Pickup Truck Best Buy of 2019
- Best-in-class towing capacity (13,200 pounds)
- Best-in-class payload capacity (3,270 pounds)
- Five engines available, including a turbodiesel
- Innovations expand F-150's capability and ease of use
- Pricing starts at $29,650 (regular cab), $36,190 (SuperCrew) | Price yours
- On sale now | See Ford F-150 models for sale near you
The 2019 Ford F-150, our Pickup Truck Best Buy for the fifth year in a row, continues to offer the features and the capability that truck buyers need, while providing the creature comforts and modern-day tech that daily drivers want. What were once outrageous ideas – namely, using military-grade aluminum in the truck body and smaller turbocharged engines – have shifted thinking in the truck world, and other pickup-truck manufacturers are following suit.
The 2019 model year offers the most all-new or significantly updated trucks ever, with the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra offering new platforms, engines, tech features and luxury options. New features like an excellent mild hybrid system (Ram), turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (Silverado) and 6-way reconfigurable tailgate (Sierra) give truck buyers compelling choices they’ve never had before. It also made this year’s Pickup Truck Best Buy selection the toughest to date. But after days of towing a trailer, hauling payload and driving on a variety of streets and highways, the F-150 held the top spot in a highly contested race. Here’s how the Ford F-150 stays at the top of the truck segment.
Since we last tested the F-150, Ford has made some notable changes to the lineup. A 250-horsepower, 440-pound-foot 3.0-liter turbodiesel was a late addition last year. (As a point of reference, the only engine in the lineup with more torque is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.) The top-of-the-line Limited model now comes standard with the high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost – previously only available in the Raptor -- with 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the impressive engine line returns, with a 3.3-liter V6 as the base engine, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. All the other engines, including the trusty 5.0-liter V8, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, Power Stroke turbodiesel and both versions of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost are backed by a 10-speed automatic.
While we are impressed with every engine in the lineup, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 continues to be our favorite of the group. With just as much torque as the 5.0-liter V8 and backed by a 10-speed automatic, the 2.7-liter feels quick off the line and is plenty powerful, but has fuel economy that’s second only to that of the diesel. That it offers this much for an added cost of only $995 over the base 3.3-liter V6, and also includes the upgraded transmission is a terrific value, one that’s offered in XLT-and-above models.
The use of aluminum in the body plus high-strength steel in the fully boxed frame, reduced the F-150’s weight compared to the steel-bodied truck, and offers the added benefit of making the F-150 feel spry and a bit sporty, lean and muscular, without feeling flimsy in any way. And this pickup is plenty large, making that an even greater accomplishment. The Ford F-150 is available in regular cab, SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew layouts, but the most popular is the SuperCrew (crew cab). The SuperCrew’s interior is roomy and comfortable, and has a flat floor in the second row, which ensures that even the rear middle passenger has ample foot- and legroom. That’s good for the folks who use the F-150 to get a crew to and from the work site, and also benefits families that need good interior space in both rows.
The $30,000 XL is a fairly basic model, but it only takes a move one step up to the XLT to greatly expand your options, including a choice of engines and SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Keep going up the chain and the available features are downright luxurious: heated and cooled leather seats with 10-way power adjustment on the driver’s seat, rear heated seats, a 1,000-watt, 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, power adjustable pedals, full-length power running boards, and twin-panel moonroof. Available adaptive cruise control, active park assist and a 360-degree camera are extremely helpful to the driver. More safety features are offered, including lane-keep assist, curve control, automatic emergency braking and pre-collision assist. Opt for all of these features and the price can climb high, but with some research you can find the right combination of capability and comfort for the right price.
Towing, Hauling, Working
The midrange 2.7-liter isn’t just quick and efficient; it can also tow a trailer that weighs as much as 8,500 pounds, more than enough capability for the average truck buyer. If you tow heavier trailers and want to tow on a regular basis, you can get the 5.0-liter V8 and over 11,000 pounds of towing capacity. The maximum towing capacity, 13,200 pounds, is not only best in class but that rating is in the SuperCrew (which can’t be said for other full-size trucks). To tow that much, the 2019 Ford F-150 has to be equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. If you want the F-150 with the maximum payload capacity of 3,250 pounds – also best in class – get a truck with the 5.0-liter V8.
When it comes to using your truck for towing and payload duty, Ford uses several mechanical and tech innovations to make it easier to get work done. For easy access to gear that’s stowed in the bed – and making it easier to stow that gear – the F-150 is available with a step that’s integrated into the tailgate that comes with a handy bar that serves as a handrail. If you want to access gear from the sides, choose the cargo box side steps. You can drop the damped tailgate via a button on the key fob and can also lock and unlock the tailgate with the fob. If you want to increase your truck’s range, you can get a 36-gallon fuel tank; the F-150 comes with a 26-gallon unit. Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a system that lets you use a knob on the dash to align your trailer. Another F-150 safety feature is the truck’s blind-spot monitoring system, which also takes into account a vehicle that’s on either side of your trailer.
The Ford F-150 has the capability, comfort and technology to keep it at the head of a very competitive segment. Add in excellent reliability and resale value, and it’s clear that the F-150 earned its Best Buy honor this year. However, the race is getting tighter. It should be noted that the Ram 1500 put up quite a fight, with an excellent hybrid system, new safety and technology features, excellent interiors and fantastic ride quality. That the bar continues to be raised by the Ford, and other truck makers are getting closer benefits truck shoppers, who have the most capable, most advanced trucks to date to choose from.
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