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2017 Ford F-150 Review

April 18th, 2017

You’ll easily find a pickup that meets your needs in the diverse 2017 Ford F-150 lineup. The F-150 boasts high tow and payload ratings and some of the best fuel economy in the light-duty segment. The off-road-ready Raptor is back, too, and ready to dominate any terrain you put in front of it.

The latest generation F-150 offers all the performance you need along with a refined modern touch. It has some features such as the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, which allows you to control the direction of your trailer with a simple dashboard mounted knob. There’s also the F-150’s impressively quick Sync 3 infotainment system, a quiet cabin, and all the available luxury amenities you could ask for. Aluminum body panels and an aluminum bed (rather than traditional steel) help make the 2017 F-150 the lightest truck in its class, too. Put it all together and you’ve got one of our favorite trucks on the road.

pros

  • Impressively high tow and payload ratings
  • Lots of available comfort, convenience and safety tech
  • Wide number of available engines
  • Raptor version is outstanding off-road

cons

  • Aluminum body panels can be more expensive to repair than steel
  • Ride is somewhat stiff when the bed is empty
  • We found it difficult to match the 2.7-liter engine’s EPA ratings

what’s new

The 2017 Ford F-150 gets several major updates. Ford has redesigned the optional turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine and paired it with a new 10-speed transmission. The new engine and transmission deliver better fuel economy while packing more horsepower and torque than before. The off-road-oriented Raptor model also returns this year with a high-output version of the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine. There’s also a new STX Appearance package that adds additional features to the XL.

we recommend

Several engines are available for the F-150, but one is a standout. The newly redesigned 3.5-liter V6 and its accompanying 10-speed automatic are an extremely appealing combo, and we’d have a hard time picking a different engine from the F-150 lineup. The Lariat offers a good balance between luxury and everyday pickup usability, so we’d go with that one. It’s not much more than the XLT equipped with the 302A package, with which it shares most of its features. And since we’re social creatures, we’d give our friends breathing room that only the cavernous SuperCrew affords.

trim levels & features

There’s a deep catalog of features, options, packages, engines and bed configurations for the 2017 Ford F-150, and we’ll help you sort through them all. The F-150 is available in six primary trim levels: base XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. There’s also a high-performance off-road Raptor variant that exists outside the standard lineup. The XL with the 101A package makes for a decent work truck, but you should upgrade to at least the XLT with the 301A package for a passenger-friendly pickup. The Lariat is the gateway to the luxury truck you’ve been saving for.

The Ford F-150 is available in three cab styles: regular, SuperCab (extended) and SuperCrew (crew cab). Three bed lengths are offered, depending on which cab style is chosen: a 6.5- or a 8-foot bed is available on regular and SuperCabs, and the SuperCrew is eligible only for a 5.5- or a 6.5-foot bed.

Several engines are available, starting with a 3.5-liter V6 (282 horsepower, 253 pound-feet). A turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 is next (325 hp, 375 lb-ft), followed by a 5.0-liter V8 (385 hp, 387 lb-ft). All are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (375 hp, 470 lb-ft) leads the pack, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Any of the above engines can be ordered on the humble XL work truck.

Speaking of the base XL, its standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, trailer sway control, pre-wired trailer connections, manual mirrors and windows, vinyl flooring, a cloth-upholstered 40/20/40-split front bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, air-conditioning, a 4.2-inch central display screen and a four-speaker radio with an auxiliary jack. SuperCab and SuperCrew models receive 60/40-split folding rear seats and two additional speakers, and any 4×4 model gets front tow hooks. The 3.5-liter engine is standard on most XL configurations. The turbocharged 2.7-liter is mandatory on certain versions of the 4×2 extended-cab and crew-cab models, while the 5.0-liter comes on 4×4 versions of those models.

An optional 101A package adds power windows and locks (including the tailgate), power mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, Ford’s MyKey vehicle control feature, a bigger driver information screen, Sync voice controls, Bluetooth, smartphone app integration, a USB port and a CD player.

Other XL add-ons include chrome and sport appearance packages, the FX4 Off-Road package, side steps, a tailgate assist step, drop-in or spray-in bedliners, remote vehicle tracking and trailer tow packages with Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist system (essentially a self-steering system to simplify backing up with a trailer).

The XLT trim includes the XL’s optional 101A package along with alloy wheels, chrome bumpers and exterior trim, foglights, a keypad entry system, rear privacy glass, carpeting, four-way-adjustable headrests, manual driver and passenger lumbar adjustments, and additional interior storage bins and pockets.

