July 03


Motorista Meets the F-150

I admit it – trucks have never been my thing.  I appreciate their utility and, having grown up in small-town Texas surrounded by ranch land and dairy farms, I understand how essential they are to many people.  But I have never seen them as anything more than an appliance.  My dad owns a 2003 Ford F-350, and he can pretty much move mountains with it.  But it is fairly unattractive (sorry, Dad), and the interior has little to offer other than tons of rear seat legroom.  In short, I respect trucks, but I have never liked them.

Lately, though, I have seen some pretty good-looking trucks on the road.  The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and most all of the new Rams frequently catch my eye.  So when I recently had the chance to make my acquaintance with a new Ford F-150 XLT, I jumped at the opportunity to take a closer look at the #1-selling vehicle in America.

My ultimate conclusion: Ford has dramatically improved its trucks both inside and out in the last ten years.  Take a look.

Ford F-150 front

Ford F-150 rear

Ford F-150 rear 3-4

Ford F-150 tire wheel

Ford F-150 interior

Ford F-150 dash

Ford F-150 console

The new F-150 looks lighter and sportier than its predecessors, yet no less capable or heavy-duty.  I like the updated design, which is cleaner and more linear and symmetrical.  The massive grille conveys heft, but doesn’t overpower the sleekness of the rest of the body.  This truck looks at home both in the mountains (see above, left) and parked in front of a new condo next to BMWs and Audis.

Although it is difficult to tell from these photos (in person is best), the color on this particular truck was fantastic – what one assumes to be black that, on closer inspection, revealed itself to be a rich brown metallic that sparkles in the sun.  According to the Ford website, this color is called Kodiak Brown.  Highly recommended!

Importantly, for the stiletto-shod, this particular SuperCrew (four-door extended cab) XLT includes running boards as a standard feature.  This is a must with high heels; otherwise, a step-ladder or forklift is required (these options sold separately).  How kind of Ford to include this for its heel-wearing demographic!

Ford F-150 running board

Once hoisted in, I would not mind spending time in the F-150 cabin.  The center stack is clean and attractive, the gauges are easy to read, and the seats are fairly comfortable.  This particular model had cloth seats, which were nice enough, but I would prefer leather.  However, that does not appear to be an option on the XLT trim level, even though the truck you are looking at is around $40,000.  Hmmm…

Standard on the XLT trim level is a front bench seat that includes a third seat that can be folded down into an armrest with cupholders.  This feature was appreciated by our family, since the Ford was called on on more than one occasion to haul six.  If you never need to carry more than five passengers, forego the bench and upgrade for $300 to front bucket seats with a center console.

Ford F-150 front seat

Ford F-150 front seat 2

The backseat area is about the size of my backyard.  The legroom goes on forever.  Again, give me a leather seat, and I would be quite content to spend a great deal of time as a passenger in this F-150.

Ford F-150 rear legroom

Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to drive or ride in the Ford on this particular occasion.  But fear not, dear readers – I do have opinions to pass on from those who did.  My sister, who rented this truck for a family vacation, praised the F-150’s roominess and nice dash, and noted that six passengers could ride comfortably.  She loved the color, but wished that a leather interior was available.  She said she would consider the F-150 if she was in the market for a new truck.  My brother-in-law, who had driving duties, thought the suspension was a bit soft and the bed was too small.  However, he would not rule out the F-150 as a future purchase.  The good news for him, and for others like him who buy trucks mainly for their utility, but also to use as a family vehicle when needed, is that Ford offers a variety of trim levels and options, including bed size, cab size, and everything in between, to address a modern truck owner’s needs and wants.

All in all, I was impressed with the Ford F-150, and understand why it has consistently been a top seller for Ford.

You could fit a LOT of shoeboxes in that back seat.