Ace of Base: 2016 Ford F-150
There are a few reasons why I and others choose to freelance for TTAC. One of those reasons is the opportunity to write under the
oppressive regime helpful tutelage of our Managing Editor. Another reason is the conversation and feedback provided by you, the B&B. The comments section of many other auto sites can often be described as incomprehensible at best or downright hostile at worst.
Since this series’ inception, I’ve asked for suggestions of base wheels that check all the right boxes for you. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I laugh heartily at your suggestions on TTAC’s Slack channel. When Principal Dan mentioned the F-150 as a potential Ace of Base candidate, it got me thinking: What exactly constitutes a base F-150 these days? Certainly they’re not the hose-’em-out trucks of my youth, featuring face-eating metal dashboards, searing hot vinyl seats, and no headliner.
Since FoMoCo saw fit to bin the Ranger in 2011, what can buyers expect from an entry-level F-150?
Not that you’ll be able to find one of these on the lot, of course. As Jack has explained to us many a time, the OEM’s real customer is the dealer … and you can be assured the person with their surname on building is not going to stock his store with low margin work trucks, consuming valuable floorplan and lot space better occupied by a high-gross Crew Cab Platinum. Not unless the regional distribution manager is in a bad mood, anyway.
Nevertheless, Ford — probably reluctantly — does make an entry-level work truck. The base 3.5-liter V6 will handle everyday jobs while keeping a lid on operating costs. Power ratings are 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque, not far off the mighty 302 V8 and 300 straight-six of yesteryear.
Ford made many noises about this F-150’s added high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy, and it seems to have paid dividends in capability and economy with an EPA highway rating of 25 miles per gallon. Inside, the standard dual front airbags are present, but thanks to economies of scale (you slept through that in Econ 101, right?) side airbags will also pop out of the seats and curtain airbags will drop from the ceiling in the event of a crash. My grandfather’s base model 1986 GMC truck could only dream of such luxuries.
What is similar to Pop’s GMC is the roll-your-own windows and hose-it-out floor covering. Want to adjust the side mirrors in your base F-150? You’ll leave a thumbprint on the mirror’s surface when you do. A cloth bench seat is a no-cost option, a step up from the standard vinyl bench in this author’s mind, where childhood memories of peeling my legs off vinyl seats that had reached temperatures approximately the surface of the sun remain fresh. Feel free to disagree. Vinyl seats are arguably more functional.
AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control are standard equipment now, and Trailer Sway Control combines these electronic nannies to keep your tag-along on the straight and narrow. Seventeen-inch silver steel wheels don’t actually look that bad when the F-150 is painted in $0 Shadow Black, a hue which hides the unfortunate expanse of black plastic on its front fascia. At least when Chevy did this on its work truck, it had the good sense to market it as a benefit.
So, is the 2016 Ford F-150 truly an Ace of Base? Not quite. I would shell out $50 for the optional 3.73 rear axle gear as a cheap way to increase towing capacity to a burly 7600 pounds — but that’s just me. Being able to tow 5000 pounds out of the box is hardly anything to sneeze at. Other than that, though, the $26,540 base XL represents good capability for the cash. Don’t say we don’t listen to you, B&B!
Not every vehicle at the Mr. Noodles end of the price spectrum has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Naturally, feel free to roast our selection and let us know if there are other models you’d like included in this series.
The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. In this particular example, current incentives are byzantine and vast, so do your research and bargain hard.
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