The 2017 Ford F-150 accommodates both the worksite user and weekend warrior with some of the most noteworthy advancements in the truck market. From infotainment and smartphone connectivity, to an aluminum construction and tech features for towing, the F-150 has carved out its place as the most advanced truck in the segment. Whatever your needs are, there is a configuration of the F-150 that fits the bill. But some of these advancements have downsides, like the big question of the longterm pros and cons of the aluminum construction. Will that outweigh the benefits? Read on to see if the F-150 is the right truck for your needs.
2017 Ford F-150 Fast Facts
Seating: 3-passenger Single Cab, 6-passenger SuperCab (5-pass option), 6-passenger SuperCrew (5-pass option)
• Downsized styling for a full size truck
• Aluminum body keeps weight down
• Roomy cabin
• Supportive seats
• Agile for its size
• Cameras help with park
• Powerful turbocharged engines
• Impressive safety ratings
• Plenty of customization options
• Crazy F-150 Raptor option
• Incredibly helpful Pro Trailer Backup Assist
• Aluminum Panels can be expensive to fix
• Less upscale than rivals
• Cold, uninviting interior
• Rivals have better infotainment
• Gets expensive fast with options
Dealmakers: Ford F-150’s Top Lifestyle Features
There’s no way around it– the F-150 is the most advanced pickup in the litter. Ford took chances on new building materials, and bestowed the F-150 with advanced powertrains, infotainment, and technology that sets it apart from the competition. These aren’t just features for the weekend warrior, but some of these Dealmakers are for the work site, too.
Dealmaker: Downsized Styling for a Full Size Truck
There upward creep of truck size is inevitable. Every year, these pickups get bigger and bigger. But when the thirteenth (!) generation of the F-150 arrived in 2015, many were surprised by the size of the truck. It wasn’t necessarily smaller, or even the same size as the outgoing model, but the current generation seems to have stemmed the unyeilding tide of growth among these trucks. The front lines seemed to have slimmed out, resulting in better sight lines, making it more maneuverable in crowded spaces.
Dealmaker: Aluminum Body Keeps Weight Down
If you’ve heard anything about the F-150 before looking into it, it’s likely the aluminum body of the F-150. Ford realized that in order to achieve better fuel economy, it had no choice but to adopt aluminum for all the body panels. The firewall–a key safety barrier between the engine bay and the driver–is still steel. But that doesn’t mean the F-150 is any weaker– with the reduction in body weight, the use of high-strength steel in the frame was increased from 23 percent to 77 percent.
The new F-150 is about 700 pounds lighter than the previous-generation F-150. That lighter weight also allows Ford to use smaller, more efficient engines to provide the same capabilities. It results in a truck that’s lighter on its feet, and an an overall more nimble truck.
Dealmaker: Roomy Cabin
The cabin of the F-150, even in single cab form, is pretty darn spacious. There’s more than enough head and legroom– so much legroom, that the pedals are adjustable to bring them closer to your feet. For SuperCab and SuperCrew models, the rear seats fold up, providing ample cargo space for items too fragile to toss in the bed. There is also a sea of room between the left and right seats, and even in single cab form three people can comfortably sit in the cab of the F-150– even for a longer trip.
Dealmaker: Supportive Versatile Seats
Whether you’re taking the truck on a road trip, or towing gear around town, an uncomfortable seat will make 8 hours feel like 8 days behind the wheel. The F-150 offers comfortable seats for the short trip or the long haul. As U.S. News & World Report puts it, “The F-150’s front seats are comfortable, and you’ll have no trouble finding a convenient driving position.” They also note, “some test drivers say that the F-150 SuperCrew’s rear seats are as spacious as those in some large sedans.” And if the comfort of the standard seats it not enough, you can get heated/cooled front seats, and even massaging front seats– known as multi-contour seats.
