By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.1
The Ford vs. Chevy wars are heating up, and sitting squarely at the battle’s center is the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup. With its class-exclusive aluminum body and turbocharged EcoBoost engines, the F-150 has advanced full-size pickup design well beyond what its competitors are doing. To counter those advances, Chevy has taken a direct shot at the F-150’s aluminum bed, claiming it’s more easily prone to damage than the Silverado’s steel bed. Ford counters this is not the case, especially when the truck is equipped with a bedliner. Although Ford still can’t match the diesel engine options on the Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan, the EcoBoost V6 and new 10-speed transmission deliver plenty of power for towing and hauling as well as respectable fuel economy.
Ford’s 2017 F-150 full-size pickup is the king of payload, towing and fuel economy, and its turbocharged V6 engine options are unique in a field of V8-powered rivals. Trims run the gamut from a simple work truck to the luxurious King Ranch to the off-road-ready Raptor.
KBB Expert Ratings
Ford’s 2017 F-150 full-size pickup gets a more powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, a new 10-speed automatic transmission and Sync Connect on XLT and higher trims. The off-road Raptor gets a major overhaul, offered this year with the aluminum body, new suspension and SuperCrew cab configuration.
While many skeptics doubted a small-displacement V6 could ever replace the pulling power and longevity of big V8, Ford’s 2017 F-150 pickup has proved them all wrong. The F-150’s lightweight...
... aluminum body shaves nearly 500 pounds off a conventional steel-body truck, allowing the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 to easily move even a fully loaded truck. Those needing to tow more than 12,000 pounds, however, would be well advised to move up to the larger 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine with its class-leading 470 lb-ft of torque. Ford has worked some magic on the F-150’s suspension, because this truck rides and handles more like a midsize-crossover SUV, although some of the editors commented on the touchy brakes. Ford’s new F-150 offers a spacious, quiet cabin with firm seating and all controls within easy reach of the driver. Models like the King Ranch and Platinum feel luxury-car lavish.
PRO TRAILER BACKUP ASSIST
This clever feature is designed to assist in trailer placement. While watching on the rearview camera screen, the driver only needs to input left or right commands via a dash-mounted knob. The F-150 handles the steering and braking, making getting a trailer into a tight spot easy as pie.
More commonly found on luxury sedans and SUVs, the 2017 Ford F-150 offers a 360-degree surround camera. The system not only shows drivers important blind spots when parking or towing, it can also give a clear view down low, a real bonus when navigating obstacle-packed off-road trails.
Tough meets modern in the 2017 Ford F-150, where buyers can get cool features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, two 3-prong power outlets, smart cruise control, active park assist, and the ability to have the Sync 3 infotainment system read text messages to you while you drive. The SuperCrew (crew cab) is extremely roomy, with rear-seat legroom that would make some full-size sedans envious. The F-150's floor is flat, making the middle rear seat comfortable, while also allowing more room for storage. Also making the cab comfortable are seats that have been carefully sculpted to reduce fatigue.
Ford’s full-size F-150 pickup for 2017 has the only truck body that's made of aluminum, but that material doesn’t reduce the truck's capability or strength. When it comes to the F-150's exterior, the style is rugged and bold, but much of its appearance was inspired by function. The LED headlights and taillights look good, but more important, they use less energy. LED spotlights come in handy in poorly lit areas like campgrounds. There are pop-out steps at the bed sides to make it easier to reach cargo. Even the seamless sliding rear window looks good, but is designed to reduce complexity.
Every F-150 gets the same ultra-strong hydroformed, fully boxed frame, which uses significantly more high-strength steel than in previous-generation F-150s. Aside from the solid foundation, one of the most impressive things about the 2017 F-150 is that the equipment that comes standard makes it easy for an F-150 owner to get work done safely without breaking the bank. All F-150s also come with hill-start assist and Trailer Sway Control, both extremely handy when towing. Also standard are fail-safe cooling, and Curve Control that works to keep the truck under control if the driver goes into a turn too fast.
For an additional fee, you can get running boards that deploy when a door is opened and retract when the door closes. Front passengers are offered heated and cooled seats and rear-seat passengers can get seat heaters too. On the safety front, the 2017 Ford F-150 is offered with inflatable rear seatbelts and a blind-spot information system. A voice-activated navigation system is available, which gives you real-time traffic updates. You can have text messages read to you as you drive. The ultimate options are the Platinum and King Ranch models, which deliver top-of-the-line equipment and model-specific style.
There are four engine choices for the 2017 Ford F-150: one normally aspirated V6, two twin-turbo V6s and a traditional V8. Three of the four engines use a 6-speed automatic transmission. The improved 3.5-liter EcoBoost gets an all-new 10-speed automatic. Those who aren't interested in a turbo V6 can look into the trusty 5.0-liter V8. Ford offers customers the option of 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive (2WD, 4WD).
282 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (2WD), 17/23 mpg (4WD)
2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6
325 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
375 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (2WD), 18/23 mpg (4WD)
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
375 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
470 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (2WD), 17/23 mpg (4WD)
385 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
387 lb-ft of torque @ 3,850 rpm
EPA city/high fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (2WD), 15/21 mpg (4WD)
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Raptor)
450 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
510 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/18 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Ford F-150 starts at a competitive Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $27,600 for the regular-cab, 2WD XL. That full-size truck has a regular-length bed (6-1/2 feet) and the base 3.5-liter V6. Ford is focused on aggressive pricing with the engines. For that same XL, you can upgrade to the excellent 2.7-liter EcoBoost for just $795, or to the 5.0-liter V8 for $1,595. An XLT Super Crew starts around $38,000. The most expensive level is the Limited, which costs almost $65,000 when you check off most of the option boxes. The Raptor starts just over $50,000. As with previous F-150s, the 2017 truck holds strong resale values, still slightly behind the Toyota Tundra but better than the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan. If you want to know what folks in your area are paying for their new trucks, check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.