DRUMHELLER, Alta: Four engines, three cabs, three beds, eight models and literally millions of ways to mix and match them to a specific need is the story of the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup.
There has been a pickup in the Ford family since the Model T and the F-Series is quite literally the backbone of the blue oval.
Selling more than 10,000 units in April alone, Ford cannot allow the F-150 to stagnate as the competition is fierce. GM is about to launch its next generation Chev Silverado/GMC Sierra and (nee Dodge) RAM is coming on stronger every quarter.
To give an idea of how seriously Ford takes the battle, it put in 1.5 million hours of computer testing, 13,000 miles on the dyno and 2.5 million miles of real world testing with the F-150.
If you don’t stay head, you fall behind is the mantra I got from Ford during a day of testing the entire Ford truck lineup, including the Super Duty pickups as well as all versions of the F-150.
I will leave the Super Duty pickups and purpose-built F-150 SVT Raptor as separate stories and concentrate on the core F-150.
As noted, there are four engines, the most popular of which (41 per cent of all F-150 sales) is the turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 that puts out 365 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque.
With that kind of torque, the 3.5-litre can haul up to 11,300 lb (5,126 kg) but with a fuel economy rating of 12.9/9.0L/100 km (22, 31 mpg) city-highway.
The other popular engine is a 6.2-litre single overhead camshaft V8 with 411 hp and 434 lb/ft of torque with the same towing capacity as the EcoBoost. Fuel rating here is 16.5/11/0L100 km (17/26 mpg).
The most economical engine is a 3.7-litre V6 with 302 hp and 278 lb/ft of torque using 12.6/8.7L/100 km (22/32 mpg). The fourth power plant is a 5.0-litre V8 with 360 hp and 380 lb/ft of torque that gets 14.1/9.7L/100 km (20/29 mpg).
All four engines are hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Of course, the F-150 is primarily about towing and the numbers are pretty impressive.
The 3.7-litre is rated at 2,800 kg (6,100 lb); the 5.0-litre at 4,500 kg (10,000 lb); the 6.2-litre at 5,126 kg (11,300 lb) and the 3.5-litre at a similar 5,126 kg (11,300 lb).
Payloads vary, but the 3.5-litre can handle a hefty 1,415 kg (3,120 lb).
To prove the towing point, one of the exercises in Drumheller had my co-driver and myself in a 3.5-litre EcoBoost with a 9,000 lb backhoe on a trailer hooked on the back.
The drive took us not just on the highway, but through downtown Drumheller with trailer back swing an issue in the tight streets.
Not only was this accomplished with no sweat, but after unhooking the trailer, we drove it back 150 km to the airport in Calgary proving that double duty is not a F-150 problem.
As mentioned if you don’t count the SVT Raptor off-road dedicated version of the F-150, there are eight models to chose from with the price walk starting at the XL, STX, XLT, FX2/FX4, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited.
Because of the myriad ways to order a F-150 and even differences from dealer to dealer the best way to look at pricing is to give the “starting at” prices which are: XL, $19,999; STX, $27,299; XL, $30,199; FX2 $39,899; FX4, $45,799; Lariat 4X2, $45,299; Lariat 4X4, $49,499; King Ranch, $60,499 and Platinum, $61,099.
At the top of the ladder and new this year is the Limited ($64,799) which includes all the lux items found on the Lariat and adds a wonderful leather interior in a brick-red hue with flow-through centre console with leather-trimmed lid and laser-engraved serialization plate, and floor shifter with leather-wrapped knob with front bucket seats carrying cloisonne seat back badges plus heated rear outboard seats.
Interior trim continues with aluminum appliques on the centre panel and console ambient lighting, plus bright inserts in door sill scuff plates.
There’s more but you get the picture that Ford sees the Limited as appealing to a whole range of buyers for whom driving home in a work truck is not the same is driving home and making a statement.
I spent most of my time in a fully, and I mean fully, equipped King Ranch SuperCrew cab with four-wheel-drive finished in “Kodiak Brown” exterior paint and “Chapperal” beige leather interior.
Ford says driving one of these really does make you feel like a king and it’s hard to disagree.
The 5.0-litre V8 way out in front of the cabin was almost silent in operation even at highway speeds. With all those Alberta highways running straight as laser beams to the horizon, plugging in the cruise control and just enjoying the ride seems so much more satisfying than doing the same in an econocar.
Anything that helps utility is appreciated in pickups and what stood out for me, literally, was the Box Side Step on each side near the front of the box and the Tailgate Step built into the tailgate.
The former pops in and out with a nudge of the boot. It can support 500 lb and makes accessing a storage box of whatever simple. The latter deploys out when the tailgate is lowered so no one has to try and hop up onto the bed.
Another interesting item was an available off-road monitor that shows a depiction of vehicle pitch, yaw (bank angle) and wheel direction.
I have barely scratched the surface of the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup story.
Obviously, the best advice I can give is to get the brochure, check out the website (ford.ca) and go to dealerships and take some time looking around.
What you’ll find is there is a F-150 built for just about every need or reason and each one is “Built Ford Tough.”
Ford F-150 Pickups
Body Style: light duty pickup.
Drive Method: front-engine, rear/four-wheel-drive.
Engine: 3.5-litre turbocharged V6, (365 hp, 420 lb/ft); 6.2-litre V8 (411 hp, 434 lb/ft); 3.7-litre V6, (302 hp, 278 lb/ft); 5.0-litre V8, 360 hp, 380 lb/ft)
Fuel Economy: (Regular) 3.5-litre, 12.9/9.0L/100 km (32/31 mpg) city/highway; 6.2-litre, 16.5/11.0L/100 km (17/26 mpg); 3.7-litre, 12.6/8.7L/100 km (22/32 mpg); 5.0-litre, 14.1/9.7L/100 km (20/29 mpg)
Tow Rating: 3.7-litre, 2,800 kg (6,100 lb); 5.0-litre, 4,500 kg (10,000 lb); 6.2-litre, 5,126 kg (11,300 lb); 3.5-litre, 5,126 kg (11,300 lb)
Payload: 3.5-litre as tested 1,415 kg (3,120 lb)
Price XL, $19,999; STX, $27,299; XL, $30,199; FX2 $39,899; FX4, $45,799; Lariat 4X2, $45,299; Lariat 4X4, $49,499; King Ranch, $60,499; Platinum, $61,099 and Limited, $64,799