What It Is: If you don’t know what a Ford F-150 is, then we’re really wondering where, exactly, it is that you’ve been living. This ubiquitous and all-American pickup truck has been the best-selling vehicle in the land for decades. Its current iteration, in which the F-series moved to aluminum construction, debuted for the 2015 model year and received an update for 2018 that included new powertrains and freshened styling along with some new features. But it’s facing a wave of new competition from the redesigned 2019 versions of the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra, and the Ram 1500 that will go on sale soon.
For even deeper coverage of the F-150, view our Buyer’s Guide in-depth review.
Why We Tested It and How It Performed: This lightly optioned crew-cab version ended up being an unlikely and unassuming hot-rod truck, equipped as it was with the optional 395-hp 5.0-liter V-8 engine, rear-wheel drive, and the 10-speed automatic transmission that was added for 2018. With a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds and a quarter-mile run of 14.0 seconds at 103 mph, it was the quickest F-150 we’ve ever tested—excepting the 450-hp Raptor. That it weighed 559 pounds less than a V-8–powered, four-wheel-drive, fully loaded, $61,745 F-150 Platinum we recently tested surely aided in this strong performance.
What We Like: That V-8 engine, while not as torquey or as technologically advanced as the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine that has become the mainstay of the F-150 range, remains a delightful truck engine with a powerful sound and a smooth, linear power curve. The new 10-speed automatic does a good job sending the torque to the wheels, suffering from none of the confusion that you might expect from a transmission with so many gears. Refinement is a strong point, too, as the F-150 drives with a quiet and confident solidity.
What We Don’t Like: Although it’s refreshing to see a pickup that’s not larded with luxury features, paying $44,340 for a truck with cloth seats, manual climate control, and a tiny central display screen with few connectivity functions strikes us as a tad unreasonable given today’s democratization of technology and convenience features. By skipping options such as a $945 Chrome Appearance package and the niceties offered with the XLT trim level tested here, the same capable powertrain combination can be had for less than $40,000, a more reasonable sum for a relatively basic work truck.
Verdict: V-8 plus rear-wheel drive plus a light load of options equals a quick and satisfying F-150.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
PRICE AS TESTED: $44,340 (base price: $37,635)
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 307 cu in, 5038 cc
Power: 395 hp @ 5750 rpm
Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 13.8-in vented disc/13.7-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook DynaPro HT, 265/60R-18 110T M+S
Wheelbase: 145.0 in
Length: 231.9 in
Width: 79.9 in Height: 75.6 in
Passenger volume: 136 cu ft
Curb weight: 4725 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.3 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.0 sec @ 103 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 106 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.79 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY:
Observed: 16 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 21 mpg
Highway range: 540 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 19/17/23 mpg