While using the F-150 as a "race team support vehicle," ferrying a load estimated at around 3500 pounds, associate editor Kirill Ougarov noted that "the engine felt labored up moderate grades. A manual shift mode would've been useful through mountain passes -- instead of having the transmission cycle through the gears like a Rolodex." One of Kirill's passengers suggested that the F-150's cabin was "more luxurious than my mom's 5 Series."

THE LESS-THAN-STELLAR BITS

  • Some staffers found the F-150's ride, when unloaded, "near unbearable." Others judged ride quality to be at least on par with a sedan's. Most agreed that loading the truck subdued any ride transgressions noticeably.
  • Fill-ups of 87 octane cost around $80. The capless EZ-Fill fuel filler occasionally balks at accepting nozzles from older filling stations.
  • The finish on the wood trim on the gear selector eventually began to wear off; so you felt a ragged edge every time you put your hand on it.
  • With tailgate open -- the time you most want a backup camera -- the lens is pointed at the ground. Needs a more useful mounting point.

ON THE PLUS SIDE

  • Ford's Sync system works well, and most drivers found the large nav screen easy to read and well designed.
  • Everyone loved the "man step" -- which allows quick, easy access to the bed's interior.
  • Despite its size, the F-150 proved quite maneuverable, even in congealed L.A. traffic.
  • The bed extender is a brilliant addition, allowing easy, secure transport of extra-long items such as sofas or -- for some of our staff gadget hounds -- JumboTron-size plasma TVs.
  • Over 28K-plus miles, we observed a 14.5-mpg fuel-economy average, not bad for a rig so large (and so often heavily loaded) but, clearly, you wouldn't want to buy and drive an F-150 unless you really need one. Just as clearly, though, huge numbers of Americans do indeed need a top-flight, roll-up-its-sleeves pickup. Ford's ever-popular F-150, we can say with complete confidence, is just such a machine.

From the Logbook

"Rear seat legroom rivals long-wheelbase 7 Series and S-Class sedans. In fact, it might even be more spacious. Very impressive."
- Rory Jurnecka

"The back seat has some ugly black marks, but I guess that's what they get for putting leather in a truck interior, something I'll never understand."
- Scott Evans


Our Car
Base price $38,965
Options Sony nav/radio ($2430), Lariat Chrome pkg ($1295), leather-trimmed captain’s chairs ($895), Lariat Plus pkg ($795), tailgate step ($350), 3.73 limited-slip axle ($300), pwr rear window ($250), pwr/heated chrome mirrors ($235), tailgate brake controller ($230), bed extender ($195), max trailer tow ($100), rubber mats ($95)
MSRP, as tested $46,135
Total mileage 28,366
Avg fuel econ/CO2 14.5 mpg/1.34 lb/mi
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $141.53
Normal-wear cost $0
Three-year residual value* $20,760
Recalls None
* Automotive Lease Guide