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Ford F-650/F-750 Repeats Medium-Duty Truck of the Year Win

April 2017, Work Truck - Cover Story

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

The F-650/F-750 GVWR range starts at 20,500 pounds for the F-650 Pro Loader up to 29,000 pounds for the F-650 straight frame. The F-750 goes from 30,200 pounds to 37,000 pounds, equivalent to Class 8 capabilities. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)
The F-650/F-750 GVWR range starts at 20,500 pounds for the F-650 Pro Loader up to 29,000 pounds for the F-650 straight frame. The F-750 goes from 30,200 pounds to 37,000 pounds, equivalent to Class 8 capabilities. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)

For the second consecutive year, the Ford F-650/F-750 was named Work Truck’s Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by our readers from a field of nine trucks. In the 10 years the award has now been presented, this marks the fifth overall win for Ford.

In voting for the award, professional fleet managers were asked to consider which of the nine competing trucks best fit their fleet requirements, including application effectiveness, durability, quality, servicing, maintenance, and lifecycle costs.

“Our customers demand the most capable, dependable vehicles that get the job done and we strive to meet and exceed those expectations,” said John Ruppert, Ford general manager, commercial vehicle sales and marketing. “Winning the prestigious Work Truck magazine Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award for the second straight year is confirmation that we are doing our job to give customers what they need. Customers have embraced Ford medium-duty trucks as is evident by 2016 sales of F-650 and F-750 being at their highest level since 1997.”

Optimizing Vocational Fleets

The F-650 and F-750 lineup includes Regular Cab, SuperCab, and Crew Cab body styles, as well as straight-frame, kick-up frame Pro Loader, and a dedicated tractor model for special towing applications. As evidenced by its consecutive wins, the trucks are growing in popularity across many segments.

“Customers are embracing our new medium-duty trucks,” said John Scholtes, Ford chief program engineer, commercial vehicles. “They appreciate how flexible the platform is — we offer a choice of gasoline or diesel powertrain, three body styles, a wide GVWR range, and almost limitless customization options to let them spec exactly the right trucks for even the toughest jobs.”

The F-650/F-750 GVWR range starts at 20,500 pounds with the F-650 Pro Loader, and can go up to 29,000 pounds for the F-650 straight frame. The F-750 starts at 30,200 pounds and goes up to 37,000 pounds, which is equivalent to Class 8 capabilities. Chassis height for the F-650 Pro Loader is 33.6 inches with standard 19.5-inch wheels. The higher, F-650 straight frame model offers a 39.4-inch chassis height with 22.5-inch wheels.

“We’re seeing growing interest in the tractor from beverage and hauling fleets,” said Kevin Koester, Ford medium-duty truck and Super Duty fleet marketing manager. “Giving our customers the choice of two exclusive powertrains, available across all body styles and designed specifically for the unique needs of the vocational truck market, has really helped drive sales of our new trucks.”

Koester noted towing and rental customers have embraced the gasoline engine and others are looking at this powertrain for more severe service applications.

Cox Communications has also found success with the Ford medium-duty trucks.

“One thing we really like about Ford F-650/F-750 trucks is the flexibility they offer. We can easily upfit them for a wide range of applications, from the CNG box trucks we use for warehouse transportation in our Cox Communications division to the flatbed tow trucks we use to move vehicles to-and-from auction locations for our Cox Automotive Manheim Auction division,” said Jim Bigelow, senior fleet director for Cox Enterprises.
Ford worked closely with leading body upfitters to create a clean cab-to-axle chassis for vocational bodies with no modifications necessary. Updates were made to the fuel tanks, wiring harnesses, and diesel exhaust fluid reservoirs, which are now located under the cab instead of on the frame behind the cab.

The 2017 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award was presented to John Ruppert, Ford general manager, commercial vehicle sales and marketing (left) and John Scholtes, Ford chief program engineer, commercial vehicles (right) by Lauren Fletcher, executive editor of WT. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)
The 2017 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award was presented to John Ruppert, Ford general manager, commercial vehicle sales and marketing (left) and John Scholtes, Ford chief program engineer, commercial vehicles (right) by Lauren Fletcher, executive editor of WT. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)

Going by the Numbers

Ford sold more medium-duty trucks in 2016 than in any year since 1997. In 2016, its first full calendar year of sales since production began at Ohio Assembly Plant in August 2015, Ford F-650 and F-750 sales were up 54% year-over-year, with total sales of 15,486 vehicles, according to the automaker.

The class-exclusive 6.8L gasoline V-10 with 320 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque is available for both F-650 and F-750 models with the Ford-built TorqShift HD 6-speed automatic transmission.

Ford is also the only medium-duty truck manufacturer that designs and builds its own diesel engine and transmission combination. The 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 turbo diesel delivers best-in-class standard 270 hp and 675 lb.-ft. of torque, plus available engine outputs of 300 hp with 700 lb.-ft. of torque and 330 hp with 725 lb.-ft. of torque. The diesel engine and transmission are backed by a standard five-year/250,000-mile limited warranty.

For fleets that operate a snowplow, aerial lift, hydraulic hoist, pump, or other power equipment, the Ford-built TorqShift HD 6-speed transmission offers an available power take-off (PTO) provision when paired to either the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V-8 or the 6.8L Triton gasoline V-10. The diesel engine is capable of cranking out 300 lb.-ft. of stationary torque and 200 lb.-ft. of mobile torque. Diesel models can accommodate split-shaft PTO applications, as well. The gasoline engine provides 250 lb.-ft. of stationary torque and 125 lb.-ft. of mobile torque.

In addition, F-650/F-750 tractor models are applicable for vocational special towing applications such as beverage delivery. The highly flexible tractor is capable of hooking up to various trailer sizes. The tractor is available in the F-650 model with GVWRs from 27,500 to 29,000 pounds and in the F-750 from 30,200 to 37,000 pounds. The powertrain is the Ford-built Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V-8 with TorqShift HD 6-speed automatic and offers three power ratings: 270 hp/675 lb.-ft. of torque, 300 hp/700 lb.-ft. of torque, and 330 hp/725 lb.-ft. of torque.

Testing in Rough Conditions

The 2017-MY Ford F-650/F-750 trucks are so tough that developmental vehicles were autonomously driven by robots to limit human driver exposure to punishing driving conditions. These procedures included thousands of miles of extremely rough roads simulating gravel washboards, ruts, and several potholes in paved roads, representing the worst on-road conditions. Testing also included several thousand body and frame twists and severe cobblestones placed in a pattern to provide intensive rough-road output. 

Looking Inside

Ford F-650/F-750 truck models may be meant for heavy-duty work, but they feature all the creature comforts for happy, and safe, drivers.

All models are available with a wide range of standard and available front seating configurations, including seats with fixed-spring and air-ride suspension designs. These include a two-passenger front seat, with a 30% driver bucket and a 30% passenger bench and a 40/20/40 split front seat. Rear seating in the SuperCab is a 60/40 flip-up cushion rear bench seat while the Crew Cab offers a 60/40 flip-up cushion/fold-down backrest rear bench.

For diesel models, Ford now offers available Operator-Commanded Regeneration. Some operating conditions, such as light load deliveries or lengthy idling times, don’t generate enough engine heat to allow for normal automatic diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration to occur. When the need for manual regeneration approaches, a push of a button raises the exhaust temperature to burn away accumulated soot in the DPF, reverting to normal exhaust temps when the burn-off is completed.

Finally, Ford also offers Ford Telematics powered by Telogis for enhanced fleet management. 

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