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Ford F-250 Amarillo a brightly colored beast

March 10, 2006|By TIM SPELL / MOTOR NEWS MEDIA

Packed parking lots brought out positives and negatives about the 2006 Ford F-250 Amarillo Special Edition test pickup, which spent a great deal of time battling big-city traffic. Operating this truck in the city is a common scenario for a pickup built to be seen, although it's more at home on a ranch or the open road.

Maneuvering the 245.6-inch-long Super Duty Crew Cab 4x4 through the tight, crowded lots was tedious ? especially when trying to gracefully work my way into or back out of the slips.

On the other hand, riding tall in its captain's chair provided a commanding view over the smaller vehicles buzzing below. Since the truck stands 80 inches tall and is painted in eye-grabbing Blazing Yellow clearcoat, it is easy to find parked in a sea of sheet metal.

Among the list of extras making an Amarillo a special vehicle, its paint color is the highlight. Splashed on the hulking Super Duty, this bright yellow turns heads. Some like it and others mockingly shield their eyes from the glare.

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This is a flashy pickup, with the Amarillo Package adding $2,030 to the $32,460 price of a top-line Lariat Crew Cab, upon which it's based. The two-plus grand provides other attractions that team with the paint. For those not knowing exactly what kind of special-edition beast you're driving, bold red lettering, arranged in an arc at the rear of the cargo-box sides, announces it's an "Amarillo 4x4."

Brightness and distinction come in other forms, too. The standard wheels are special polished-forged-aluminum 18 inchers ringed with eight holes. Pushing the head-turning meter even higher, the tester is fitted with optional ($1,245) polished-forged-aluminum five-spoke 20 inchers, wrapped in LT275/64R-20 tires.

Up front, the chrome grille is complemented by a distinctive chrome-and-body-color front bumper, and chrome tow hooks.

Chrome is flashed at the sides via 5-inch tubular step bars, much needed for the tall 4x4, and caps on the large, extended side mirrors. Adding to the custom look are body-color door handles and wheel-lip molding.

At the rear, the Amarillo sports a chrome bumper and chrome exhaust tip. Measuring 4 inches in diameter, the exhaust outlet looks like a small howitzer barrel. This indicates the pipe is connected to something formidable at the other end.

Opting for the Amarillo Package requires the Super Duty be fitted with 6-liter Power Stroke Diesel V-8 ($5,300), partnered with a TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission ($1,490). This workhorse powerplant delivers 325 horsepower at 3,300 rpm and, more importantly, 570 lbs.-ft. of stump-jerking torque at 2,000 rpm.

It's a tossup whether the noise of the diesel or blinding yellow paint will draw attention first. In fairness, diesel clatter is present but it isn't obnoxious. It's music to the ears of consumers serious about pickup muscle.

Inside, the big cab is tolerably insulated from the engine noise, and provides considerable civility. In the world of monster 4x4 pickups, the ride of this Super Duty is outstanding.

Its generous-sized captain's chairs are comfortable and benefit from the Amarillo Package's black leather upholstery with "AMARILLO" embossed into the backrests with red stitching.

Other Amarillo accents include the logo stamped onto the bottom of the speedometer, which is small in diameter but features large, easy-to-read numbers. The distinctiveness of the pickup also is emphasized by a chrome-and-red badge, about the size of an average cowboy belt buckle, tacked to the leather-wrapped center console lid. It identifies the truck as being an "AMARILLO SPECIAL EDITION." Other accents include brushed-aluminum door panel and instrument panel trim, and ebony-colored scuff plates.

Keeping the climate just right is accomplished with an efficient electronic automatic temperature control system. Passengers seated in the rear Flex Fold 60/40-split bench are conveniently provided blasts of fresh air through a power sliding rear window. Adding to the tester's fun and function is a power sliding/tilt moonroof, which tacks $995 to the price tag.

Not even at high noon can enough sun blast through the roof to help the cab environment match the radiance of the yellow blazing from the Amarillo's eye-grabbing exterior.

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