There’s no doubt about it, the Ford F-250 is built for hard work. It’s hugely popular in the United States, but why don’t we see droves of Ford F250’s in Australia?
In this article, we do a 2020 F250 Review for Australia. We’ll take a look at the specs, towing, GVM & price.
We are the land of the 1-tonne ute! You’d think the F-series would be the perfect fit given we are a ute nation. Currently, in 2021 so far, the Ford Ranger is the second top-selling vehicle in the country, next to the Toyota Hilux. Isn’t that enough proof that there is a market? There are even body kits to convert the Ford Ranger to look more like the F-150 Raptor!
Ford still doesn’t make right-hand drive (RHD) models off the factory floor, so to purchase an F150 or an F250 ready for the road, you’ll need to have it imported and custom converted by a third party.
With the exchange rates, taxes and conversion fees, you’re looking at spending over 145k+ AUD for a base model F250 and 157k+ for a middle-range model, which is a hefty price compared to most 4WDs on the market. And almost double what you would pay in the US.
Even with the premium price, the F250 has some exciting specs which could still come in handy for many hard-working Aussies.
Quick Re-cap: Ford Pickup Trucks in Australia
Ford pickups have been a mainstay in the American pickup world and heavily relied on since their inception. Beginning with the Ford Model TT in 1917. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, Ford knew that a one-tonne was the way to go and had the market covered.
It’s been 87 years since the first Ford pickup graced the shores of the land down under. In the 21st century, F-Series pickups have become so much more and dare to reach luxury levels of craftsmanship. Combining the comforts of a luxury SUV with the practicality & capability of the original F-series and safety features such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot information system alerts.
What began as a request by a farmer’s wife to have a comfortable family truck to go to church in and a haul the pigs to market has turned into an all-out obsession with the American top-selling pickup.
Why aren’t F-Trucks in Australia?
Well, we can only speculate; perhaps Fords hesitation to produce Right Hand Drive F250’s & 150’s might be due to engineering and safety costs.
It could also be the lack of market demand, but it’s hard to understand why with the popularity of the Ranger platform and Mustang cars. Perhaps they don’t want to eat into the success of the Ranger? One thing is for sure; the F250 Australia market is tiny compared to the US.
Just to give you an idea how tiny, in 2020, the Ford Ranger sold 40,973 units countrywide for the Ford Company. While in the US, the F-150 sold 787,372 units in 2020! So, the US market is approximately 15x the size of the Australian market.
We know the Australian Ford team has been waving their hands to get the next F-150 as RHD from the factory floor to compete with Dodge Ram & Chevrolet Silverado, which both now have OEM conversion deals in the country. So let’s dive in and look at the cost of conversion, upgradability and performance of the latest Ford F250 in Australia.
Ford F250 Australia Models
The F-Trucks come in two different categories; the F150 is considered light-duty, and the F-250 is viewed as a part of the Super Duty range. The F-250, F-350 and F-450 are all categorised as Super Duty by Ford. These pickups come in all shapes & sizes to give the drivers maximum versatility based on their application.
The F-250 Super Duty comes in the following models:
- XL (Base)
- King Ranch
- Limited (Top Spec)
Most of them come in a Regular Cab (Single Cab), Super Cab (Extra Cab) & Crew Cab (Dual Cab). You can contact Ford for a Short Wheel Base (SWB) or Long Wheel Base (LWB) within most models.
Access to Models in Australia
The challenge in this country is finding an importer with access to the features you want. Since there isn’t an OEM Conversion agreement in place, to a degree, you may have to choose from either existing stock or see what the importer can source for you.
Hopefully, in the coming years, that might change, but nothing has been confirmed.
Ford F250 Specifications
For the F250 Crew Cab Lariat, the specifications are:
- Engine Type: 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel
- Power. 354 kW @ 5500 rpm.
