This is deliberate. Ford could’ve designed its new big-bore gasoline truck engine to any size it wanted, but it chose to give each cylinder a 4.22-inch bore and a 3.98-inch stroke. Cylinder volume multiplied by eight gives you 445 cubic inches of displacement or, more to the point, 7.3 liters. Which happens to be the displacement of Ford’s first direct-injected and turbocharged diesel V-8, the filthy and indestructible 7.3 Powerstroke from the 1990s and early 2000s. Those torque ogres were basically Navistar bus engines that laughed sooty smoke rings at the burdens presented by mere pickup trucks. Plenty of them racked up round-trip-to-the-moon mileage, and the phrase “seven point three” remains an incantation that fills F-series Super Duty fans with the warm and fuzzies. Ford is sorry not sorry if truck buyers develop a deep and inexplicable belief that its new V-8 is similarly immortal. You know, another eight cubic centimeters per cylinder and it would’ve been a 7.4. But it’s not.

This new pushrod 7.3-liter V-8 replaces Ford’s overhead-cam 6.8-liter V-10, an engine that sounded like a sick hippo and was even less fun to be around. With a 90-degree V, a forged steel crank, a cast-iron block, and aluminum heads, the 7.3 isn’t exactly a radical design. But it does embrace hot-rodding best practices. Check out those exhaust manifolds, which look an awful lot like headers. On the intake side, you can see straight into the air filter, above our F-250 example’s passenger-side headlight, and from there it’s a short trip to the bundle-of-snakes intake manifold. This thing looks like it’s got a healthy set of lungs, an impression confirmed by a surprisingly zingy (for a gigantic truck engine) 5800-rpm fuel cutoff. Horsepower is 430 at 5500 rpm, with 475 pound-feet of torque cresting at 4000 rpm.

Jeremy M. LangeCar and Driver

Don’t let that latter figure lead you to think the 7.3 needs a lot of revs to do its job. Fortified by variable valve timing, this big V-8 heaves out more than 400 pound-feet of torque from 1500 rpm until the threshold of the fuel cutoff—as distinct from the indicated redline, which begins at a fanciful 6000 rpm. We towed two different trailers ranging from 4000 to 5000 pounds, and the 7.3 was supremely unbothered by either, loafing at less than 2000 rpm with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission in top gear as if the truck wasn’t lugging five or six tons of gross combined vehicle weight. Maybe if you were approaching the 7.3’s max tow rating (21,200 pounds for a dual-rear-wheel F-350 pulling a gooseneck trailer), you might not get into 10th gear quite as often.

That 10-speed transmission is part of the reason why Super Duty buyers will be awfully tempted to pay $1705 for the big-block upgrade. While the base 6.2-liter F-250 isn’t exactly a weakling (385 horsepower, 430 pound-feet), it’s hamstrung by a six-speed automatic in Lariat and below models. Ante up for the 7.3, drop another $390 for 4.30:1 axle gears, and you’ve got a leviathan of an F-250 that can downright scamper. And it sounds good doing it, issuing a bassy V-8 roar that requires no digital enhancement from the sound system. The 7.3 upgrade is also $8450 less expensive than the Super Duty’s optional 6.7-liter turbo-diesel, which is a sizeable savings for buyers who don’t need to move entire mountains in one go.

The downside of the 7.3, as you may expect, will be felt every time you fill its fuel tank, which is either 34 gallons or 48 gallons, depending on the truck’s wheelbase. We generally assume onboard fuel-economy computers will fudge their numbers upward, but if that’s the case here, then the 7.3 could use an umbilical cord connected to a tanker truck. While towing, we saw an indicated 8 to 9 mpg, and that figure didn’t improve much without a trailer—we’re talking 12 mpg. The truck in question, a crew cab, four-wheel-drive F-250 with a 160.0-inch wheelbase, also weighs about 6850 pounds with all the options. Yikes. We did get 14 mpg on the highway in an F-350, though.

Commercial vehicles—your dump trucks and shuttle buses—get a detuned commercial version of the 7.3 that makes 350 horsepower and 468 pound-feet. For those of you thinking, “Well, that’s still enough for epic U-Haul burnouts,” we have sad news. The E-series van, the ancient foundation beneath many a box truck and RV, gets either the commercial tune or lamest possible version of the 7.3, an economy special that ekes out only 300 horsepower and 425 pound-feet. We can guess which one you’re going to find doing its work under Mom’s Attic.

That 425 pound-feet of torque figure also happens to be the exact same amount of twist that the 7.3 Powerstroke produced in 1994, its debut year. Coincidence? We think not.



2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3-liter


front-engine, rear- or rear/4-wheel-drive, 3–6-passenger, 2- or 4-door pickup


XL, $37,775; XLT, $42,555; Lariat, $50,670; King Ranch, $63,075; Platinum, $69,965


pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection

445 in3, 7298 cm3

430 hp @ 5500 rpm

475 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm


10-speed automatic


Wheelbase: 141.6–176.0 in

Length: 231.8–266.2 in

Width: 80.0 in

Height: 78.9–81.5 in

Passenger volume: 69–136 ft3

Curb weight (C/D est): 5800–6850 lb


60 mph: 7.0–7.5 sec

1/4 mile: 15.4–15.7 sec

Top speed: 95 mph

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