2019 Ford F-150 review: Popular pickup keeps on truckin'
The Ford F-150 is a hugely successful truck. Now in its 13th generation, Ford's F-Series has been America's best-selling pickup for over 40 years, and the outright best-selling automobile in the US for over 30.
For 2019, the F-150 stays the course, providing several powertrain options, loads of reconfigurability and, of course, lots of capability for all that truck stuff.
Strong turbo power
The 2019 Ford F-150 is available with two- or four-wheel drive, and buyers can choose from three cab configurations: Regular (single), SuperCab (extended) or SuperCrew (double). Customers can choose from three bed lengths, depending on cab, and there are myriad options to be had across all trims, starting with the $28,1585 XL all the way up to the $67,135 Limited.
One of the biggest draws of the F-150 is its wide array of powertrain options. Drivers can pick from a 3.3-liter V6, 5.0-liter V8, diesel-burning 3.0-liter V6 or a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6. Finally, there's the engine I have in this truck: a turbocharged, 2.7-liter V6. This may be the F-150's smallest engine in terms of outright displacement, but it still packs a healthy punch.
The 2.7-liter engine puts out 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for this fullsize pickup. In fact, this F-150 XLT model is pretty spry, with lots of mid-range torque for passing and a smooth-shifting, 10-speed automatic transmission that's willing to downshift two or three gears at a time if quick acceleration is required. On twisty backroads, the F-150 handles... like a truck, which is to say large and in charge, but with accurate steering and firm brakes.
My tester has the optional FX4 off-road package, which includes an electronically locking rear differential, skid plates and upgraded front shocks. Because of these upgrades, the F-150's ride is sightly softer than other XLT models, but folks looking for a really smooth ride will want to check out the 2019 Ram 1500 with its optional self-leveling air suspension.
With the 2.7-liter engine, this Ford F-150 is EPA-estimated to return 19 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. During my week with the truck, I saw 19.3 -- a little disappointing, considering this is the F-150's most efficient gas engine. You might do a little better with the 3.0-liter diesel, which is rated at 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with four-wheel drive. Spec a two-wheel-drive, diesel-powered F-150 and those numbers increase dramatically: 22 city, 30 highway and 25 combined.
When it comes to payload and towing, it's all about your truck's configuration -- wheelbase, driveline, engine and gearing all play their role. For this particular tester, I'm looking at about 1,700 pounds of payload and 7,600 pounds of towing capacity. Option the F-150 up with a bigger engine and different gearing, and you can haul as much as 3,000 pounds of payload and pull 13,000 pounds behind you.
While Ford was one of the first automakers to bring driver-assistance tech like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to a fullsize pickup, this tech is only available on the Lariat trim and above. My XLT tester, on the other hand, comes with the newly standard forward collision warning with braking assist, as well as the optional blind-spot monitoring that can account for the length of a trailer, as well as the trick trailer back-up assist tech that makes reversing while towing a super-simple process.
Great cabin tech
Fortunately, infotainment technology is always in high supply. The company's Sync 3 infotainment system is housed on an 8-inch touchscreen, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen is responsive to inputs, and has clear, crisp graphics. This has always been one of Roadshow's favorite in-car multimedia systems.
A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot can support up to 10 devices, which helps if you find yourself out of your phone's coverage area. Inside the F-150, you'll find a smattering of USB ports for both front- and rear-seat passengers, as well as a 12-volt outlet.
While the XLT trim doesn't have niceties like wireless charging or a 360-degree camera, it makes up for that with a huge interior with lots of storage space. The center console is deep enough for a laptop or purse, while smaller items can be kept in a little nearby cubby. The doors have large, deep pockets, and the rear seats fold up to better accommodate taller items. There's even a bin under the rear seats for additional storage.
Pricing and competition
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado also offers a 2.7-liter, turbocharged engine, but it's a four-cylinder motor, not a V6. The F-150 puts out more power and torque than the Chevy , yet nets nearly the same fuel economy -- when I tested the 2.7-liter Silverado, I saw 19.6 mpg combined. However, the turbocharged Silverado can't match the F-150's towing ability, even if it can haul more payload -- some 2,280 pounds worth.
This four-wheel-drive F-150 XLT starts around $44,000. The 2.7-liter engine is a $995 upgrade, and the FX4 package is an additional $905 on top of that. Add a few options here and a few options there, and suddenly this lower-spec XLT is a $55,755 truck, not including $1,595 for destination. For me, I might consider forgoing things like the moonroof or sport appearance package, and instead move up to a Lariat model so I can get some better driver-assistance tech.
Still, no matter which F-150 you choose, you're getting America's best-selling truck, and it's easy to see why so many people flock to Ford dealerships for pickup purchases. A comfortable ride, smooth transmission make this truck easy to drive, and myriad options and configurations mean there really is something for everyone.