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Auto Corner: The Ford F-150 Makes Other Trucks Look Like Sissies

25 October 2010  

2010 Ford F-150 is bigger, more comfortable, gets better mileage.

f150exteriorThe Japanese have built some great vehicles, but if there’s any auto turf the Yankees still own, it’s the turf of full-size pickups. Yes, Nissan’s Titan is a beautiful truck, so is the Toyota Tundra, but neither can tow as comfortably or haul a bed of dry cement bags as gracefully as Ford’s F-150.

Truck buyers seem to know this, as F-150 remains the best selling pickup in North America. Those who tow and haul count on the good folks of Dearborn, Michigan (Ford’s headquarters and home to a F-150 plant) to build a pickup that is both comfortable and reliable.

The F-150 retains those core values and improves for 2010. It also looks manlier than ever. In fact, the new F-150 can make you feel like your voice is two octaves lower and your shoes are work boots. It’s the kind of getaway vehicle the Terminator might drive. The vehicle you’d want for outrunning a supernatural force, plowing through living rooms and over small mountains.

Before we go any further, allow me to educate you in basic truckspeak. Ford’s F-150 is comparable to Chevrolet and Dodge’s 1500 series. They are powerful but designed primarily for civilian use. Next step up (and less comfortable for civilian use) is Ford’s F-250, which competes with Chevrolet and Dodge’s 2500 series’, and so the numbers climb higher and manlier. Unless you plan on towing more than 10,000 pounds daily, shop the 150/1500 category, which includes Japan’s recent entries.

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Ford’s F-150 can be purchased with three different engines. I’d recommend the 310-horsepower 5.4 liter V-8, which pulled my boat trailer easily on a long trip. The F-150 was so controlled and the interior so comfortable that I almost forgot I was hauling a trailer.

Inside, buyers can choose from a hoard of options that inflate the feel and price of this truck to luxury levels. In fact, the new “Platinum” edition F-150 boasts more options than the Lincoln pickup that Ford recently phased out. Think inside of a loaded Lincoln Navigator, and you’ve got the right idea.
Buyers who opt for the four-door Supercab will be especially pleased with the F-150. In many four-door pickups, backseat passengers are forced to sit straight up, with hardly any legroom. Not so in the new F-150. Rearmost passengers here could mistake this backseat for a nice sedan.

All those passengers will be riding in safety, too, with side curtain airbags for all. The F-150 earned five out of five stars in head-on collisions and took top marks in other demolitions, too.

My only real complaint about the F-150 is the unruly number of available trim and option levels. There are so many packages that I can’t summarize them. Thankfully, dealerships have F-150’s already outfitted, so you can decide what options you like by looking and feeling, rather than by learning Ford’s secret language.

All in all, the F-150 remains one of the best pickup trucks in the world. Any truck buyer would be foolish to not test-drive the F-150 before plopping down money on a new hauler.

© 2009 John Dickerson, Horsepower Auto Reviews


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John Dickerson, Auto Reviews

Each month John Dickerson tests a worthy car. From smoking teenagers at stoplights to cramming groceries and small appliances into the trunk, Dickerson examines the features you actually care about, like how well a spilled mocha cleans off the upholstery. Dickerson was raised on industrial pollution, deer venison and American steel in Detroit, Michigan. His co-workers often find him in a trance, slumped over his keyboard, uttering words like “torque steer, horsepower-to-displacement ratio” and “nav system.”