- Torque. 1,423 Nm @ 4000 rpm
- 10-speed Automatic
- Towing: 3,500 kg (50mm Ball), 4,500 kg (70mm Ball)
- Payload: 1,032 kg
- GVM: 4,490 kg (Maximum on an Australian car license)
- GCM 9,000 kg
F250 Towing Capacity & License Restrictions in Australia:
The Ford F 250 Super Duty XLT can tow up to 6,667 kg in the US (more depending on the model & configuration) and has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) rating between 5 – 7 tonnes. They are built for heavy towing and off-road use.
However, in Queensland, a car driving license is limited to vehicles with a maximum GVM of 4,490 kg and a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) of 9,000 kg. So to drive an F250 on a Car license, the RHD conversion engineers will do what’s called a GVM downgrade to just under 4,490 kg to make it legal. Note: Other states may have other requirements.
This means the Towing Capacity for an F250 Super Duty would be:
9,000 kg – 4490 kg = 4500 kg.
So you are looking at a towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes, which is still 1 tonne more than most other utes on Aussie roads!
Recently we had to tow a Dual Cab Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series with our F250 back from Toowoomba.
This load was approximately 3.6 tonnes. The thing is, the standard fuel economy around town is about 13L/100km, while towing this at 100km/h, it was 15.2L/100km, so not a big difference! And the best part is, in 10th gear, the engine was just above idle at about 1300 RPM. You’d never see those numbers from a Land Cruiser. This thing is built to tow effortlessly.
The payload capacity differs from model to model as the Crew Cab Ford F 250 sits around 1032 kg while the regular cab boosts a jump to 1932 kg on a Ute license. Why Isn’t It More Popular?
With a larger bed and higher towing capacity, it’s hard to see a better fit for the Australian market given the demands of tradies, recreational touring enthusiasts.
So, we can only surmise that these larger American pickups are not as popular as they are in the US because of their economics. Things like:
- The unfavourable exchange rate
- The cost of Right Hand Drive conversion
- The rising cost of diesel for a 6.7L V8 power
- Perhaps even the size of the vehicle around our narrower inner-city streets
- Serviceability & parts accessibility in remote areas (e.g. Touring Australia)
Sadly, that leaves the Ford F 250 in all its forms and trim packages for a pretty niche market.
Is Size Really an Issue?
We’ve had our 2020 Ford F 250 Lariat Crew Cab for a few months now and realised that, yes, it is a big vehicle, but it still drives like a quick, nimble 4WD with little effort. It is very comfortable, and it has responsive steering, acceleration & braking. When towing a 4-tonne payload (our boat), the vehicle barely notices it.
Sure, it is bigger than the standard city car park, but we can always find alternative parks getting around town, it just requires some creative thinking now and then.
The people who buy this are unlikely to live in an inner-city area or even park this Ute in a standard lock-up garage. They are most likely to have a property with a large shed or annex for other machinery or equipment.
No doubt about it, the Ford F 250 fits a small niche of people willing to spend $160,000+ on an imported vehicle plus road costs, which is twice the price of a Ford Ranger but doesn’t tow or carry twice as much.
So if you have the budget confidence, why would you get this big Ute? Here are a few ideas that come to mind:
- Anyone who wants to tow more than 3500kg, as there aren’t many vehicles that fit the bill on a car license
- People in heavy industries who wish to have a tough, high strength V8 diesel motor
- People who need to use a Gooseneck trailer (horse floats or other)
- People who need a large bed to carry more than the euro sized utes we have
- People who love having space inside & outside the cab while having a sunroof
- People who love long-distance drives with comfort & space while towing
So it’s clear that you buy an F250 mainly for a purpose, not just as an everyday runabout with extra rear space to manage.
Upgrades & Modifications
The great thing about the Ford range is that you can easily make aftermarket upgrades, all the usual suspects like Tyres, Suspension, Underbody rust protection or a custom aluminium Tray in the rear so you can mount toolboxes, canopies for campers like the Trayon Camper.
