2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Long Term Report 2 of 4

Road Trips and Dirt Trails

Feb 11, 2016
Photographers: Sean P. Holman
When we ordered our F-150, we decided to ante up with four-wheel drive and the FX4 Off-Road package, knowing that we had plans to do a little wheeling and check out what lies just beyond the beaten path. When equipped with the FX4 package, the F-150 adds an electronic-locking rear axle, hill descent control, tuned shock absorbers, and full skidplates, making it pretty capable for adventures on the trail.
Looking to get our truck a little dirty, we drove up to the local Southern California mountains to access one of our favorite off-road camping spots. At altitude, the twin-turbo the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 feels every bit as powerful as it does at sea level. Those 365 horses make the truck feel surprisingly quick, with plenty of passing power on the normal setting. If you like your truck to be more engaging, we highly recommend selecting the Sport mode button on the shifter. With Sport mode engaged, the already potent EcoBoost dials it up a notch with an ultra-responsive throttle input that almost borders on touchy. The shift schedule is much more aggressive both in upshifts and downshifts, and the traction control is also dialed back a notch, allowing for second-gear burnouts from a rolling start. It’s quite fun and unexpected in such an otherwise civilized truck. Dynamically, the EcoBoost is a great engine, proving that the right V-6 really can be a V-8 alternative.
Photo 2/3   |   002 2015 Ford F 150 Tow Package Mirrors
Our F-150 has the tow mirror option, which replaces the smallish standard mirror with these monsters. Fortunately, the tow mirrors have a power fold and extend feature.

However, all that power does seem to come at a price to efficiency. Despite an EPA rating of 17/19/23 mpg, we have been hard-pressed to top 18 mpg on an all-highway trip. And while we admit to having a heavy right foot and being in love with the sound of those twin turbos spooling up, we’ve also had plenty of cruise control and highway time over the last 10,000 miles and expected to see better numbers.
While the engine and trans in Sport mode are sublime, the chassis is less thrilling. Despite the F-150’s weight reduction, it still isn’t anything we would describe as tossable. With copious amounts of understeer and modest handling limits, our F-150 is just begging for a rear sway bar to help bring the rear around on those winding mountain roads.
Once on the trail, the F-150 is proficient and works well. The IFS and solid rear axle flex enough and have abundant travel to isolate the occupants from most fire road imperfections, but the shock tuning could be a lot better. Lacking rebound control, the F-150’s ride can sometimes be harsh on unimproved roads and allow secondary motions from the rear axle. A quality set of monotube shocks is all that separates the F-150 from being a lot of fun in the dirt. One feature we do love about the F-150 on the trail is the rear locker. Driver selectable, the locker can be activated regardless of transfer case position or speed and really helps the F-150 traverse any reasonable obstacle.
Photo 3/3   |   003 2015 Ford F 150 Transfer Case Selector
Activating the locker is as easy as pulling out the 4WD selector knob, and it is useable in all transfer case positions.

During this report, we stopped in for our first scheduled service, which was a painless process done at South Bay Ford in Hawthorne, California. However, they did forget to top off our washer fluid and weren’t aware of the Sync update that we were able to do ourselves—a minor annoyance after an otherwise positive experience.
Long-Term Numbers
Report 2 of 4
Previous report(s): Jan./Feb. ’16
Base price: $44,855
Price as tested: $60,535
Miles to date: 9,918
Miles since last report: 5,393
Average mpg (this report): 15.60
Test best tank (mpg): 17.65
Test worst tank (mpg): 12.60 (towing)
Test Maintenance: 10,000-mile maintenance service
Test Problem Areas: Bluetooth connection quality
Logbook Quotes:
“Power running boards are a nice touch, until you go through mud and have to hose them off. Pro tip: they only deploy with the door open.”
“If you really want to experience how the EcoBoost was meant to be, use Sport mode and lay waste to the rear tires at any opportunity.”
“Ford has done a great job with the stereo. Not only does it sound great, but has just about every input imaginable.”
“I wish the transmission detents were a little bit deeper. It’s really easy to go right past D into M.”
“The towing mirrors are massive. I mean ridiculously big. The saving grace is power fold, that feature gets used on a daily basis.”
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