Adaptive steering technology that can vary the amount of steering input needed to turn the front wheels is not new, but Ford feels it is underused, given the popularity of electric power steering (versus the older hydraulic type) that makes it easy to implement in new vehicles.
Putting its money where its mouth is, Ford is first to bring adaptive steering to North America's competitive pickup truck market, in the 2017 F-Series Super Duty, as well as expanding its availability in the Canada-built Edge crossover.
The Super Duty may not be as popular as the standard F-150, but it's arguably more likely to be used for hauling and towing big loads, and that's the kind of situation where Ford thinks its new adaptive steering might prove most useful.
The idea behind adaptive steering is to reduce the number of twists of the steering wheel required to turn the front wheels at low speeds -- to make low-speed maneuvering easier -- while slowing steering response at higher vehicle speeds for "more relaxed, precise and smoother" responses, which can improve vehicle stability in highway driving.
And for those Super Duty drivers who do tow, the truck's tow/haul transmission mode includes a specific setting for the steering conceived for better control of truck and trailer.
Ford's Super Duty trucks are the second of the company's models to get adaptive steering, which debuted in 2016 on the Ford Edge Sport and is also available in Titanium trim. Ford says it has been awarded eight patents for its new steering tech, and has filed 11 others.