Ford F250/350 XLT Crew Cab Review

By: Joe Kenwright

Future Classic: Ford F250/350 XLT crew cab. Can a big pick-up make it in the classic world? Absolutely!

Ford F250/350 XLT Crew Cab Review
Ford F250/350 XLT crew cab


Ford F250/350 XLT Crew Cab

In his race to restore what Ford once stood for in Australia, the late Geoff Polites launched the first factory RHD F-series in almost 10 years, late in 2001. Hot on the wheels of the locally-engineered RHD Mustang Cobra, the new Brazilian-built F250/F350 range (with Aussie input) still basks in the glow of what was the start of another golden era in Ford history.

After the locally-built F-series was withdrawn in '92, it left a huge gap and a cult-following for RHD F-series' of any year. The new 21-model F250/F350 range drove straight into immediate and widespread acceptance. Buyers had a choice of the latest 5.4-litre SOHC petrol V8 with 194kW/475Nm - shared with the equally new Explorer and later Falcons - or the big-hearted 7.3-litre V8 turbodiesel (175kW and a stump-pulling 684Nm). A relatively simple four-speed automatic was the only transmission at top-line XLT Crew Cab level.

Because the diesel is less susceptible to fuel variations and expensive repairs of latest common-rail designs, its extra fuel usage is less of an issue. Yet old technology forced its local withdrawal by 2007 as Euro IV emissions laws came in, leaving unfilled demand.

Buyers of the XLT Crew Cab diesel could opt for the F250 4x4 pick-up with its modest 1026kg payload or the beefed-up F350 4x2 cab-chassis version and 2000kg payload. Although several smaller one-tonners can carry more, the F250 XLT 4x4 Crew Cab diesel with its style, massive towing capacity, sprawling space for five occupants, huge luggage space, effortless long-distance cruising and smooth ride make it the prize for anyone with expensive and heavy hobbies attached to the tow bar.

Despite claims of being engineered from the ground-up for RHD, the range was still compromised by a column shift and blinkers on the wrong side, and an offset drivetrain that left the driver's footwell tighter than the passenger's. Another factory RHD F-series is now unlikely as the big new Australian-designed Ford Ranger more than caters for those other RHD markets needed to make a new RHD F-series viable.

Used prices for mint, low-kay examples can still top the $77,400 new price as later LHD imports will soon exceed $100,000 after conversion. A strong X-factor, and factory RHD, also contribute. Because all local RHDs retained the plainer earlier styling, its cashed-up owners often add aftermarket US bits for extra bling - not always for the better. Those local 2005-07 models updated with the desirable 2005 US facelift retain more factory integrity critical to their value. As owners start to downsize, prices are thawing for the first time since 2007.

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