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Rental Assessment: 2017 Ford F-150 XLT 4×2 SuperCrew 5.0

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By no means thoughts the bollocks coming from professionally cynical actors-turned-rappers: This is America. At the least it’s for a lot of this nation’s working center class. The F-150 is designed in America, tooled-up in America, and made in America. By an American firm. For a buyer base that’s overwhelmingly American. It’s additionally a strong candidate for the title of World’s Greatest Passenger Car.

Don’t consider me? I don’t blame you. The media has lengthy vilified the full-sized pickup as an avatar of this nation’s lengthy-discredited and admittedly undesirable silent majority. By no means thoughts the truth that in the present day’s pickups have lengthy surpassed conventional cars in most of the qualities that actual clients need and can pay for. Nor do you have to look too intently backstage that covers the deficiencies of unibody SUVs when in comparison with full-sized trucks. My colleagues within the car enterprise, lots of whom are notable for his or her childlessness, sedentary life, and full lack of a classical schooling, like to screech about BANNING these HICK-MOBILES from the VIBRANT STREETS OF AMERICA. A few of their factors have benefit: I’m removed from thrilled with the journey peak of in the present day’s half-tons from each an lively safety and a visibility standpoint. Most of their complaints, nevertheless, are a lot sound and impotent fury signifying nothing greater than the very fact they will’t afford to drop $60k on a cowboy Cadillac of their very own.

The 2018 F-150 is already in showrooms and media fleets, but when you already know me then you understand I choose the spin-free zone of the rental counter to the walled backyard of a press journey drive. Moreover, there are literally thousands of trucks identical to this out there by way of secondary sources for costs within the $24,000-28,000 range. What do you get for that cash? Let’s discover out.

As I write this, I’m roughly eight hundred miles right into a 1,450-mile journey from Ohio to South Carolina by way of a few racetracks and aspect tasks. My preliminary plan was to take my Silverado Max Tow on this journey, as I did final yr. As soon as I did all the maths, nevertheless, it made extra sense to lease this F-150 and use it than it did to place that type of mileage on the Chevy. Utilizing a 6.2-liter, six-foot-mattress, absolutely-loaded four×four truck to tug three individuals and 4 bicycles across the nation looks like overkill.

Which results in the query: How is that this any totally different? I’m glad you requested. This F-150, which might be picked up as a brand new 2018 mannequin for perhaps $33k in the event you stacked your incentives proper, is less expensive to purchase and run than my Silverado. Allow us to rely the methods: It rolls on dust-low cost 245/70R17 tires as an alternative of the Chevy’s twenty-twos. It doesn’t have a entrance axle, which permits the 5.0 V8 to return about 21.5 mpg on regular gasoline and a exceptional 17 mpg on E85. It’s considerably easier each in and out, so there’s much less to fallacious and fewer repair prices concerned if one thing does go incorrect. Briefly, if my Silverado is the direct successor to the Kingswood wagons of the Seventies, that is extra like a middling-spec Ford Galaxie sedan from the identical years. Which is acceptable, as a result of it performs just about the identical position in lots of American households as these nameless full-sized sedans did again then.

As a former Ford salesman from the Nineties, I nonetheless keep in mind when the XLT trim was vaguely aspirational for F-150s. The approximate spec hasn’t modified — exhausting-sporting material seats, energy home windows/locks, tilt/cruise, an okay stereo, a beneficiant however not flashy serving to of chrome trim — however within the meantime there’s been an area race to pimp out the full-sized pickup, so the primary impression a contemporary purchaser will get from an XLT is “work truck.”

One of many B&B stated earlier this week that XLT was roughly equal to Chevy LTZ; that’s amusing. That is someplace between 1LT and 2LT when it comes to gear, with seating areas that wouldn’t be misplaced on a Chevy LS.

The dashboard and middle stack are poverty-spec, with intentionally chintzy dials and an HVAC management system that feels designed to make the client remorse not shopping for a mannequin with automated local weather management. It’s clearly the identical electronics and capabilities behind the panel — and the way can it’s any cheaper to have an “guide” fan management with LEDs that mild up across the knob to point out what place you’ve chosen? Somebody like our personal Bozi Tatarevic might in all probability set up a Lariat-fashion twin-zone setup in an hour or two. It doesn’t assist that the HVAC system basically feels much less capable of exactly management the temperature than the equal GM gear. On full blast, nevertheless, the F-150 was capable of deal with the ninety seven-diploma South Carolina warmth with out a lot problem.