Dealmaker: Plenty of Customization Options
The F-150 helped popularize the ideal of the “lifestyle truck.” In other words, trucks made for weekend warriors with fun in mind. Be it the FX4 Off Road package, Harley-Davidson, Spedial Edition, Raptor, and more, the F-150 has a unique trim or edtion that has designs other than the jobsite or commute in mind. These trims prioritize weekend fun, and do it with bold colors and grapihcs packages.
Dealmaker: Incredibly Helpful Pro Trailering Assist
If you own a truck, there’s a good chance you’ll be towing. Whether you’re a contractor with a box trailer full of equipment, or an avid camper with a trailer, there is plenty to tow out there. But not every truck owner is well versed in the fine art of towing—especially backing up. With that in mind, ford developed Pro Trailering Assit. This system takes the hassles out of the driver’s hands, as you use a dial to position the truck to “steer” the trailer. If you know how difficult it is to back up a trailer, this is an incredibly helpful feature.
Dealmaker: Outrageous F-150 Raptor Option
Almost every truck you can buy is offered with some sort of “off-road” package or special edition. Ram has the Rebel and Power Wagon, Chevrolet has the Silverado Z71, and Ford has the FX4 Off-Road model. But Ford also has something completely insane that no other automaker offers– the absolutely bonkers F-150 Raptor. One look an you’ll know this is no ordinary truck. It is an off-road beast, using specially designed Fox Racing shocks, better running clearance than the previous version of the Raptor, and a Torque-On-Demand transfer case from Borg Warner. It also utilizes the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. Despite being smaller, offers more power than the V8 it replaces– 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent through an advanced 10-speed automatic and power is wielded using a Terrain Management System. Simply Put, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more capable off-road full-size pickup truck.
Dealbreakers: Ford F-150’s Worst Lifestyle Features
Ford sells the F-150 on specs and technology. From the advanced turbocharged engines, to the aluminum body panels and SYNC infotainment, the American automaker boasts tech above all else. But that doesn’t translate into the most inviting experience. There is a technologically cold feel to the interior, like you would experience in a BMW interior. More importantly than that, there are serious questions about the process and associated costs of repairing the F-150’s much-talked-about aluminum body panels.
Dealbreaker: Aluminum Panels Can Be Expensive to Fix
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (which you’ll hear about again later in the safety overview) did high and low speed crash testing of the new F-150. One series of those tests included low-speed tests between an aluminum bodied 2017 F-150, and a steel-bodied 2014 model. The when the trucks were sent to be repaired, the repair costs were 26% higher for the aluminum-bodied new model. As more body shops become familiar with aluminum bodies, costs will come down, but for now, expect those repair costs to stay high.
Dealbreaker: Cold, Uninviting Interior
The F-150 gets the work truck thing down, with all the cubbies for your gear, and versatile tools for the job. The seats are comfortable, and the tech is solid. But there is a level of fit-and-finish present in the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that just isn’t present in the F-150. Across the lineup, Ford designs go for the “tech” look, which makes the F-150 interior feel thoroughly modern, but not very inviting. Compared to the Silverado and Ram, the F-150 cabin feels…cold. If you use this truck to commute, you might be more at home behind the wheel of one of the F-150’s rivals.
Dealbreaker: Rivals Have Better Infotainment
Ford was a pioneer in the way of in-car touch screen systems (aka “infotainment”), in the form of Ford Sync. But when it comes to tech, being first isn’t as important as getting the execution right. Previous iterations of Sync tried to do too much and incorporate too many features. Ford replaced it with SYNC 3, which was a drastic improvement, and is an easy-enough to use system on the new F-150. It’s just that the other entrants in the truck game offer better infotainment. Chevy MyLink, found in the Silverado has a very thoughtful layout, Uconnect system in the Ram 1500 is the gold standard among touch screen systems.
Dealbreaker: Gets Expensive Fast
With a starting price of $26,540, the F-150 has the second-most affordable starting price in the truck segment, edged out by the Ram 1500 but only a couple hundred dollars. That makes it a great work truck, especially if you’re buying fleets of these things at its low price point. The F-150 also has an amazing list of options and special packages, but be prepared to pay much more than the base price. In fact, it doesn’t take much to double that price and more when you start selecting packages.
