The 2018 F-150 has to be many things to many people. From work truck to cruiser, off-road vehicle to boat hauler, there is an F-150 for virtually every task. As a result, the lineup is diverse. There are four engines available on the F-150, six trims and several body options.
The most basic engine is a 3.3L V6, which produces 295 horsepower, allowing for a tow rating of 7,600 pounds, which bests other competitors when equipped with their basic V6 engines. The next step up is a 2.7L turbocharged V6 that makes 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. A bigger 3.5L turbocharged V6 makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, helping the F-150 rate a class-leading towing spec of 12,200 pounds. The top-of-the-line 5.0L V8 makes 395 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.
Trims include XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. The basic XL trim is available with three different cab sizes and three different bed lengths in either 2WD or 4WD configurations. Owing to its work-truck pretensions, the XL is relatively light on bells and whistles, with just basic utilities like an AM/FM radio and a 4.2-inch screen in the center stack.
The XLT, while still relatively basic, adds chrome bumpers, Ford's SYNC 3 system, fog lamps, an alarm, air conditioning, automatic headlamps, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows, a powered tailgate and power door locks.
Lariat-trimmed F-150s start to venture into more luxurious territory and are only available with extended or crew cab cabins. Standard equipment on the Lariat includes power folding door mirrors, a rearview camera, 18-inch wheels, ambient interior lighting, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a power sliding rear window, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-trimmed seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, SiriusXM satellite radio and an 8-inch touchscreen.
King Ranch versions come standard with the 5.0L V8 engine, a crew cab cabin and 2-tone exterior paint. Other features on the King Ranch include LED box lighting, LED headlamps, lots of exterior chrome, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and an auto-dimming feature on the driver's side, a remote starter, heated front and rear seats, wood interior trim and dual zone climate control.
The Platinum version is the urban cousin to the King Ranch trim. Like the King Ranch, it's only available with a crew cab and the V8. It also features a voice-activated navigation system, unique 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, LED side mirror spotlights, power deployable running boards, aluminum interior trim and a leather wrapped and heated steering wheel.
Finally, the Limited trim rides on 22-inch wheels and makes standard a whole range of convenience items that are optional on lesser trims. These include a 360-degree camera with split-view display, remote tailgate release, a twin-panel moonroof and more.
You might imagine that we at Roadshow spend all our time driving performance cars at full throttle. That couldn't be further from the truth, especially in winter, when our Midwest contingent instead spends its time dodging potholes, avoiding snowdrifts and watching for black ice. Yet there is, it turns out, one performance vehicle that's just as much fun during the onset of the Polar Vortex as any other time: the Ford F-150 Raptor. The go-anywhere and get-there-fast pickup truck enters the 2019 model year with a handful of changes that make it, almost unbelievably, even more capable.
The biggest change since our last in-depth review of a Ford F-150 Raptor is the addition of clever electronically controlled shock absorbers. The Fox Racing Live Valve shocks' damping curves can be adjusted in real time by the Raptor's onboard computers. As Roadshow Executive Editor Chris Paukert discovered last fall, that makes the truck even better able to bounce and bound around off-road -- especially given that new Jump Mode control logic tweaks the shocks to better cope with departures and arrivals from terra firma.
Even the hardiest Raptor driver, however, will have to spend some time on asphalt, and it's there that the Fox suspension seems to have had the greatest effect. Where the last Raptor I drove listed like a sailboat around bends, the 2019 model exhibits remarkably solid body control that provides a whole lot more confidence on the road. The adaptive shock absorbers essentially avoid that traditional compromise of off-road trucks, which is that the soft suspension settings you need to handle rocks and bumps result in a vague and wallowing ride-and-handling mix.
The Good The Ford Raptor is as capable on-road as off, looks supercool and can still tow your trailer.
The Bad It's huge, it's expensive and it's thirsty. Duh.
The Bottom Line Like nothing else on sale today, the Raptor can do it all.
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