By Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2018.
2018 pickup gives buyers everything they need
Have you driven a Ford truck lately? If not, and you’re in the market for a high-quality pickup, you’re missing out.
Ford’s F-150 has long been the favourite of truck buyers in North America and for many good reasons. After a mid-cycle facelift, the 2018 Ford F-150 makes abundantly clear why Ford is the champion with buyers.
This week’s tester, provided by Mark Wilkins of College Ford Lincoln, is the top-line four-wheel-drive Crew Cab Limited, priced at a hair over $80,000.
Yes, this particular truck is the cream of the crop, incorporating every luxury and technology feature Ford can put into an F-150. And it’s amazing, simply utterly amazing.
The tester is a beauty decked out in a shadow black paint job with black and navy pier leather interior. And while the cavernous cabin will accommodate five people in luxury car comfort — or two with room for all their gear if the rear split bench seat is lifted out of the way — this F-150 is built for work.
Powered by a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine with stop/start technology cranking out 375 horsepower and 470 lb. ft. of torque, the tester is a beast. That engine is mated to a non-sequential 10-speed — yes, 10-speed — automatic transmission that shifts absolutely seamlessly.
For buyers who demand a truck capable of doing some heavy duty, the 2018 F-!50 has a maximum towing capacity of 13,200 lbs. Payload is well over 3,000 lbs, just two of the reasons that surely played a part in making it Motor Trend’s 2018 truck of the year.
That 3.5-litre engine is one of five available in the F-150. The base is a 290-hp V6. At the other of the spectrum is a 450-hp, twin-turbo V6 available only in the Raptor. In the middle are two Ecoboost motors including a 2.7-litre, 325-hp engine, which was in the last F-150 tested here, and a 5.0 litre, 395-hp V8.
The 3.5 EcoBoost delivers a fantastic combination of economy and performance. Being fixated with fuel economy, I was pretty impressed to see this big truck cruising at roughly its Transport Canada predicted average, which is 27 mpg on the highway. City economy for this powertrain combination is 20 mpg. The smaller EcoBoost gets the best economy at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
For a person who wants the best of both economy and performance worlds, though, my money would be on 3.5 which delivers unbelievable acceleration from a standstill or a rolling start. And that stop/start system works invisibly, with no noticeable shudder when it activates.
The tester’s cabin is exceptionally roomy with comfortable heated, ventilated and massaging bucket seats up front and a rear seat with monstrous legroom. Those massaging seats in the tester are designed to keep legs from getting tired on long trips and I could definitely see how that would work. With various settings, a driver and his front passenger can get the spa treatment while driving.
The tester also has a heated steering wheel for those cold winter mornings, an upgraded 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system along with Ford’s B & O play, Wi-Fi hot spot, power adjustable pedals, twin panel moonroof, navigation system, remote keyless entry and keypad and the SYNC 3 infotainment system.
The truck also has a feature that allows a driver to remotely start the truck virtually anywhere, such as an airplane cabin while landing so the F-150 is toasty warm after passengers retrieve their luggage.
The tester also has a feature that is becoming common in sport utility vehicles, one which is particularly significant in a truck — namely that operators can choose from different driving modes, five to be exact in models equipped with the 10-speed tranny. Those settings will change engine performance for conditions such as Wet/Snow, Eco, Normal, Tow/Haul and Sport.
The tester also includes a 360-degree camera, trailer sway control, pro trailer backup assist, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.
And for those of us with shorter legs, the tester has power retractable running boards which slide out from the truck chassis when the doors are opened! That alone, to me, is a selling feature.
On the highway, the F-150 has a smooth, quiet ride and offers a commanding view of the surroundings. It’s a truck buyers could happily spend many hours piloting on an adventure of choice.
If you haven’t driven a Ford lately, 2018 should be the year.
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