2018 Ford F-150: Video Review and Road Test
With all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 Ram 1500 pickup trucks debuting at the Detroit auto show, it seems that Ford will have its hands full next year in this highly competitive segment. After a major redesign that has seen the introduction of aluminum body panels and turbocharged V6 power, the Blue Oval is not resting on its laurels and has made significant upgrades to the 2018 Ford F-150. Micah Muzio goes over the changes in this Video Review and Road Test.
Ford F-150 Video Review Transcript
If you think modern full-size pickup trucks are big and dumb you're only partly right. Case in point, this F-150. It might be big but it is not dumb. Quite the contrary Ford has approached this generation F-150 as a literal test bed, switching its bed and cabs construction from steel to lightweight aluminum helping improve fuel economy and performance.
Inside the aluminum body is a seriously functional cabin. The seats are comfortable and supportive, the armrests are well positioned, even though that one is way over there, there's lots of door storage space, and a really huge bit of storage here in the center console. Look there goes the medical tape. Up front, you've got a couple of itemized spots where I guess I can put my wallet with more space than I really need. Up top yet another storage bin. The F-150 is a little like an industrial loft. It is a great place to live and work.
Buyers can spec their F-150 in Regular, Super Cab, and Super Crew layouts but for carrying people the Super Crew is definitely the play. Legroom is outstanding, unlike the cozier Super Cab. A flat floor means sitting in the middle position is not some sort of punishment and easy flip up seats mean you can store your gear safely inside away from the elements and thieves, Tim. And these channels look like they're expertly crafted to carry, I don't know, large shipments of wine. Maybe my mom needs an F-150. Sorry, mom.
Of course cabin plushness varies by trim. The basic XL trim comes drenched in easy to clean plastic but higher trims offer increasingly luxurious appointments. Nothing caps a hard day on the job like cooled and massaging seats...I'm assuming. Reviewing cars isn't a real job. Speaking of real jobs, if you plan to haul more than just air you've got three choices. A 6-and-a-half-foot bed or optional 8-foot cargo box come on the Regular and Super Cab models while the Super Crew offers bed lengths of 5-and-a-half and 6-and-a-half feet.
The F-150's bed is a perfectly functional space to haul stuff but it should be noted that a damped tailgate does not come standard. F-150, dropping at old school. Also, the optional tailgate step does make it easier to get in and out of the bed but this one doesn't have it, so roll the B-roll while I parkour my way into the bed. For easier bed loading check the option sheet where you'll find pop-out side steps, integrated loading ramps, a bed extender/divider, and a damped remote release tailgate or an assisted closing tailgate with an integrated step.
As a big capable truck you might expect the F-150's road manners to be unrefined but that's not really the case. Okay there are the normal live rear axle jitters over bumps but otherwise ride quality is good. The brakes feel confident, interior noise is suppressed unless I'm making my bag bounce around in back, and outward visibility is surprisingly good in all directions. A PT Cruiser! I'm so sorry.
A slow steering ratio and comparatively wide turning circle make confined maneuvering a challenge, but if you've got the dough the option list makes nearly every aspect of driving much, much easier. Ok, not this one. All the others. And, I'm up over the curb. There's a 360-degree camera system for confident parking, automatic Park Assist for effortless parking, and Pro trailer backup assist that makes backing up a trailer as simple as turning a knob. On top of that there's full range adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring that even accounts for a trailer. Clever.
Where engine choices are concerned there are plenty including an eager and reasonably efficient 3.3-liter V6, a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and for those who hate forced induction a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. The base V6 features a 6-speed automatic but the rest of the lineup uses a 10-speed unit that knocks out nearly undetectable shifts. Standard on all engines is a fuel-saving automatic engine start/stop system though you'll need to deactivate it on hot days to keep the air-conditioning working at stoplights. To exploit the F-150's 13,200-pound maximum tow capacity choose the 3.5 liter but for less extreme towing we highly recommend the 2.7-liter EcoBoost. The 2.7 will tow 8,500 pounds, it costs a modest $995 versus the base engine, and it returns the best fuel economy in the F-150 lineup...at least until the 3.0-liter turbodiesel finally shows up.
Before moving on we should mention the $51,000 F-150 Raptor whose wide track, high output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and Baja-worthy suspension enable unsurpassed off-road thrills. Seriously don't you wish this was you? For more-grounded off-road adventures non-Raptor F-150s can be equipped with 4-wheel drive and an FX off-road package.
MSRP for a Regular Cab XL trim with six airbags, trailer-sway control, manual AC, an AM/FM radio, and a backup camera with dynamic hitch assist begins below $29,000 including $1,300 worth of destination charges. However we think the volume leading XLT is a worthwhile upgrade. It starts around $34,000 for a Regular Cab with power windows and mirrors, a power tailgate lock, and a 6-speaker audio system featuring Bluetooth and USB ports. Budget an extra $2,900 for the Super Cab and $5,200 for the Super Crew.
With even more budget, you can nab an intuitive 8-inch Sync infotainment system, navigation, heated rear seats, inflatable rear seatbelts, LED headlights, LED box lighting, a factory spray in bed liner, and passive entry with push-button start, a feature inexplicably not offered by GM and Toyota. Spend lavishly and you can spec an F-150 Limited trim to the tune of $67,000 though prices for pickup trucks are frequently incentivized so shop around.
Given the loyalties of truck buyers you probably already have a brand allegiance but if you're curious the full-size pickup truck field includes the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado twins, the Ram 1500 with its smooth riding coil spring rear suspension, the Nissan Titan with its standard 390-horsepower V8, and for resale value enthusiasts and Toyota devotees the Toyota Tundra. Each entrant has its strengths but the Ford stands out as exceptionally well suited to the needs of truck buyers.
The Ford F-150 is smart, capable, and ruggedly-styled. In essence it does all the things a pickup truck should do and it does them really well. It's also a handy reminder that innovation comes in all sizes.