Ford announced today pricing for its Adaptive Steering option on the next-generation 2017 Super Duty lineup of trucks. This technology is a “must have” in my opinion after experiencing it at a recent Built Ford Tough event.
Why is it a “must have?” The steering feature basically takes the full-size truck and makes it turn more like a smaller SUV. This reduces driver strain and makes the large trucks MUCH easier to drive for all drivers. It is so impressive actually, one wonders when (not IF) the competitors will develop similar technology. Frankly, this technology demonstrates why Ford remains the truck leader.
Pricing for this feature is $685 for the XLT grade and up. It comes standard on the Platinum trim.
Here is a video showcasing the feature:
Technically the system uses vehicle speeds sensors and steering wheel angle sensors working in conjunction with a small electrical motor, small computer and a gear unit inside the steering wheel. These parts work to add more steering angle based on the vehicle speed and if you use the Tow/Haul mode, it adapts the steering to handle the load.
This system helps aid the driver at both low and speeds. When driving slowly, the steering wheel turns up to 30 percent more to make low-speed steering much easier. On the highway, the system reduces the assistance to smooth out the handling and control.
“At high speeds, the ratio is changed in such a way that vehicle response is more relaxed, more precise, and smoother than without the system,” Lodewijk Wijffels, Ford adaptive steering technical specialist said in a press release.
Ford says this system bucks the industry trend of using fixed steering gear ratios. These systems are a compromise between low and high speed handling and steering with both driving situations requiring different driver input. If you set it up to steer wonderfully at low speeds, you will have a tendency to over steer at high speeds. The opposite applies if you set it up to handle well at high speeds, it will suffer from under steering.
The Super Duty trucks are the second Ford vehicle to use this technology with the Ford Edge being the first. I also recently drove that vehicle and found, like I did with the trucks, it makes the vehicle drive like a smaller version of it. In the case of the Edge, it drives more like a car than a SUV.
This system has been awarded eight patents and 11 more have been filed. Consumers can find 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks on dealer lots right now.