I remember when much to do was made of Ford’s announcement that the 2015 F-150 would feature a *gasp* aluminum construction as opposed to the traditional steel one. Critics contended that steel was an absolute necessity and that real truck folk wouldn’t take kindly to a measly aluminum build no matter how many tests it underwent. I didn’t buy that criticism.
Fast forward a couple of years and it looks like the gamble paid off for Ford. They managed to shave close to 700 pounds with the new design, thereby also allowing for smaller and more fuel efficient motors to be used under the hood. The F-150 is still the towing leader in its class and sales have continued to be as strong as ever. Manufacturers who make bold moves and are successful should pave the way for more bold moves down the road so this is great for enthusiasts as far as I’m concerned.
The F-150 remains the absolute benchmark for pickup trucks. It’s the measuring stick by which all other brands use to gauge themselves and rightly so. I’ve driven just about every pickup there is and the F-150 is definitely a cut above the rest.
Looks-wise I find it hard to beat the F-150 but naturally this is a matter of personal preference. As you go up in trim level, Ford adds a number of bells and whistles to jazz things up. You can play for hours on Ford’s configurator but after years of doing just that I find the trims can be divided into two groups: XL and XLT base models versus the Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited versions. Lariat and above have the distinguishing features of leather seating and xenon headlamps (with LED amber contours). It’s a hard line that distinguishes the base models from the more upscale models quite effectively in my opinion. The bread and butter of the lineup will always be the XLT and Lariat versions which are available in the most configurations. There are too many ways to build an F-150 that listing them all wouldn’t make for good reading.
The Lariat special edition package on this week’s tester gives this F-150 a nice edge to it and includes the following:
• 20″ Unique Premium Tarnished Dark Painted Wheels
• 275/55R 20 BSW all-season tires
• Black running boards
• Body-colour front and rear bumpers
• Headlamps with Dark housing (Halogen on Mid; LED on Luxury)
• Tarnished Dark grille with Red Accent
• Unique console top
• Unique fender and tailgate badging
• Unique finish on IP and doors
• Unique single-tip exhaust
• Unique Special Edition seats with Red Accent
• Unique steering wheel
It requires the Lariat Sport Appearance Package (like I said there are a lot of options packages) and is not available with all engine choices.
Under The Hood
Don’t worry you can still get a 5.0L V8 engine in your F-150. The 385 horsepower 5.0-litre V8 FFV motor is a powerhouse to say the least. I had previously tested another F-150 with this motor and of course it was overkill for anything I needed. My tasks consist of bringing kids to daycare and back during the week and to the soccer field on the weekend so full capability was not going to be tested. The price to pay for all that power was consumption around 19L/100 km.
This particular F-150 came with 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. It’s a de-tuned version of the one found in the Raptor that still packs quite a punch and has a maximum tow rating of 12,200 pounds – better than any of the competition. The drive is smooth and comfortable so you can feel free to take the family on road trips without thinking twice. In fact my last F-150 review praised the truck as a possible replacement for my minivan. Consumption was 14.4 L/100 km.
Another great option is the 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 especially for the more fuel-conscious people. For those still concerned with the size of this motor I can say that those concerns are not warranted in the slightest. The twin-turbo Ecoboost motor I had tested year had as much power as I desired. The truck felt lighter, more nimble and was more responsive on the throttle than the 5.0-litre. Fuel economy on the 2.7 was still higher than I expected unfortunately coming in at 14L/100 km.
Ergonomically the F-150 is stellar all around with a very well laid out cockpit. Most importantly there is a proper shifter instead of not this turn-dial or push button trend which is slowly taking over the industry. The unique interior door handles are easy to use and the seating position is very comfortable. Ford has done a great job with their Sync infotainment system as I found it intuitive and well designed. Climate controls are either digital or via physical button which is yet another aspect that Ford gets right.
You can option out an F-150 upwards of $90,000 for the top of the line model but the bread and butter XLT and Lariat SuperCrew 4X4s will hover in the $42k-$55K range depending on the equipment. The one pictured here will run you upwards of $57,000.
There wasn’t much not to like on the F-150. Ford’s formula is proven and the F-150 continues to be the benchmark truck for those who need it and those who just want it. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.