Very few vehicles in this class can match the Ford F-150’s breadth of ability.
Very few vehicles in this class can match the Ford F-150’s breadth of ability.
The Ford F-150 has long been the most popular automobile in the United States, and for good reason: it’s a stellar overall pick-up truck that anyone in the market for a new flat-bed should definitely consider. On top of faring well in terms of practicality and towing capacity, the Ford F-150 is also pretty good overall when it comes to interior space, refinement and fuel economy. In fact, all that holds the Ford F-150 back are some slightly hard interiors plastics and the firmer suspension setup. In summary, the Ford F-150 is a great all-round truck that should be at the top of the shopping lists of everyone who’s in the market for a new pick-up.
The Ford F-150 surprisingly doesn’t have an amazingly plush interior.
Despite being one of the newer offerings in this class, the Ford F-150 surprisingly doesn’t have an amazingly plush interior. Though the overall build quality matches the very best in this class, it’s perhaps a shame the materials used aren’t the soft-touch plastics you’d expect to find on a vehicle at this price point, with the choice of trim instead being harder plastics that bring the aurora of quality down a bit. Still, at least the aforementioned fit-and-finish is to a good standard, and the main contact patches are at least trimmed in materials that are pleasant to the touch. Plus, the overall control layout on the center console (topped off by a well-sized, easy-to-read and very responsive – albeit optional – touchscreen infotainment system) is logical and easy to get to grips with. It’s a pleasantly straightforward and simple setup that works rather well. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and offer good amounts of adjustment – which, in conjunction with the tilt and telescopic steering wheel, means buyers should be able to find their ideal driving position. Overall head and leg room is very good too, so even taller drivers and passengers should be able to fit comfortably in the Ford F-150.
We’re more inclined to recommend the larger ‘SuperCrew’ variant.
Rear practicality is dependent on which Ford F-150 you go for. ‘Regular’ models are only available in a two-seater configuration, and the limited leg room on offer in the ‘SuperCab’ models means the surprisingly supportive rear seats in this version means taller passengers will find space to be incredibly limited. As a result, if you’ll need to ferry adults about in your Ford F-150, we’re more inclined to recommend the larger ‘SuperCrew’ variant that offers leg room levels on par with those found on larger sedans. Overall, the Ford F-150’s flatbed is fairly versatile. Though there aren’t any under-floor storage compartments, there are standard-fit tie-downs that you can use to secure larger items down with, and access to the flat bed area is made easier thanks to the retractable steps in the sides and tailgate. Also, the Ford F-150’s load bay is available in 5½-inch, 6½-inch and 8-inch configurations, though which ones you have access to does depend on what version you select: ‘Regular’ versions aren’t available with the 5½-inch, and you can’t mix-and-match an 8-inch flatbed with a ‘SuperCrew’ body.
The Ford F-150 does an admirable job at being fairly simple and straightforward to drive.
Pick-up trucks were never going to be the most responsive or dynamic vehicles to drive, but the Ford F-150 does an admirable job at being fairly simple and straightforward to drive. Whilst it admittedly isn’t the easiest vehicle to navigate tighter spots in (especially the larger versions, which can reach nearly 20 feet in length), the Ford F-150’s combination of good forward visibility, responsive controls and light steering all mean this truck isn’t totally out of its depth in built-up areas. It’s on the open road, though, where the Ford F-150 feels right at home. Despite the boxy bodywork and large wheels, wind noise and tire roar levels are rather restrained, so the Ford F-150’s cabin is quite quiet when you’re on the highway. The Ford F-150 fares well off-road too. Granted, how far you’ll be able to venture off the beaten path depends on which version you go (the optional all-wheel drive system has obvious advantages in this area over the standard-fit rear-wheel drive setup), but the Ford F-150 is still sturdy and rugged enough to tackle lighter off-road sections competently. There’s also an off-road-centric ‘Raptor’ version of the Ford F-150 that ranks up there as one of the most capable factory trucks in this class away from the asphalt – though it’s worth pointing out this spec is only available with the ‘SuperCab’ bodystyle and the 5½-inch flatbed.
The Ford F-150 can feel a bit fidgety over rougher surfaces.
One area where the Ford F-150 does lose some ground to its rivals, however, is the ride quality. Though far from being too harsh or uncomfortable, the Ford F-150 can feel a bit fidgety over rougher surfaces, and overall doesn’t quite offer the comfort or composure of, say, a Ram 1500. Still, at least the Ford F-150 impresses when it comes to the towing capacity, with Ford claiming an outright maximum of 12,200 lbs (the best-in-class Chevrolet Silverado is only marginally better in this regard at 12,500 lbs). The Ford F-150 can also carry rather portly items in its flatbed, courtesy of its max load capacity of 3,270 lbs.
