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Ford F-150 gains new tech-rich Limited flagship for 2016

Ford's aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup gains even more premium-car touches and technology for 2016 as automakers race to court luxury-truck buyers.

2016 Ford F150 Limited
Ford fills its new Limited trim F-150 with luxury cabin appointments and all the tech. Ford Motor

The world of pickup trucks has come a long way since the days of bare-bones workhorses, and even today's most basic examples offer a surprising amount of refinement. And while demand for full-size trucks is robust, it's the sales of so-called Cowboy Cadillac premium pickups that are really going bananas. It's a luxury arms race that shows no signs of stopping. The latest salvo? Ford's reborn F-150 Limited. Like other existing models in this segment, the new-for-2016 trim is an "all-boxes-checked" assault on luxury-truck supremacy.

As with the 2013-2014 model-year Limited trim on the last-generation F-150, this top-shelf truck features the expected phalanx of brighter-is-better touches. For 2016, that means model-exclusive 22-inch polished alloys, a unique grille finish, bumpers with chrome and body-color elements, and the requisite amount of showy Limited badging. In fact, there's enough flash on display to satisfy your average Cadillac Escalade buyer.

But it's not just a lather of chrome frosting that Ford has chosen to set the Limited apart from lesser F-150s. Indeed, it's not even the interior's unique Mojave premium leather, real fiddleback eucalyptus wood trim (the sort of timber usually reserved for models from Bentley), unique gauge faces or the model's serialized badging. It's the tech.

Ford has consistently positioned its new aluminum-bodied F-150 as an advanced showcase, and this new Limited incorporates just about every bit of tech wizardry the Blue Oval has in its arsenal, including class-exclusives like massaging seats, panoramic moonroof, adaptive cruise control and LED headlamps. An available technology package includes Ford's recently announced dynamic trailer hitch assistant, 360-degree camera system, and lane-keep assist.

The automaker has also confirmed that the F-150 Limited will be among the first models to receive its long-awaited Sync 3, a new BlackBerry QNX-based infotainment architecture designed to supplant its much-maligned MyFordTouch system developed with Microsoft.

Pricing for the Limited has not yet been released, but expect it to be costlier than today's current king-of-the-hill trim, Platinum, which starts at $52,780 delivered.

As Ford Truck spokesperson Mike Levine tells CNET, "We've not yet found the ceiling in the luxury-truck market." Indeed, as John Krafcik, president of TrueCar recently noted on Twitter, Ford's F-Series is "crushing it with [an] all-time record pickup truck ATP of $46,573." By the automotive pricing and data company's own estimates, that average transaction price points to a whopping increase of 8.1 percent year over year.

Expect the new Limited model to push that number even higher when it rolls into dealerships this winter.