Saturday Road Test – Ford F-150 XLT 4×4

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Ford F-150 XLT 4×4 Supercab

Camel Cloth and All

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD – Now in its 13th generation Ford’s F-150 was just named the top truck by Consumer Reports. They praised its quiet and spacious cabin, new Sync3 infotainment system and summed up by saying it has “the best predicted reliability of any domestic truck.”

On top of that it is expected to finish first when automakers release their February sales figures, a distinction dating back well before anyone considered body painting Ronda Rousey

Like other truck makers, Ford offers a long, long list of available packages and options that would chew up more space then I have here, so let’s concentrate on what was on the “Race Red” test truck with the “Camel Cloth” interior.

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The $795 extra 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 topped the list. It produced more than enough grunt with its 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque and was mated to a 6-speed automatic. With tow mode, Class IV trailer hitch and an integrated trailer brake, the test truck was ready to tow a trailer up to 12,200 pounds. I just did not happen to have one in the road test driveway. A nifty option is the rear view trailer hitch assist camera that makes it a snap to line up the hitch and trailer without assistance from your nosey next door neighbor.

Without a trailer, the EPA rates this combination at 18 mpg city, 23 highway for a combined 20 mpg, helped of course by the lightweight aluminum body. I checked in at 21 mpg.

Also significant in the $6,385 worth of options were LED side mirror spotlights, a very handy tailgate step, LED box lighting, and spray in bed liner. I would pass on the $1,695, marked down to $750, XLT Chrome Appearance Package. As delivered, the test truck carried an MSRP of $43,085.

There were not a lot of do dads in the interior as this was not the top-of-line King Ranch or Platinum model. I have driven a King Ranch and must say it has all the luxury trim and convenience items one could hope for and probably more than you will ever use. It was like driving a large luxury sedan.

Instead, the test truck sported manual single zone air conditioning, satellite radio with an auxiliary audio input jack, power windows, and a 4.2 inch multifunction center stack screen. This may sound base, but it proved to be a most comfortable elevated perch for long drives in a very hushed environment noise wise. Ford did a good job when it came to the quality of the trim and control placement – everything was an easy reach away and mostly intuitive. A small touch, but a nice addition, was the rear window defroster.

The 40/20/40 front seats with center console offered good comfort and there was ample room for storage for what not. If you frequently carry people in the rear seats you might want to upgrade to the crew cab, known as the Supercrew at Ford. If you don’t want them to feel excessively comfortable and constantly request rides, stick with the tested Supercab.

Around town and on the interstates I loved the high, “King of the Road” driving positon of the F-150 and never yearned for a big V8 under the hood. The EcoBoost six offered respectable acceleration for passing slow moving semis up steep mountain grades. Once in West Virginia, well, I was driving the vehicle of choice.

While I would want something more nimble if my daily commute involved a trip into a big city, it was easy to see why the F-150 is so popular.

But the old adage rings true – Stats show that folks who love Chevy trucks and those who buy Rams are highly unlike to change brands. Loyal. A lot like NFL fans.

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