For years, truck makers have been improving upon the daily usability of their products. Companies like Ford and General Motors picked up on the fact that a large portion of their customers were relying on their trucks for more than just work. They also realized that many were looking to spend far more money for more equipment and convenience.
Today, truck people can deck out their mules with as much kit as can be found in a luxury car. Truly, the term “luxury full-size pickup truck” is no exaggeration. Although I love driving basic throwback trucks like the Toyota Tundra, I admit that spending a week in a loaded Platinum F-150 is good for the ego, and the soul.
It always surprises me how good these large otherwise working tools of the trade are. Without hesitation, I would saddle the family up in this truck and head straight for Bogotá for a cup of coffee without second-guessing the feasibility of the drive.
This generation Ford F-150 arrived for the 2015 model year. For 2018, it underwent a comprehensive facelift, endowing it with a new front fascia complete with grille, headlights and more. The timing for the revamp was good as the new 2019 Chevy Silverado and RAM 1500 are completely new, and extremely handsome.
Save for the Raptor, the F-150 now presents itself as the more grown-up and mature of the Big Three’s full-size pickups. The Platinum is the classy version with just enough attitude. The 20” wheels are spot on and the limited amount of chrome, thanks to the body-color bumpers, is tasteful.
The large cabin is impressively well appointed. The dash features contrast stitching, the seats are covered in soft supple leather while the dash is littered in buttons atop which sits an 8” “productivity screen.”
These big trucks have become so good at doing everything that larger families are considering them as options. My brother is expecting his third child shortly. He currently has a 12-year old minivan and it will soon need to be replaced. He’s convinced that a Super Crew is more than just an option.
The truck’s cab is enormous. In fact, three baby seats will fit side by side and best of all, mom or dad can climb aboard and strap in said babies without resorting to acrobatics. The floor space ahead of the bench is large enough to hold bags, a small stroller and more. The bed, with a tonneau cover and bed divider, will make short work of whatever needs not stay warm or completely dry.
The front perches are unbelievably good. That road trip to Columbia I mentioned before? Yeah, well this Platinum holds power heated/cooled and massaging functions. And then, there are more storage compartments than one could ever need.
And while on the topic of comfort, nothing beats the power-deployable running boards. They’re great to stand on while buckling up the kids and make ingress and egress a breeze for everyone. Also, they don’t affect ground clearance.
Pickups are the only remaining mass-production vehicles that buyers can fully customize. With little effort, a basic $30,649 2018 Ford F-150 XL can climb to just shy of $40k with a few select options. With three available cabs and an equal number of beds, the possible combinations are nearly endless.
There are also seven trims, six engines, two transmissions and a bed-load of option packages. My tested Platinum with Coyote 5.0-litre V8 and options retailed for almost exactly $80,000.
It included the must-have FX4 package (Off-Road tuned front shock absorbers, skid plates and rear locking differential), technology package, bedliner and power moonroof. This is a mountain of money, but it also includes Sync3, a premium audio system, navigation, heated steering wheel, and loads more. This truck lacked nothing.
Although equipped like a Lincoln Continental, this F-150 can still tow up to 10,000lbs easily and carry nearly 3,000lbs in its bed. This is the beauty of the F-150’s refined and solid fully-boxed steel frame.
This trucks ride quality is nothing short of impressive. The cabin stays quiet at all times while the suspension soaks up the worst of the of the road’s surface. There isn’t much to say about steering feel but the 4-wheel vented disc brakes are very powerful.
On the subject of power, the 5.0-liter V8 is an immensely satisfying engine. It provides 395-horsepower as of 5,750 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque from 4,500 rpm. That may seem like high engine speeds but the fact of the matter is that this V8 loves to rev. In the process, it generates a lovely melody which further encourages more engine revs…
The biggest and perhaps best surprise is how good the 10-speed automatic transmission is. In normal driving, it operates seamlessly. In fact, it is so smooth that it’s easy to forget that there are 10 gears at work!
A king and its crown
No matter what RAM and GM put forth pickup-wise, it seems unlikely that the F-150 will ever give up its crown. It’s been the best-selling of its kind since forever and as long as Ford keeps up the good work, it’ll never need to step down.