For the XLT, there are a few options. The Mid 301A option package adds heated mirrors, an auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirror, a trailer hitch, a cargo management system with four tie-down cleats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), power-adjustable pedals, rear under-seat storage, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio. The Luxury 302A package includes those items along with a power-sliding rear window, rear parking sensors, LED bed lighting, remote ignition, heated and 10-way power-adjustable front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), a 110-volt power outlet, an 8-inch touchscreen (with Sync 3, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and an additional USB port. Notable standalone options include box side steps, a regular sunroof (SuperCab), a panoramic sunroof (SuperCrew), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, inflatable rear seat belts and a navigation system.

When you step up to the F-150 Lariat, many of the XLT’s Luxury 302A features come standard; the turbocharged 2.7-liter engine is also standard. You also get 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power-folding mirrors, an 8-inch driver information display with expanded capabilities, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver-seat memory settings, ambient lighting, leather upholstery and ventilated front seats.

In addition to many of the options offered on the XLT, the Lariat is also eligible for the Mid 501A package and Luxury 502A packages. The Mid 501A package includes the rest of the 302A’s features plus a remote tailgate release and front-facing spotlights, while the Luxury 502A package adds LED headlights and taillights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, front bucket seats, heated rear outboard seats (SuperCrew), a navigation system, Sync Connect and an 11-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio. Other options include lane departure warning, power-deployable running boards, a surround-view camera system, an automated parallel parking system, and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.

The King Ranch trim is only offered as a SuperCrew and builds on the Luxury 502A package with a Western styling theme inside and out and with the 5.0-liter V8 underhood. With a bit more conventional luxury equipment, the Platinum trim adds 20-inch wheels, power-deployable running boards, and wood and aluminum interior trim. Essentially at the top of the range is the F-150 Limited, which comes with the turbocharged 3.5-liter motor, 22-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery in the front, unique styling details and many of the F-150’s optional features as standard.

The off-road-focused F-150 Raptor features a specially tuned version of the turbocharged 3.5-liter engine (450 hp, 510 lb-ft). Its feature set is similar to the XLT’s but gets a reinforced frame, a special four-wheel-drive system, a modified, long-travel suspension, flared fenders, skid plates, 17-inch wheels with upgraded off-road tires, and special interior trim with leather and cloth upholstery. The Raptor is available with many of the same option packages you can get with the XLT and Lariat as well as a few exterior styling packages, a Torsen limited-slip front differential and forged, bead-lock capable wheels.

Trim Tested Module

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat Crew Cab (5.0L V8; 4×4; 6-speed automatic; 5.6-ft bed).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Ford F-150 has received a revision to its infotainment system, which was changed from the MyFord Touch system to Sync 3 in 2016. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year’s Ford F-150.

driving

 rating
The 2017 Ford F-150’s venerable 5.0-liter V8 isn’t as quick as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, but it’s still got enough thrust to support an attractive tow rating. The basic goodness of the chassis and driving experience stays the same no matter which engine you buy.
 
acceleration
With a stout 385 hp from the 5.0-liter V8, a F-150 4×4 reached 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in our testing. Power is immediate whether leaving the line or passing slower traffic, and that’s with the standard 3.31-to-1 axle ratio.
braking
The brake pedal feels reassuringly firm and easy to modulate in everyday driving, and the brakes feel just as capable when the bed is loaded with cargo. In our emergency panic-brake test, stopping from 60 mph required only 132 feet, a few feet shorter than average for similar pickups.
steering
Steering response is appropriate for a full-size pickup, feeling neither too eager nor too slow. Low-speed effort is light, allowing for quick and easy multi-point turns, but there’s not quite enough resistance at speed or when cornering.
handling
Despite the large full-size truck dimensions, the F-150 is reasonably agile around town or on a winding canyon road. With an empty bed, the rear tires are prone to some skittishness over broken pavement, which is typical for pickups.
drivability
The 5.0-liter V8 churns out 387 lb-ft of torque, which makes for steady and willing response at modest throttle openings. The engine smoothly bridges the gaps as the six-speed automatic shifts despite the economical 3.31-to-1 standard axle gearing.
off-road
 With the FX4 off-road option (skid plates, electronic locking rear differential and hill descent control), the F-150 ably scaled moderate terrain. The low front air dam and running boards do limit ground clearance somewhat, but each can be removed.

comfort

There’s a lot to like about the F-150 Lariat. The front and rear seats both provide appropriate support and all-day comfort, and the cabin environment is quiet and calm. The FX4 off-road package does stiffen the ride somewhat, but never to objectionable levels — and it’s an option.