By Mike Caudill
Driven PR President/CEO
The year 2013 was interesting for me. I can't tell you the exact day, week or time of year that I made this decision, but at some point I decided I wanted to go back to my roots and buy a pickup truck. Having spent 12 years in sedans navigating the concrete jungles of Los Angeles, I simply felt the urge to own a truck. With two kids, a dog, a travel trailer and a boat, our Chevy Tahoe people-mover simply wasn't cutting it. I needed more.
Fast forward to today. I can tell you, without question, the single best vehicle purchase I have made is my 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty. Before deciding on the F-250, I polled my friends and family on their favorite trucks. Their suggestions were all over the map, but what I needed was a utilitarian daily driver. I wanted to be able to throw stuff in the back, tow without issue and take it off-road occasionally. So, when it came time to buy, there were two that kept bubbling up in front of me. I was on the fence between the Ford F-250 and the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty. They both looked strong and from a towing capacity were just about equal, but what tipped it for me was that the interior of the F-250. It really blew me away. The Lariat trim is incredible, and at times you forget you are in a pickup. Overall, the F-250 simply felt more like me.
I use this truck daily to travel to and from the office, but when the weekend hits this truck truly goes to work. The pulling capacity and off-road capabilities are what makes this truck awesome. Our trailer weighs roughly 9,000 pounds when fully loaded, and we mainly do two-week family trips into the mountains. With the truck's 6.7-liter Power Stroke, I sometimes forget we are even pulling a trailer because the motor is so powerful.
Although I bought the truck stock, and it literally did everything I asked it to do, it didn't really look aggressive enough for me in its stock form. So I made some "performance" modifications to personalize it and to give it better climbing capabilities off-road. I appreciate this, as it's no longer a "city truck." On weekends during the winter months, we take this truck out to the desert and either do rock crawling or all-out Baja-style desert cruising. The kids and family love it. You don't realize how much a few modifications will change a truck's personality until you take it out for a run.
Not to get too technical, but having the Carli Suspension setup does greatly improve the off-road handling. It was a hard choice as to which system to go with, but I'm happy with the results. I also wanted bigger tires, so 37-inchers were the right choice; but combine the bigger rubber with the heavier suspension and you do need to be aware that your mileage will drop. However, off-road the Toyo Open Country M/Ts grip better than any other tire I have had before and they look sharp.
I won't be doing any further modifications on the truck in the near future but I will say this: We're keeping the stock wheels and tires in the garage for those long travel trips with the family to save some money at the pump. I love my 37s for off-road performance, but I need to be practical too. Thankfully, my truck lets me do that.