Ford’s F-150 pickup truck has been the top selling half-ton for what seems like an eternity (42 years). It has been the benchmark for competitive truck makers. And today the competition is getting tougher with Ram nipping at F-150’s heels and Chevy’s Silverado following suit. But F-150 is able to maintain its top selling position.
The 2019 F-150 is offered in 2WD and 4WD and in Regular Cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew body configurations. And in 5.5, 6.5 and 8.5-foot bed lengths
We tested the SuperCrew four-door, XLT trim model. Also available are XL, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited trim levels and Raptor, the latter being the customized off-road equipped F-150. Phew! The choices are many.
In fact, Ford just gave a sneak preview of an all-electric version that appears will compete against egotist Elon Musks’ proposed Tesla electric pickup. The F-150E is expected to debut by 2022.
If you think the model selection is exhaustive, the F-150 has six engine choices. Starting with the 3.3L, V6 with 290-hp and 265 lb/ft of torque; 2.7L, twin turbo V6 with 325-hp and 400 lb/ft of torque; 3.0L turbodiesel V6 with 250-hp and 440 lb/ft of torque; 3.5L, twin-turbo V6 with 375-hp and 470 lb/ft of torque; 5.0L V8 with 395-hp and 400 lb/ft of torque and a 3.5L, twin turbo V6 in the Raptor and Limited with 450-hp and whopping 510 lb/ft of torque. Again, Phew!
We tested the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 that when coupled to the standard 10-speed automatic transmission, earned EPA mileage estimates of 19 city, 24-highway mpg. So equipped, it’s tow rated for up to 8,500 pounds. The little 2.7 has as much torque as the 5.0L V8 with better fuel economy thanks in part to start/stop technology that can be turned off. So unless you need more towing capacity, the 2.7 can handle most normal towing needs. Incidentally, it was independently 0-60 mph tested at 6.3 seconds.
As a SuperCrew model, this land yacht offers gobs of interior space as well as bed space. We particularly think Ford has the best tailgate idea with a step that pulls out from the tailgate and an assist handle that does the same. It’s the best design on the market although GMC is touting their new Multi-Pro Tailgate that is similar, but offers a few more variations. Only problem with it, is if it gets rear-ended or the driver backs into something, we surmise it’s going to be an expensive repair, or pricey replacement.
When opening any door on the XLT, running boards power out for a mere 11-inch step-in. Without them, step-in is a 24-inch stretch.
Once in, you’re treated to an expanse of space that makes for a comfy ride on nicely padded and heated leather seats. Power adjustable pedals too are nice for short legged drivers.
Elsewhere, a robust trans shifter is complimented by chunky HVAC controls to make your selection easy, even with gloved hands. Selections can also be made on the 8-inch touchscreen.
Speaking of which, the display offers Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, surround view camera with tailgate view, weather app through Travel Link, and Sync 3 infotainment system that can read your text messages while you drive.
A huge front console box can hold a six-pack of soda, small laptop and for any extra’s, it’s supplemented with large door bins that can hold lots of small items.
F-150’s fine 4WD system consists of 2H, 4Auto, 4H and 4L with rear wheel lock-up. As this was the FX4 version that has a ground clearance of 9.4 inches. So equipped, the F-150 can get you into the outback, deep snow, mucky mud and slippery sand. It’s an able off-roader with rugged heavy-duty shocks and a front undercarriage skid plate that protects the vitals of the truck.
Split folding backseats are also comfy for three large adults with plenty of leg, head and elbow room. These seats even have inflatable seat belts with the 302A option package. The split folding seat bottoms flip up against the bulkhead for a spacious flat cargo floor. And beneath them is a full-length bin for small item storage.
Two other features we especially like are the parking assist feature and the Towing Assist System if you have to tow, park a trailer or back a boat onto a launch ramp. By using the touchscreen and control knob to make right/left corrections, the system takes control of the steering and brakes to make the chore easier. This is particularly useful for folks who don’t frequently tow.
Ride quality on Hankook 20-inch tires that are mounted on six lug wheels, is smooth and quiet, and even smoother with a load of mulch or pavers in the bed.
As for handling, and despite its size, F-150 takes sharp turns without drama. The large, wide tires grip all road surfaces with tenacity. The combination provides sure footed handling and a cushioned ride. Only deep, unseen highway pock marks disturb the rear axle somewhat.
Price wise, this top-shelf best seller doesn’t come cheap. If the base price of $42,915 were the bottom line, Ford couldn’t make enough of them. But that’s not the case. An extremely long list of standard safety items such as forward collision warning and emergency braking, plus options, add to the pain. We start with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine ($995); trailer tow monitoring ($590); twin panel sunroof ($1,495); voice activated navigation ($795); trailer tow package ($995); FX4 Off-Road package ($905); LED side mirror spotlights ($175); tailgate step ($375); trailer brake controller ($275); XLT power equipment group ($725); and delivery ($1,595) that combined with several XLT discounts, brought the bottom line to $54,845.
Actually, we’ve tested other trucks that creep into the $60K and higher range. So the XLT F-150 isn’t too bad. If you can do without some of the above, the price can be shaved somewhat.
To its credit, F-150 earned the governments top overall safety rating of a full five stars; five each for driver/passenger frontal crash; five each for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover. Very impressive scores that some others, including luxury cars/trucks, don’t get.
F-150 also comes with a 3/36K bumper-bumper warranty; 5/60K powertrain; 5/Unlimited paint adhesion, 5/unlimited corrosion and 5/60K roadside assistance coverage.