Ford is trying to replace your friends with the 2016 Ford F-150.
Engine: 2.7L EcoBoost V6
Power: 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 6-speed automatic.
EPA Fuel Economy (MPG): 18 city, 22 hwy, 19 combined
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 12.3 city, 9.2 hwy, 10.9 combined
US Pricing: $48,000 as tested
CAN Pricing: $51,699 as tested
No longer do you need a second set of eyes to check your trailer lights; the F-150 will do it for you. Need a buddy to hold a flashlight so you can work in the dark? Nope. The truck’s mirror-mounted spotlights and bed-mounted LED lights will take care of illuminating your work.
Trying to back up a big trailer by yourself? Ford’s new truck even makes that a breeze with almost no experience necessary.
The truck can even give you a massage. Now, if only the F-150 could pick up the next round of beers, it might be an even better friend than most!
Though its all-new aluminum body stole the headlines when the redesigned F-150 hit the market in 2015, the changes to this truck are much more than just skin deep. And the strength of this package starts with the powertrain.
Our test truck came equipped with Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a turbocharged unit that is billed as a smaller and more economical option than the top-dog 3.5-liter EcoBoost. It makes 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, but burying the throttle launches the truck with much more force than the numbers suggest. In fact, gun to my head, I might be hard pressed to tell you if it is the 2.7-liter or the 3.5-liter engine providing power when the trucks are unloaded.
Besides being fast without a load, the turbos help to bring the torque on low in the rev range, providing good pulling power to get your trailer or payload on the move.
The only downside to EcoBoost, and it has been since the first version of Ford’s turbocharged engines were introduced, is fuel economy. While the official ratings peg this truck at 19 mpg combined, seeing averages of closer to 17 mpg isn’t uncommon. Unburdened, hitting the rating certainly isn’t impossible, but adding hard work to the truck’s daily activities means that the turbos are working hard, keeping the fuel flowing.
While we’re griping, there is one other F-150 detail that seems like design took precedent over function; the mirrors. The standard non-tow mirrors follow the ‘F’ motif that is used in much of the truck’s design, making them taller than they are wide, limiting your range of vision. Larger tow mirrors are available for those who want them, but the standard mirrors should really be larger.
Work Hard, Play Hard
What really stands out on the F-150 is its handling. More so than any other half-ton pickup truck, the F-150 corners nice and tight, feeling light on its feet. Big, heavy vehicles have a tendency to push wide through long sweeping corners, whereas the F-150 tucks in and urges you to keep on turning the wheel. If it was pickup truck day at the race track, the F-150 will most certainly provide the most fun and least understeer.
Ride comfort is just OK in the F-150, not quite matching the same plush comfort levels that the GM Silverado and Sierra offer.
When it comes time to work, though, the F-150 is as clever as any truck out there. As mentioned, the host of trailer-specific features means that working alone is actually doable. Not only will the truck verify that the lights on your trailer or working correctly, the info screen between the gauges will also run you through a safety checklist to make sure that you have everything hooked up correctly.
Ford’s rear bed step is still the easiest to use in the business, and with the new generation truck, one of its larger issues was solved; the step no longer needs a large housing to store it in the tailgate, which means that the tailgate on the new truck is completely flat. Bed-mounted LEDs are spreading to all of today’s half-ton pickups, but only Ford offers a rubber button in the bed to turn them on or off, saving you from walking to the cab to operate them.
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For 2016, there is a new system that can’t be ignored; Pro Trailer Backup Assist. For all the info, check out our Feature Focus video, but in short, the system allows you to control the movement of a trailer using a dash-mounted knob. And it works great. It takes the crossed wires out of reversing, with the left turn of the knob sending the rear of the trailer to the left.
Interior design is also work focused. A massive back seat in our SuperCrew model offers a cavernous 43.6-inches of legroom, but most importantly, a totally flat floor is easy to access thanks to rear seats that fold up. Up front, comfortable leather seats with a massage feature help to ease back pain after a long day and a large center storage console will swallow up just about any of the electronics or tools that you need it to.
Our 2016 F-150 Lariat tester cost just about $48,000 in the U.S., which is fair value when you consider some of the luxury car amenities you get like massaging seats, in a vehicle that can tow quite a bit of weight. It’s also right in line with other half-ton pickups, though fully loaded, the F-150 is more expensive than its rivals.
The Verdict: 2016 Ford F-150 Review
As my dad always told me, it’s better to work smart than to work hard, and the F-150 is a genius when it comes to all those little things that can make a hard day’s work breeze by.