While in America, the only restrictions are the confines of your imagination. Australians are a little more confined by rules & regulations. Advice says you should also consider parts availability for everything from general maintenance (annually about $1600) to new bells and whistles you might want to add.
There aren’t that many F-Truck importers, so the distance from the one you bought from may be a consideration for maintenance and warranty issues.
F250 Alternatives in Australia
So, other than American pickups, what alternatives do we have in our country with similar capabilities?
Iveco Daily 4×4 vs Ford F250
Well, you could always go to an actual truck like the Iveco Daily 4×4. This is a rugged, no-frills truck built for work with a Payload of 2.5 tonnes and Towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes (depending on the model) at a price between $111,000 – 120,000. So it is cheaper than the F-Truck.
The Iveco 4×4 only has a 3.0L 4cyl diesel engine putting out 430 Nm, compared to the F250’s mind-bending 6.7L V8 putting out over 1423 Nm! That’s over 2x the torque! It doesn’t quite meet the 4.5-tonne towing capacity of the F-Truck, but you get an extra tonne to carry for payload.
The Iveco is a very tall vehicle over 2.6m and lacks many creature comforts & driver assistance features in the F-truck.
Modified Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series vs Ford F250
If you wanted to have a capable off-road vehicle with few more creature comforts than an Iveco Daily, a popular option was to buy a 200 Series Landcruiser and get it converted to a dual cab – cab chassis ute with up to a 650mm chassis extension. Here we will compare the 300 series, although it is not officially in Australia yet, so prices of conversions may vary.
Although, hard to say what will happen with the new 300 series, which will replace the 200 series by the end of the year.
Going off the current prices of the 300 Series on the Toyota Website (subject to change), the Toyota Sahara Landcruiser starts at $143,904. The current cost of dual-cab, cab chassis conversion (for the 200 series, the 300 series pricing is yet to be established) currently begins just shy of $30k, or if you want to upgrade the GVM to the maximum 4,490 kg, you’d be looking at up to $48k without any accessories or a Tray.
So to have apples to apple comparison of the F-250 & the converted 300 series, you’d choose the maximum GVM upgrade + the base vehicle for a total cost of around $192k, which is higher than an F250 Super Duty Lariat Dual Cab, which starts at 157k.
Interesting side note: with the new 300 series coming out, there are two models higher than the Sahara that could further increase the price if you went that way.
Note: These prices do not include any 4WD accessories and are subject to change.
We also noticed as we were researching which one to buy, the 300 series is limited to a GCM at around 6850kg, so if you did increase the GVM to 4,490 kilograms and your driving are fully loaded, the maximum you could tow is 2350 kg (Towing = GCM – GVM). However, it’s highly dependent on your load.
On the other hand, the F250 has a GCM of 9000 kg, which gives you much more flexibility to tow up to 4500 kg (with a 70mm ball) while still being loaded.
The 300 series has a 10-speed 3.3L Twin-turbo V6, which produces 700 Nm and could average 10-13L/100km around town and 17 – 21L/100 while towing if it is similar to the 200 series.
Compare that to the F250, which has a 10-speed 6.7L V8 Turbo Diesel, which puts out a whopping 1,423 Nm and averages 13L/100km around town and 14-16L/100kms while towing.
We felt we got way more bang for our buck with the F250, and we are happy with it. We saved a decent amount of money and got a vehicle capable of towing more, very comfortable on the inside. We found the fuel efficiency & 4WD capability to be a non-issue for our purpose.
The Caveat of an F250 in Australia
There is one big caveat with the F250, and that is Parts & Service availability. The sparse availability of parts can make it challenging if you do a lot of 4WD touring and something breaks. In contrast, the 200/300 series has plenty of parts and service locations already established. So keep that in mind.
Competitors: Ford F250 vs Chevy Silverado 2500 VS Dodge Ram 2500
Of course, there are other (heavy-duty) HD American pickups available in Australia. However, they are all still affected by the same economics of non-factory RHD manufacturing.
