Truck owners are a crazy bunch. Trucks keep going higher and higher in price and amenities, yet they keep selling. What is the ceiling for a high-end truck? Ford wants to try to test that with the introduction of the F-150 Limited by putting in as much technology into a truck as we have ever seen.
The F-150 was recently redesigned and it is fantastic even in its most basic XL trim. We actually like the simplicity and purity of the XL trim but the Limited is another world. The big news about the Limited is what is under the hood. Residing under the hood of the Limited is the same 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 engine that lives under the hood of the Raptor.
The EcoBoost engine cranks out 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque making this the most powerful light duty pickup on the road, according to Ford. The engine is mated to a 10-speed transmission that is perfectly suited to the truck. The transmission ratios are a bit puzzling since they are geared so close together that one wonders if it actually makes a difference. For example, ninth gear’s ratio is 0.689:1 while tenth is 0.636:1. At 71 mph in 10th gear, the engine is turning 1,700 rpm. Downshift to ninth and you jump to 1,850 rpm. You would not even notice the 150-rpm difference if you did not look at the tachometer.
The powertrain makes the Limited a very quick beast with the quick shifts of the 10-speed transmission barely noticeable even at full throttle. Our truck also had the 3.55:1 ratio differential but with 10 gears, does it make any difference? Ford claims that with this combination you can tow 12,000 pounds. We tried to find the heaviest trailer that we could find, but what we found was that trailers that approach 12,000 pounds tend to have too much tongue weight for the F-150’s relatively soft rear suspension. We tried a trailer that was around 7,500 pounds and the Limited had no problems climbing the steepest hills. The lesson here is that you can’t just look at advertising numbers. Still, if you have a racecar, RV, boat, horse, etc. you can easily tow it with the F-150 and it has enough power to pass other trucks on steep grades.
The downside of this power is fuel economy although the Limited does very well. The EPA rates the Limited at 21 mpg on the freeway, which is actually very respectable for a vehicle of its size or really anything with 450 hp. But once we hooked up a big trailer, our mileage dropped significantly to 9 mpg on flat ground which is about the same as other trucks that we tested with less power.
The Limited is about luxury and our crew cab F-150’s interior was a fantastic place to be. There is a huge amount of room inside and the front seats are very comfortable. They’re also heated and ventilated and even offer a massage function, which is terrific for those long trips. The back seat offers a limousine like 43.6 inches of legroom. Perhaps the best trick of the interior has to be the way the rear seats fold up. The rear seats very easily just fold out of the way and open a huge area on the floor of the cabin that you can use to store any cargo that you don’t want to have in the bed. Aiding the process are rear doors that open wide to give you better access. Anything large and dirty can go in the bed that features lights, tie down points and has a factory bedliner coating.
The interior received a lot of attention from Ford engineers. “It was important for us to get this interior just right as we continue to raise the bar for premium pickup trucks,” said Aileen Barraza, Ford color and materials manager. “The materials we chose to incorporate are authentic, distinctive and durable.” Luxurious materials used throughout include a Miko suede headliner and leather-topped instrument panel and door panels. “The gradated ash swirl trim is like something you see in a fine instrument,” said Barraza. “Each piece is hand-finished, and a halo around the edges with a heavily polished center really brings out the natural beauty of this wood.”
Limited customers expect purposeful technology in a premium pickup truck. An integrated trailer brake controller is standard, as is a 360-degree camera with split-view display with dynamic hitch assist to simplify the hitching process. This is a fantastic feature that really makes life so much easier. There is also Pro Trailer Backup Assist which helps you back up the trailer if you don’t know how to. In this case, the driver needs to improve his skills and not cheat.
F-150 Limited’s driver-assist technology works to reduce daily stress. Standard adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality allows drivers to set a cruising speed, and then uses radar and camera technology to monitor traffic ahead to maintain a set distance between vehicles – even following one down to a complete stop. Standard Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking helps drivers avoid or mitigate collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. Active park assist to aid in parallel parking, plus a Lane-Keeping System that provides alerts and assistance with lane drift are standard as well. The radar system works great but the Lane-Keeping System was very annoying and most of this technology is not needed if you are a good driver and pay attention to your surroundings.
However, luxury does not come cheap. You will pay a lot to drive the baddest pickup truck on the street. Our Limited’s price tag came out to $74,575, which is definitely a lot of money. But buyers demand these features and manufacturers will keep making them as long as there is demand. We have to admit that it was a pleasure driving the Limited and it is one fantastic work truck.
|Engine:||3.5-liter EcoBoost V6|
|Horsepower:||450 @5,000 rpm|
|Torque:||510 @3,500 rpm|
|Front Suspension:||Independent, double wishbone|
|Rear Suspension:||Leaf spring, solid axle|
|Curb Weight:||4,391 lbs.|