The Ford F-150 truck lineup is available with a wide variety of choices. There are seven unique levels of trim or models: the base XL; an XLT trim; the Lariat; the King Ranch version; a Platinum trim; and the off-road king, the Raptor. Three cab configurations are available: a Regular Cab; a SuperCab; and the SuperCrew. There are five engines from which to choose: a 3.3-liter Ti-VCT 290 horsepower V6 FFV; a 2.7-liter 325 horse EcoBoost; a 3.5-liter 375 horsepower gas V6; a 3.5-liter EcoBoost high output 450 horsepower V6; and a 5.0-liter TiVCT V8 FFV that makes 395 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 400 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm.
Need more choices? There’s a six-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission with selectable drive modes (normal, tow/haul and sport (3.3-liter engine only) and a ten-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission with selectable drive modes (normal, tow/haul, snow/wet, eco-select and sport) and progressive range select (not available with the 3.3-liter V6). Three bed choices exist – a standard box – (5.5 ft.); a longbox-(6.5 ft.) and an 8.0 foot box. Would you like a Rear-Wheel Drive hauler or a 4×4 configuration? Standard fuel tank capacity is 26.0 gallons, with an optionally available 36.0 gallon tank
The aluminum-bodied, steel frame Ford F-150 is a top pick among pickup truckers, and it doesn’t hurt that this latest iteration hauler leads off with bolder, more attractive styling. Following the more horizontally pronounced headlight treatment and new grille design is where you’ll note the most significant changes. For instance, Ford scaled down the F-150’s base engine from a 3.5-liter to a 3.3- liter via a reduction in the bore size, leaving the stroke the same. The engine now employs a combination of both port and direct fuel injection increasing the compression ratio from 10.8:1 to 12.0:1. as well as boosting the horsepower by 8 and the pound feet of torque by 12.
The EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 is standard on Lariat trim F-150s, and is available as a $995 option XL and XLT models qualifying it as a “second generation” example. And featuring the same the same dual-injection capability as the 3.3-liter, along with a new exhaust-gas-recirculation (EGR) system and reduced internal friction. Despite their incremental nature, the Powertrain updates and enhancements register as pluses.
For die-hard traditionalists, the familiar rumble and tried and true power delivery power delivery of the 5.0-liter can’t be beat. The 10-speed tranny has the ability to lock, unlock, or even partially lock its torque converter maximizing efficiency or to smooth out shifts. In normal driving scenarios, the transmission skips gears when accelerating and decelerating, avoiding shift pileups, and running sequentially through each single gear only when under full throttle or when driven in mild mannered fashion.
In terms of other enhancements, Ford chose to leave well enough alone. The 2018 F-150’s interior is a carryover with no changes except for a few new color treatments and a plush upgrade upgrade for the King Ranch model. There’s now an onboard 4G LTE data connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot for the optional Sync 3 infotainment system capable of connecting up to 10 personal devices. The driving position is excellent with ideal forward vision making for easier maneuverability.
The F-150 offers adaptive cruise control for the first time, capable of bringing it to a complete stop in traffic and accelerating again (provided each stop lasts fewer than three seconds). Forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automated emergency braking are other added features.
The F-150 comes with a heftier rear axle on the most towing-focused variants raising its maximum gross combined weight rating. The highest payload for the F-150 remains at 3,270 pounds.
My test 2018 Ford F-150 was in the SuperCrew Cab configuration which came with the King Ranch trim and featuring the preferred Equipment Group, King Ranch chrome appearance, Twin Panel Moonroof, the Technology Package, a spray-in bedliner. It wore a Ruby Red metallic exterior finish and the leather interior was executed in a new Kingville tone. The base sticker read $55,025., which came to $65,675 after factoring in the optional fare and the Destination and Delivery charge.
The 2018 F-150 SuperCab pickup is a most impressive hauler – tougher, smarter and more capable than ever. Overall, the F-150 lineup displays a simplified attractive and clean appearance. In other words, it’s now really attractive.
Driving the plush King Ranch F-150 is more akin to piloting a family sedan, but with considerably more flexibility, versatility and purpose, and with a distinctively western flavor. The ride quality is comfortable in either the front or back seat of the SuperCrew models (the backseat is adequate in SuperCab models) and the handling is nimble and responsive, especially considering its nearly three ton mass.
Acceleration is brisk – perhaps not as brisk with the smaller displacement turbocharged engines, but the old-school V8 rumble is more satisfying.
The damped, locking tailgate still houses the handy stowable step and assist handle that makes climbing up into the bed easy and convenient.
In the final analysis, the 2018 aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 lineup is likely to create a trend for other truck manufacturers. The King Ranch F-150 is up to the task, no matter what the task happens to be – hauling a load of hay out to the north 40 or donning one’s best ranching (as in Rhinestone Cowboy) duds and boots for the Grange barn dance.
SPECIFICATIONS: Ford F-150 4×4 SuperCrew King Ranch
Base Price: $55,025.
Price as Tested: $65,675.
Engine Type and Size: 5.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valave,Ti-VCT V8 FFV and Auto Stop/Start.
Horsepower (bhp): 395 @ 5,750 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 400 @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed SelectShift® automatic with selectable drive modes, progressive range select, and Tow.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / 4×4
Suspension: Front –Double Wishbone.
Rear – Leaf.
Brakes: Power assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS.
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler 215/35 R20 M&S mounted on 6 sculpted -spoke chrome alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 122.4-163.7 inches
Length Overall: 209.3-250.5 inches
Width: 79.9 inches
Height: 75.1-77.3 inches
Curb Weight: 4,500-5,500 lbs.
Turning Circle: 47.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 23 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 22 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.
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