But a couple of them are ahead of Ford in that they do have direct OEM deals with conversion facilities in the country.
In the meantime, here is some essential specifications side by side for the dual-cab diesel models with single wheel axles and similar trims that helped us identify which one to choose:
|Ford F 250 Lariat Crew Cab||Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ Crew Cab||Ram 2500 Laramie Crew Cab|
|Engine||6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel||6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 engine||6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine|
|Max Power||354 kW||332 kW||276 kW|
|Max Torque||1,423 Nm||1,234 Nm||1,152 Nm|
|Transmission||10-speed Automatic||6-speed Automatic||6-speed Automatic|
|Base Curb Weight||3458 kg||3387 kg||3660 kg|
|GCM||Car License: 9000 kg Truck License: 10886 kg||Car License: 9000 kg Truck License: 11793 kg||Car License: 9000 kg Truck License: 9752 kg|
|GVM||Car License: 4490 kg Truck License: 4898 kg||Car License: 4490 kg Truck License: 4694 kg||Car License: 4490 kg Truck License: 4536 kg|
|Towing||Car License: 4500 kg Truck License: 6804 kg||Car License: 4500 kg Truck License: 6577 kg||Car License: 4500 kg Truck License: 6423 kg|
|Payload||1032 kg||875 kg||835 kg|
*Note: Pricing and specs vary, this is just a rough guide from our experience & research. Also, we found some data inconsistencies, so if you need clarification be sure to call the dealers with your questions.
American Pickup Trucks: A Common Misconception in Australia
There seems to be a common misconception about these big pickup trucks in Australia; we assume that because it’s physically a bigger ute, it can carry heavier loads (i.e. bigger payload). Well, that’s not true because we are limited to the GVM of 4490 kg on the car license. Bigger means heavier kerb weight which chews up the maximum allowable GVM and the same goes for the aforementioned Iveco Daily.
You’ll notice that the F-250 has the highest payload of the HD Pickup trucks at about 1 tonne, which is comparable to most utes in Australia, but not necessarily the highest. While the Silverado 2500 & the Ram 2500 have less than 1 tonne.
We think the reason the F-250 has a better payload is in part thanks to its aluminum body panels giving it a bigger payload off the showroom floor.
All three vehicles pass the test of towing over 4.5 tonnes, but you are capped at towing 4.5 tonnes without a truck license due to Australian licensing. Just keep in mind if you do register the vehicle as a Truck, that only licensed truck drivers can drive it.
Why we chose the F250 over the others
We found that the Ford F250 (from a spec’s perspective) outperformed the Silverado 2500 & the Ram 2500 in power, torque & payload. The price was competitive, and we needed a vehicle with a payload north of 1-tonne.
No doubt about it, the F250 is a towing powerhouse. Its 6.7L turbocharged V8 puts out over 1400 Nm of torque, which is almost two times as much as most utes on our road.
If you need to tow over 3500 kg up to 4500 kg on a standard car license, you don’t have many options except for yank tanks.
We chose our F250 Crew Cab Lariat because it tows 4.5 tonnes off the factory floor, no worries. It passes the test with 1 tonne on the back, and it is very comfortable inside with all the mod cons. We found during our research that it outpaced the Silverado 2500 & the Ram 2500, while also outpacing alternatives like the Iveco Daily 4×4 & a custom converted Dual Cab Landcruiser 300 Series.
The one big challenge with the F250 is parts & service availability in Australia.It’s the type of vehicle you purchase for a purpose, not your everyday runabout.
Quite quickly, we have become accustomed to driving this ute around town when we need to stop and get supplies.
It would be nice if Ford decided to check the box and create Right-Hand Drive versions for Ute-centered markets like Australia. That would help make them more affordable and accessible for people who tow big, where budget is the limiting factor.
*Note all information gathered was as of 10AUG21 and is subject to change.