By on June 25, 2018

Never mind the bollocks coming from professionally cynical actors-turned-rappers: This is America. At least it is for much of this country’s working middle class. The F-150 is designed in America, tooled-up in America, and made in America. By an American company. For a customer base that is overwhelmingly American. It’s also a solid candidate for the title of World’s Best Passenger Vehicle.

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. The media has long vilified the full-sized pickup as an avatar of this country’s long-discredited and frankly unwanted silent majority. Never mind the fact that today’s pickups have long surpassed traditional automobiles in many of the qualities that real customers want and will pay for. Nor should you look too closely behind the curtain that covers the deficiencies of unibody SUVs when compared to full-sized trucks. My colleagues in the car business, many of whom are notable for their childlessness, sedentary lifestyles, and complete lack of a classical education, love to screech about BANNING these HICK-MOBILES from the VIBRANT STREETS OF AMERICA. Some of their points have merit: I’m far from thrilled with the ride height of today’s half-tons from both an active safety and a visibility standpoint. Most of their complaints, however, are so much sound and impotent fury signifying nothing more than the fact they can’t afford to drop $60k on a cowboy Cadillac of their own.

The 2018 F-150 is already in showrooms and media fleets, but if you know me then you know I prefer the spin-free zone of the rental counter to the walled garden of a press trip drive. Furthermore, there are thousands of trucks just like this available through secondary sources for prices in the $24,000-28,000 range. What do you get for that money? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

2017 Ford Raptor, Image: © 2017 Garrett Martin

In the coming years, we will begin driving riding around in the quiet electric embrace of autonomous convenience. We will look back on the 20-teens as a golden age when the last ounces of performance were wrung out of the internal combustion engine and automakers created cars for every conceivable market niche. New and presently unknown products will one day surprise and delight. But let’s stick with the present, which is a special time for auto enthusiasts.

Consider that the 5,600-pound 2017 Raptor is as fast to 60 miles per hour as the 2007 Mustang GT. Forced induction or not, the Raptor labors under a one-ton weight disadvantage, an unknown coefficient of drag penalty, and a 30-percent displacement deficiency versus the original pony car. A decade ago there was not a single stock vehicle available at any price capable of bounding through the desert at freeway speed that was also able to head back to civilization to pick up the kids from school.

Not convinced? In November, Ford raced a Raptor in the Baja 1000 Stock Full class. It got a roll cage, fuel cell, and a few other tweaks. Of almost 250 entries, the Raptor was among 142 rigs that finished the race. And after taking the checkered flag, it returned under its own power to Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds 400 miles to the north.

The superlatives associated with Raptor are legion. What’s not to like?

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

Detroit Three Work Trucks

Earlier this morning, Jack regaled us with a tale of a young man buying himself a loaded regular-cab F-150. Such a beast still exists, often selling at the rate of glacier progression and celebrating birthdays as they loiter on dealer lots. At the other end of the spectrum, rear-drive regular cab base models – with an 8-foot box, natch – ply the roads and work for a living.

How do entry-level trucks from the Detroit Three stack up when compared to each other? Ace of Base breaks them down in alphabetical order with the caveat that, based on price and feature content, there is a clear winner.

(Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

2017 Super Duty STX

Sick of your GM-loving friends showing off in their Denali HD pickups? Wish your Super Duty had more flash, but can’t afford an XLT or King Ranch? Ford heard your cries.

Ford Motor Company announced the return of the STX appearance package to its F-150 line today, and as an added bonus, it’s letting Super Duty buyers join the club too. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

2016 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford Motor Company didn’t want an opportunity to claim bragging rights to pass by, so it sent its 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in for a massage.

The result was a torque (eco)boost of 30 pounds-feet, raising the engine’s output to 365 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. That places Ford’s F-150 ahead of its closest full-size six-cylinder competitor, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which claims 420 lb-ft. (Read More…)

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