2016 F-150 New Car Test Drive
Ford went radically lean when it redesigned the Ford F-150 for 2015, giving its ever-popular full-size pickup an aluminum-intensive body. Visual appearance didn't change much, considering the dramatic re-skinning. Though the big pickup remains upright in profile, the F-150 lost 500 pounds or more.
For 2016, Ford F-150 gets a new SYNC 3 infotainment to replace the much-criticized MyFordTouch. Formerly a separate model, the off-road-focused FX4 is now an option package. Otherwise, little has changed for 2016.
The F-150 has been the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for ages, up against its perennial rivals: Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, plus Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
Nothing appears to have been diminished by going light, and Ford's 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is especially impressive. However, some voice concern about the cost of repairing the aluminum body.
In the aluminum generation, Ford is focusing on turbocharged EcoBoost engines. One V8 remains, plus three V6 engines (two of them twin-turbo). Making 283 horsepower, the basic 3.5-liter V6 permits towing up to 7,600 pounds. The optional 2.7-liter turbo V6 produces 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, for an 8,500-pound towing capacity.
Stepping up a big notch, a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, eking out 420 pound-feet, raises the peak towing figure to 12,200 pounds. Ford's familiar 5.0-liter V8 delivers 385 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque.
All engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission. F-150 pickups come with either rear-drive or four-wheel drive.
Nearly all F-150 buyers opt for a SuperCab or a SuperCrew, with four full-size front-hinged doors. Regular-cab models remain, but are mainly aimed at fleet duty.
Plenty of safety technology is available, including a second-row inflatable seatbelt and Curve Control for braking assistance. An F-150 can be equipped with blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. A lane-keeping system nudges the truck back into its lane when sensors detect crossing of the double-yellow line. New optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist simplifies backing into a driveway or boat launch. That system performs the actual steering.
Ford's Super Crew earned a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An optional camera set provides a 360-degree view around the truck, helpful for parking or easing into a garage.
The 2016 Ford F-150 lineup has been scaled down to XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum.
F-150 XL is available with any cargo bed or cab, and the base V6 is available for SuperCrew. Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, manual windows and locks, AM/FM stereo, vinyl floor, manual air conditioning, and tilt/telescopic steering wheel. F-150 XLT adds CD player, cruise control, power windows and locks, cloth front seats, and SYNC.
F-150 Lariat comes with turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 or 5.0-liter V8 engine. Standard are leather-trimmed and heated front seats, satellite radio, rearview camera, pushbutton start, power-adjustable pedals.
F-150 King Ranch is Crew Cab only, with a shorter bed and V8, or with 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 optional. Features posh leather, heated/cooled front seats, inflatable rear seatbelts, Sony audio, navigation, rear parking sensors, and remote tailgate release.
Platinum edition has LED headlights, blind-spot monitors, power running boards, remote start, remote tailgate release, rear parking sensors, and 20-inch wheels.