First Drive: 2013 Ford F-150

DriveApart -

By

f150-top

F-150′s cabin really impresses. I think the elegance and sophistication (no kidding) of the F-150 is one of the keys to the truck’s success. Controls are laid out intelligently, and buttons and knobs are beefy and manly without tipping over into cartoonish excess (I’m talking to you, Tundra). I’m not a big fan of the MyFordTouch/SYNC system anymore, as it has grown more and more complex with each generation. Make sure that you get your salesperson to demonstrate your favorite, most frequent operations with the system, and be sure that you can live with the results.

The Good

• Lots of history
• Plenty of choices
• Great torque from EcoBoost
• Near luxury levels available for interior

The Bad

• No diesel
• Packaging scheme is overwhelming, and costs add up quickly
• 8.0′ box only available with Regular Cab
• EcoBoost engine fuel economy is disappointing
• MyFordTouch system can be complicated to learn and operate

Front
2013 Ford F-150 front view.

Price

F-150 starts at $24,070 for an XL 4×2 Regular Cab with a 6.5′ box and 3.7-liter V6 engine. There are ten models up from there: STX ($26,345); XLT ($29,460); FX2 ($36,030); Lariat ($36,680); FX4 ($39,610); King Ranch ($43,920); SVT Raptor ($44,035); Platinum ($46,945); and Limited ($50,025). Four-wheel drive adds about $3,500 to most models (it’s included with FX4 and SVT Raptor). Check all the boxes on a Limited, and you can find yourself signing up for a $55,570 F-150.

A trailer tow package is required on some models, included on others. It comes with a Class IV trailer hitch receiver, a 7-pin wiring harness, an upgraded radiator, an auxiliary transmission oil cooler and SelectShift automatic transmission. There’s also an available trailer brake controller.

My test vehicle was a 2013 Ford F-150 FX4 SuperCab with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, base price $38,765 – $49,835 as tested. Pricing, though wide, is on a par with the other full-size light duty pickups, including the new Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, RAM 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. The EcoBoost engine is the real differentiator, and adds a couple of grand to the bottom line.

Cabin
2013 Ford F-150 opened up.

Verdict

I don’t envy GM, RAM, Toyota and Nissan. They’ve been chasing after F-150 for years, and every time they catch up, Ford updates its design with new features and additional capabilities. We’re in one of those spaces right now where GM, RAM and Toyota are all fresh and new, while a new F-150 (and Nissan Titan) are still a year away, so the playing field looks pretty level. Honestly, it’s almost a matter of taste which pickup truck you buy right now, they’re all so closely matched on features, capabilities and prices. RAM has the advantage with a diesel-powered light duty truck; Ford’s EcoBoost is the only turbo V6. I’d choose the Ford out of the bunch, mostly because I’m shallow, and I like the way it looks the most. Your choice could easily be different – just be sure that you choose a configuration that has the capabilities you require. If you can wait until 2015, you’ll get a shot at a new F-150, or wait even longer and see how the other guys respond.

DriveApart Rating: 9/10

F-150 has gotten more feature-laden with each generation. What features do you need in a pickup truck? Are there any that Ford has missed?

Related Links:
Best: 2014 Trucks and SUVs For Towing and Hauling
First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
First Drive: 2014 Toyota Tundra

More Pictures – Page 3 >>

  • Von

    But it’s still a Ford. All their vehicles are rated below average by Consumer Reports in reliability, except for the F-150 which is just average. Reliability is horrible in Ford in general. They took 5 of the 10 spots of most unreliable new car models, not one Toyota, Subaru or Honda made the list. I have a 2013 Focus and it’s been in the shop four times in the four months I’ve owned it. It still has issues. Broken sun visor, noisy door seals, rattling doors, clunky suspension, water inside headlight after rain, poor bottom end performance unless Premium and K&N air filter are run, etc. Focus is 90% worse than average in reliability according to CR and the F150 is not recommended by CR because of declining reliability in the 3.5L. I think a lot of us leave reliability out of the equation when buying a car, I did. Now I’m stuck wanting to sell a four month old brand new car! Ugh. I’ve always owned Subaru, Nissan, Toyota and not an issue. My 2003 Corolla has 208,000 miles and still runs like a champ getting 35mpg! I’ll never buy American again. Just sayin’…

    http://autos.yahoo.com/news/the-10-least-reliable-cars-181031192.html

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/TVNews/Nightly%20News/2013%20Stories/60-65_CR_Autos_Reliability_122K13.pdf

    • Richard Gozinya

      Wow, there’s people who actually still trust Consumer Reports?

  • Isambard

    Kinda surprised that the towing capacity of the base V6 is less than my 08 Ranger, which is essentially a 30-year-old design with a newer though hardly brawny SOHC motor.

  • Ayabe

    “Three engines are available for Silverado:”

    ??

    As nice as these are, I just can’t fathom dropping 50K on a pickup.

  • Tiberiuswise

    “• 8.0′ box only available with Regular Cab”

    False. You can get the Supercab with the 8 foot box.

    • Jason Fogelson

      I stand corrected. The 8.0′ box can be ordered up with SuperCab, but only on XL and XLT models. In my defense, the matrix of models and options for F-150 is extremely complex. Bummed that I missed that.

  • Guest

    Nevermind, I thought you were speaking generally not in terms of towing capacity, my bad

  • Dan Sciannameo

    I am finishing my first year with a F-150 Limited. I previously had 4 Range Rovers. Yes, the RRs were more sophisticated and the F-150 rides like what it is, a truck. But I am very happy thus far with it.

  • n00b

    I am currently driving my 6th F150 since my first in 1988. Teh 2013 is amazing. I didn’t want the Ecoboost at first but the dealership made me a great deal so I took it. I couldn’t be happier.

  • ticticticboom

    Reliability was certainly not an issue for me. I drove an 05 Supercrew Lariat w a 5.0 V8 for 7 years and 120,000 miles with nothing but tires, oil, filters and one set of new spark plugs. I never even had the scheduled maintenance done.