The seats are in all probability the one area the place this contemporary XLT doesn’t measure as much as its Nineties predecessor. The material seems to be prefer it was overrun manufacturing from the 1997 Windstar GL, the guide seat adjustment is way from exact, and basic consolation is extra within the range of “acceptable” than “snug.” The flip-fold middle center seat needs to be the worst within the enterprise, providing a remarkably small quantity of storage and requiring all method of contortion to entry the cubby on the middle tunnel. On the constructive aspect, it confirmed little or no put on and tear from 27,000-plus miles of rental use. Ford is aware of how to do that higher — simply take a look at any mid-degree Fusion for proof. It simply doesn’t have any curiosity in promoting you this over a Lariat, King Ranch, Restricted, or Platinum.

There’s a little bit of apparent skimping within the powertrain, as nicely. Not within the 5.0-liter engine, which likes to rev and sounds appropriately butch even by means of the soda-straw exhaust. Having pushed each EcoBoost variants earlier than this usually-aspirated V8, I might transfer heaven and earth to ensure than my very own F-150 had the 5.0 beneath the hood. I’m much less impressed with the six-velocity transmission, which has a number of dangerous habits. It’s reluctant to shift underneath energy and sluggish to interact the clutches as soon as it will get round to creating the choice. Round city, it steadfastly refuses to shift up or unlock the torque converter whenever you come off the throttle. As an alternative, it drops to fourth gear in a rush (for as soon as) and engine-brakes your face into the airbag cowl.

Urgent the button on the finish of the poverty-spec onerous-plastic column shifter engages tow/haul mode (if pressed as soon as) and a “sport” mode (if pressed twice). I can’t converse to this truck’s towing capacity — as with most rental half-tons, it was intentionally missing a hitch — however the sport mode is risible at best and must be named “Fifth Gear On The Freeway Mode,” as the one observable distinction when it’s engaged is that sixth gear is locked out, even above eighty mph.

I hate to say it, as a result of I respect and respect the work Ford has put into creating first-price overhead-cam engines, however the previous-type 6.2 in my Silverado whips it coming and going. The best factor I can say is that present Titan and Tundra house owners will probably be very impressed, whereas 5.7-liter Ram house owners will in all probability come to simply accept the best way the Ford prefers revving to twisting.

In issues of chassis and dynamics, nevertheless, the F-150 is the undisputed class of the sector. This platform feels a bit overwhelmed when it’s requested to underpin a jacked-up four×four, however as a 2WD brief-mattress crewcab on 17-inch wheels it’s an genuine pleasure, effortlessly dealing with the mountain curves on I-seventy seven at ninety mph and returning steering suggestions that wouldn’t shame an E-Class. Whereas the aluminum Ford won’t weigh any lower than a metal Chevy, the distribution of the weight is superior. That is the Lotus Evora of full-sized pickups, and the shortage of a entrance axle simply provides to the enjoyment of driving. Disgrace that the aluminum panels are so dent-delicate. As with a Lotus, you do pay a price for the athleticism.

Street noise is extraordinarily low for a full-sized truck, and the “head toss” conduct that sullies a lot of the competitors doesn’t make a lot of an look right here. In comparison with the Silverado, the F-150 has much less area up entrance and just a little extra in again. It’s additionally lacking the additional glovebox on the passenger aspect: blame the compromises of XLT trim for that. The identical’s true for the rear window, which lacks any sort of sliding mechanism.

As a $30,000-ish proposition, both new or barely used, this Ford quantities to the discount of the century. For the price of an Accord or Camry, you get twice the facility and twice the potential. It’ll final a very long time and there will probably be a prepared purchaser lined up if you’re carried out with it. If there’s something to remorse concerning the F-150, it’s the truth that the resale market tends to punish individuals who select an inexpensive specification and the easier two-wheel-drive powertrain. Disgrace, as a result of this, not the Lincoln-ish Platinum or the absurd Raptor, is the best method to purchase your all-American pickup truck.

Do I remorse shopping for my Silverado? Not as a 6.2, 12,500-pound-tow-score tugboat. But when I needed just a little bit much less truck for lots much less cash, I’d select this one with out hesitation. That is America. It’s fairly good. Give it a shot and see for your self.

[Image: Jack Baruth/TTAC]

– Rental Assessment: 2017 Ford F-150 XLT 4×2 SuperCrew 5.0 –

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