The Ford F-150 is available with a broad array of engine options.
The Ford F-150 is available with a broad array of engine options. From an entry-level six-cylinder gasoline engine to the range-topping 5.0-liter eight-cylinder gasoline engine, there are a lot of units to choose from, and mean there should be an engine to suit the needs of most prospective buyers. Our pick of the range, though, is the rather excellent 2.7-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine. Despite being the smallest engine on offer, it’s actually rather flexible as a result of its strong 325-hp/375 lb-ft of torque outputs, on top of being very smooth and refined. It also has the best fuel economy of any Ford F-150, with claims of up to 19mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway, making it one of the most frugal gasoline engines available in this class. If you can afford the $995 premium to fit this engine, we definitely recommend it. The other engines on offer are pretty good, though. For instance, the base 3.5-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine is a fine with good fuel economy (up to 18mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway) and decent outputs of 282-hp and 253 lb-ft of torque, with the 3.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine being just as efficient whilst having 375-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque to call upon. However, given the strengths of the 2.7-liter, we feel the 3.5-liter engines are only worth considering if you need to save the extra money or require a greater towing capacity.
The Ford F-150 is only available with an automatic transmission.
So accomplished are the aforementioned engines, that we don’t feel the 5.0-liter engine is worth having a look at unless you crave an eight-cylinder exhaust note from your Ford F-150. After all, it has almost identical power and less torque than the turbocharged 3.5-liter, is only $800 less expensive to install and is noticeably less efficient as a result of its 15mpg city/22mpg highway economy figures. Likewise, the 450-hp and 510 lb-ft of torque on offer in the ‘Raptor’ variants 3.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine are welcome, but you will need to fork out at least $48,860 just to own a Ford F-150 with that potent engine under the hood. The Ford F-150 is only available with an automatic transmission, though the transmission you’ll get will depend on which engine you go for. A new ten-speed unit is available exclusively on the turbocharged 3.5-liter engines, with the rest getting a six-speed system. Overall, both transmissions change gears smoothly and quickly, so you shouldn’t be disappointed with whatever automatic you have access to, though we do feel the 10-speed setup is the overall best one on offer in the Ford F-150 range.
For buyers who want a bit more gear to play with, we’re more inclined to recommend the $32,600 ‘XLT’ version.
In its most basic $26,730 ‘XL’ spec, the Ford F-150 does come with an okay amount of equipment as standard – if admittedly nothing too spectacular. Air conditioning, stability control, hill start assist and trailer sway control are pleasant features to have, but that’s about as exciting as the standard spec level gets – though certainly more than enough if you just want a simple work truck For buyers who want a bit more gear to play with, we’re more inclined to recommend the $32,600 ‘XLT’ version. Along with features like cruise control, power door locks and keyless entry, it’s also possible to specify an intuitive touchscreen interface, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control and navigation. Admittedly, with those add-ons attached, the Ford F-150 does end up being rather close price-wise to the $40,460 ‘Lariat’ trim that includes all of those features on top of leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats.
Regardless of which Ford F-150 model you opt for, your truck will be a safe vehicle.
Other trim levels include the even more luxurious ‘King Ranch’ ($50,675), ‘Platinum’ (53,230) and ‘Limited’ ($59,795), along with the aforementioned off-road-centric ‘Raptor’ spec, but we wouldn’t immediately suggest you go for those ones. Even though they’re still competitively priced in comparison with its chief rivals, they are incredibly expensive vehicles, so we can’t in good faith suggest you consider the higher-spec models unless your budget stretches far enough. Regardless of which Ford F-150 model you opt for, your truck will be a safe vehicle. Front, side and curtain airbags are available on every Ford F-150, as are features like stability control, trailer sway assist and a ‘Curve Control’ function that helps keep the truck under control if you enter a turn in the road too quickly. The Ford F-150 was also awarded the full five-stars in its most recent NHTSA crash test, thus making it one of the safest vehicles in this segment.
If you’re in the market for a full-size pick-up truck, we heavily implore you to consider the Ford F-150. Even with the talented likes of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 to content with, the Ford F-150 manages to rank up there as one of the very best vehicles in this segment. On top of its competitive load and towing capacities, the Ford F-150 is also rather refined and manoeuvrable by pick-up truck standards, and the safety ratings are also worthy of commendation. For sure, there are areas where the Ford F-150 falters a bit: the ride isn’t the smoothest in this class, and the hard plastics do hold the cabin back from being the top in this segment. However, as a complete package, the Ford F-150 is a remarkable machine that ranks up there as one of our favorite pick-up trucks on sale today.