Car reviews - Ford - F-150
Terrific engine, good to drive, massive cabin space, huge tub capacity, up to 4.5-tonne towing with included towbar, ball, wiring and trailer brakes
Room for improvement
Limited payload capacity, ride not as ‘big truck’ as expected, a massive price gap between base and top spec
Made in the US, remade in Australia, the Ford F-150 is ready for business
10 Oct 2023
FORD Australia is going big on utes, with the multi-million-dollar F-150 program rolling out a new large pick-up truck co-developed by Ford and RMA Automotive.
The XLT model starts off at $106,950 excluding on road costs for the SWB, while the LWB is $107,945 (+ORC). Choose the richly specified Lariat SWB for $139,950 (+ORC), and Lariat LWB at $140,945 (+ORC).
All versions of the F-150 are powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 engine producing a huge 298kW of power and 678Nm of torque, with a 10-speed automatic transmission with manual option and transmission lock-out functionality, meaning you can run it as a six-speed or eight-speed auto, if you wish. The XLT models have selectable four-wheel drive (2H, 4H, 4L), while Lariat models add a full-time four-wheel drive system with 4A mode, which can operate on sealed surfaces.
Towing capacity is 750kg for unbraked capacity, while the braked towing capacity is 4500kg, and all grades come standard with an Australian-specific redesigned towbar, 70mm tow hitch, 12-pin connector, electric trailer brake controller, and Ford’s very clever yaw-sensing Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which features a rotary dial controller to reverse trailers in using a natural steering movement, as opposed to counter-steering in the traditional way. Lariat models get a surround-view camera, while XLT models rely on a simpler rear-view camera setup.
The SWB model runs 5884mm nose to tail, while the LWB adds an extra ‘foot of bed space’, tallying a huge 6184mm – and yes, that means it needs side markers. There is no extra room in the cabin, it’s all wheelbase extension and additional tub capacity – the wheelbases are 3694mm and 3994mm respectively. Both are 2430mm wide including mirrors, and all versions are 1995mm tall.
There’s a huge amount of tray space on offer as well. Tub floor length spans 1705mm for SWB and 2005mm for LWB, depth is 543mm, and bed width is 1656mm and there’s a 1285mm wheel-arch gap, meaning pallet capability is assured. However, payload is limited: 685kg Lariat SWB; 710kg Lariat LWB; 769kg XLT SWB; 794kg XLT LWB.
All grades get a spray-in tub liner, multiple securing points, a pull-out ladder for easy tray access, and under the tub floor there’s a non-matching spare wheel.
Don’t expect an ANCAP safety rating for this big rig, but it does come with a decent amount of standard safety technology. The base grade has a form of autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert with trailer coverage, plus a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
You need to shop up to the Lariat to get adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane centring, evasive steering assist, speed sign recognition, that surround-view camera, and front parking sensors. Not to mention LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights (the XLT has halogens, and doesn’t have DRLs).
As for spec highlights, the XLT gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus there’s an 8.0-inch digital driver info screen, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, cloth seat trim, electric driver’s seat adjustment and electric pedal adjustment.
Warranty is the same as all other Fords, with five-year/unlimited kilometre cover for F-150. The servicing schedule is 12 months/15,000km, but at the time of publishing the pricing is still to be confirmed. Expect roadside assistance for up to seven years if you service with Ford.
Fuel economy is rated at 12.5 litres per 100km, and there’s a 136-litre fuel tank as standard. On test, I saw a displayed return of 12.6L/100km for normal driving, and an impressive 14.3L/100km on the towing loop.
There was also a short drive loop with a 3.2-tonne caravan on the hitch, and that showcased the effortless pulling power on offer from the EcoBoost engine, not to mention the body control and ride composure over bumpy sections of road. Admittedly we didn’t get to go more than 80km/h on this loop, but that’s arguably what most towing this kind of weight should be sticking to, anyway. The F-150’s reworked steering for Australia - including the use of the Ranger Raptor steering rack for better directness and response - was another highlight on this loop.
There was also a longer drive on freeways and country roads, and it was clear that the drive experience was better when the surface below was smooth. The ride was a bit clumsy on lumpy roads – not to the point of discomfort, but just a bit less settled than expected, with nothing in the tray or on the hitch.
What was evident on the drive was that this is a relatively refined, quiet, powerful and likeable vehicle for the open road. Parking will be an issue for urbanites, as it has a huge turning circle, and will turn a typical three-point turn into a five- or seven-point job on tight streets or in small parking areas. It’s also tall, so underground car parks will not be its friend.
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