ride but the 2011 model year improved upon that.
Here are our picks for the best trim levels from the 2011 model year Ford F-250.
The used 2011 F-250 has a wide range of pricing options, primarily because of this model’s variety of trims. Whether you choose the Power Stroke or the gas-powered F-250, you’re looking at a price between $15,000 and $35,000.
2020 Model Year F-250 (4th Generation)
Why They’re the Best
The 2020 model year proved that new F-250 generations could keep up with previous Ford F-250 diesel trucks. The 2020 model year marked a “refresh” for the 4th generation of Super Duty trucks. The earlier years of the 4th gen had some recall-worthy faults, but the 2020 model has been spared from significant issues thus far.
It received a new 7.3L gasoline engine. Nicknamed “Godzilla,” the massive gas engine put out 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 F-250 can also be had with the 6.7L Power Stroke. The diesel engine has been upgraded to generate 475 horsepower and a massive 1,050 lb-ft of torque. The diesel came in with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission.
Of course, being one of the more recent models, the diesel engines in these F-250s aren’t the only highlight. Technology and entertainment features are highly generous, ensuring you stay connected and keep your F-250 dialed in.
Here are our picks for the best trim levels from the 2020 model year Ford F-250.
If you’re looking for a used Ford F-250, deciding where to start is the first step. Choosing the configuration that matches your demands gives you the best insight into how much to set aside to budget for a 2020 F-250. Depending on what end of the spectrum, a used model F-250 ranges anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000.
The Best F-250 Years Are Yet to Come
As always, there’s always a degree of subjectivity to what is “the best.”
What’s great about Super Duty trucks is its selection of engines that are built for moving stuff. A standard gasoline version is probably best suited for your needs if you’re looking for a daily driver. The diesel engines, thanks to their massive torque outputs are preferable for work. Just beware of the 6.0L and 6.4L PowerStroke diesel engines found in 2003 to 2010 Super Duty trucks.
In the end, the best F-250 for you depends on what scope of the job you’re looking to accomplish. It’s always reasonable to find a truck that meets your needs. Deciding whether you need more cosmetic highlights and technology and entertainment amenities or just a rugged, dependable workhorse with tons of hauling power will help you decide which years and trim fit you best.