The Ford F-650 was named Work Truck magazine’s 2020 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year. And, this back-to-back win marks the seventh time the automaker was named No. 1 by Work Truck readers.
“It is an honor to accept the Medium-Duty Truck of the Year Award for the Built Ford Tough F-650 chassis cab," said Mark Buzzell, director, Ford North American Fleet, Lease, and Remarketing Operations. "This award has special significance to us because we know the winning truck is selected by the folks who rely on it to get their jobs done. They vote for the truck they can count on to perform day in and day out, to stand up to whatever they put it through and then come back for more the next day."
Selected from a field of 18 contenders, Work Truck readers chose the Ford F-650 as the truck that best fit their fleet requirements, including application effectiveness, durability, quality, servicing, maintenance, and lifecycle costs.
“The fact that fleet managers have chosen Ford trucks to win this award more times than any other manufacturer tells us that our dedication to building and consistently improving our powertrains and trucks is paying off where it matters — at work for our customers,” Buzzell added.
With a GVWR range of 22,000 to 37,000 pounds and top GCWR of 50,000 pounds, Ford Medium Duty trucks are used in a wide range of vocational applications, including beverage and propane delivery, car transport, construction, utility, towing, moving, fire and rescue. It is common to see them upfitted as dump trucks, shuttles, wreckers, mechanics trucks, and aerial vehicles.
Ford is unique in the Class 6-7 conventional chassis cab segment as the only OEM that builds, calibrates, tests, and supports its engines and transmissions. The Ford F-650 can be serviced by more than 650 Ford Commercial Vehicle Center dealers across the United States.
“Our customers never have to worry about where to take their F-650 trucks for service,” said Nathan Oscarson, Ford commercial truck brand manager. “Knowing that service and support are as close as their local Ford Commercial Vehicle Center dealer provides maximum uptime and peace of mind for fleet owners.”
Ford is also the only automaker offering the choice of a diesel or gasoline powertrain in the segment.
Real-world fleets have taken notice. Sunbelt Rentals operates a fleet of 10,700 vehicles, excluding trailers. The Charlotte, N.C.-headquartered company specializes in nationwide tool and equipment rentals.
A little more than 600 of these vehicles are Ford F-650 trucks. These trucks are used in Sunbelt’s rental fleet with water tanks, dump bodies, and traffic safety attenuators. They are also used in the company’s delivery fleet equipped with box bodies, flatbeds, and rollbacks.
“The option for a gas engine almost eliminates the unscheduled maintenance and cost experienced with all brands of diesel engine aftertreatment and exhaust systems. Ford’s service network also makes it relatively easy to find a shop when maintenance is required,” said Eric Jahnsen, CTP, director, Transportation Fleet for Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. “The all-Ford powertrain eliminates the experience of being passed back and forth between the chassis shop and the engine shop. And, to top it off, the turning radius is near the top of the class.”
F-650 Powertrain Details
The current model-year 2021 F-650 and F-750 trucks are available with a choice of the third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 or available all-new 7.3L gasoline V-8. The diesel engine has a standard power rating of 270 hp/700 lb.-ft. of torque. Also available are 300 hp/725 lb.-ft. or 330 hp/750 lb.-ft.
The class-exclusive gasoline engine features an overhead valve architecture that generates power low in the rev range to help get heavier loads moving sooner with greater confidence. It produces 350 hp/468 lb.-ft.
Both engines are mated to the Ford TorqShift HD 6-speed automatic with available live-drive power take-off (PTO) provision that includes stationary and mobile modes for diesel and gas engines.
An output PTO gear connects directly to the transmission’s torque converter impeller hub to allow Live Drive to power the PTO anytime the engine is running, whether the truck is moving or stopped.
On diesel models, the split-shaft capability allows fleets to install a SplitShaft Gearbox attached to the output shaft of the transmission, which provides torque to two separate PTO outlets for the ability to power two different accessories when the truck is in stationary mode.
The Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks and tractors are built in America at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.
Alt-Fuels & Air Power
For fleets looking for an alternative fuel option, Ford is offering a gaseous fuel prep package for the new 7.3L V-8 gasoline engine in several current model-year trucks and vans, including the Ford F-650.
The package includes upgraded valvetrain components to withstand higher operating temperatures and lower lubricity of gaseous fuels so the vehicle can be converted by a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to run on CNG or propane.
Looking further into the future, an integrated air compressor will be available for the 7.3L engine for the first time in next year’s Ford Medium Duty trucks. The compressor can be used to power air brakes, air suspension, and other accessories such as air horns or air ride seats. Currently, air brakes are only available on diesel-powered trucks.
“We expect this new offering to be popular in several vocational segments including propane delivery, municipalities, utilities, and tree service,” Oscarson explained. “Many customers have told us they’d like to take advantage of the cost savings provided by a gas truck, but they also want the stopping power of air brakes.”
Model-year 2022 Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks go on sale this fall.
Updated Tech & Connectivity
Connectivity is increasingly important for work truck fleets. Operators of the F-650 can rest assured they’ll stay connected with standard modems with 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices.
New Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services are also available on the medium-duty model to help enhance uptime and asset utilization, optimize running costs, improve driver behavior, and protect fleets. They can be used with Ford OEM-grade telematics software, integrate with a company’s existing telematics service provider, or take vehicle data directly into the fleet’s IT system.
A single traffic accident can have a serious impact on the drivers and passengers involved, as well as a fleet’s bottom line. Automatic emergency braking can help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions in some cases. Standard on Ford’s 2020 Transit vans, this safety tech is available across the rest of Ford’s commercial vehicle lineup, including the F-650.
New driver-assist technology that’s standard on model-year 2021 F-650 medium-duty trucks includes traction control, hill start assist, and auto headlamps. Optional elements include adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, lane departure warning, Driver Alert System, and auto high-beam headlamps.
The Bottom Line
Now in its 13th year, Work Truck’s Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award honors the hardest-working Class 3-7 truck, as determined by fleet manager readers.
“Ford’s F-650 Super Duty is a hardworking truck and incredibly deserving of the 2020 Medium-Duty Truck of the year award. This is truly a fleet-focused award, with our Work Truck readers naming Ford No. 1 in 2020,” said Sherb Brown, publisher of Work Truck magazine and president of Bobit Business Media.