Heavily-optioned full size trucks are the new top-of-the-line luxury cars. Buyers are turning their backs on sedans but still want power, comfort and advanced technologies. With the economy continuing to be strong and fuel prices staying relatively low, sales of cars have dropped and trucks have soared.
And why not, as our test 2019 Ford F-150 Supercab AWD Limited shows? Yes, it costs as much as a loaded fullsize BMW or Mercedes. But it had more interior room (especially in the back), was outfitted with a plush leather interior, included an awesome infortainment system (with a knockout stereo), boasted practically every available safety feature, and much more.
Plus, although luxury sedans can be ordered with all-wheel-drive, the F-150 offers both AWD and more robust four-wheel-drive settings — which, combined with its superior ground clearance, allows it to go seriously off-roading. And properly equipped, it's capable of towing a best-in-class 13,200 pounds.
And, as an added bonus, our test F-150 was equipped with the most powerful gasoline engine. No, it was not a large V8, but a high output version of Ford's impressive turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 pumping out 375 horsepower and 470 foot pounds of torque. It was mated to a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission that always seemed to be in the right gear. That combination would be right at home in even the most expensive luxury cars.
On top of all that, our F-150 was striking looking. Although basically big and boxy (like a truck should be), our bright red version was highlighting with a huge silver grill and massive chrome wheels, all of which combined to draw compliments from truck fans everywhere we went.
So what's not to like?
Well, for starters, it's a real truck, which is more than many owners need. A lot of newer big trucks on the road today don't show any signs of ever having been off pavement or carrying much in their beds. The ride was also more trucklike than the newest full size pickups from Chevy, GMC and Ram, but not nearly as bouncy unloaded as older trucks.
And full size means full size, which mean the running boards that automatically extended from both sides when the doors opened were absolutely needed to get in and out of it. And the overall size is big enough to require careful driving in crowded downtowns, not to mention occassional extended searches for big enough parking spaces. The large screen in our F-150 provided big enough views from the backup and other cameras to allow us to squeeze in and out of a number of otherwise difficult on-street spaces, however.
Ford is smart enough to know that not everyone needs that much truck. So it offers the F-150 in a wide range of configurations and costs, starting with two-door, rear-wheel-drive XL models that begin at under $30,000 and continuing through four-door and higher trim level versions, with or without AWD/4WD and short or long beds. The highest priced is the Limited, which starts at $62,855.
The offerings have now been refined over 14 generations of improvements, culminating in the current version that debuted last year and continues now with few changes. The biggest is a new optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine. America agrees the company knows what it's doing. The F-150 has been the best selling pickup in the county for a remarkable 41 years in a row.
Ford is also smart enough to know that not everyone wants that much truck, however, which is why it revived the mid-size Ranger this year, offering it in the same wide variety of styles.
Detroit's big three vehicle manufacturers are currently slugging it out for dominance in the full size pickup market. All have introduced completely new models that are more practical, rugged, sophisticated, and just outright fun to drive than ever before. Although awards are handed out, it is impossible to actually say which one is the "best" because styles, features and overall driving experiences vary so widely. If you're in the market, the best advice is to test drive all of them, but put the 2019 Ford F-150 near the top of your shopping list.
2019 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercrew Limited
Base price: $62,855
Price as tested: $74,575
Type: Fullsize truck
Engine: Turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 HO (375 hp, 470 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic transmission w/tow mode
EPA estimated mileage: 17/21
Overall length: 209 to 251 inches
Curb weight: 4,069 to 5,697 pounds
Final assembly: Dearborn, Michigan
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