First Drive: 2013 Ford F-150

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 4x2 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:
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First Drive:2014 Toyota Tundra

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