The XLT is where some basic creature comforts start to arrive, and the Lariat is where many of the upscale features come on. The Limited and Platinum easily delve into “luxury truck” territory.
Cab/Bed Configurations Offered
There are three cab sizes and three bed sizes on the F-150, and they are available in multiple configurations of them. Check out every possible configuration below to see which one is right for your needs.
Regular Cab, 6-1/2′ Box: (MSRP: $Price)
The Regular Cab is the single cab option. It offers a single bench seat with seating for three. The center console folds up for a “jump seat” that is more spacious than in previous iterations. For any gear or bags that you don’t want exposed to the elements, there is room behind the seats when you fold down the jump seat. You can get it with the standard bed, but not the short bed.
Regular Cab, 8′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
This has the single cab layout, with the same seating limitations and cargo options, but with the longest bed available. Some call this the typical “work truck” or “farm truck” layout, and with good reason– this truck is all about getting as much into the bed as possible. This configuration is a great truck for fleets, and if your business takes you around town rather than on long trips.
SuperCab, 5-1/2′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
The SuperCab is essentially an extended cab. It features rear clamshell doors and a second row. It’s a big tight on legroom and you have to open the front door in order to open the rear doors. This layout is ideal for someone who has kids, or the occasional rear seat passengers. It should be noted that both Chevrolet and Ram feature extended cabs, but with more traditional doors. This layout is much more convenient for adult passengers than the SuperCab layout.
NOTE: The only SuperCab that comes with the “short” bed is the Ford F-150 Raptor.
SuperCab, 6-1/2′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
The extended cab model with the clamshell doors, but with the mid-range bed. This is a very common layout for a “commuter truck.” It has the room for gear in the back, but also more cabin space than just the single cab. If you have a lot of gear that you need to keep out of the elements–and don’t want to use a tonneau cover or bed cap–this is the ideal layout.
SuperCab, 8′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
If you need the long bed to get the job done, but also need more space than offered by the single cab, the SuperCab is available with the big ole long bed. At 250.5 inches (20.8 freaking feet!), this is the longest truck in the F-150 lineup. It provides the best blend of bed space and cabin space, with the emphasis on the latter. But with that extremely long length, it’s a more ideal truck for rural areas, where maneuverability is less of a squeeze.
SuperCrew, 5-1/2′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
The SuperCrew is the full, four-door model, with standard seating for six (with a front bench seat), or 5-passengers (with a front row center console). There is ample room in the second row. Earlier in the review, we quoted U.S. News, reporting that rear seats have room that rivals some large sedans–and that’s worth repeating. If you are worried about maneuverability or parking, this version of the SuperCrew comes with the short bed, and yet is still over 19 feet long.
SuperCrew, 6-1/2′ Bed: (MSRP: $Price)
If you need both cabin space and bed space, the SuperCrew is available with the standard bed, and for many, this is the only truck size that will fill all their worksite and weekend needs. You get the mid-size bed, which has a volume (up to the siderails) of 62.3 cubic feet of cargo space. This is the largest bed you can get with the SuperCrew cab, because to fit a long bed to this would make it a four-wheel albatros. As it stands, this configuration is already over 20 feet long!
|XL: $26,540||17-inch “Silver-Styled” steel wheels
Cap-less fuel filler
Tow hooks (4×4 only)
Auxiliary audio input jack
Trailer Sway Control
(includes everything from XL, plus)
|17-inch painted aluminum wheels
SYNC 3 advanced infotainment
(includes everything from XLT, plus)
|18-inch machined-aluminum wheels
Class IV trailer hitch
Heated/cooled front seats
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Sliding rear glass panel
|King Ranch: $48,325
(includes everything from Lariat, plus)
Trailer Brake Controller
110-volt wall-style power outlet
Additional rear 110-volt outlet(SuperCab/SuperCrew)
Heated steering wheel
Voice-activated navigation system
(includes everything from King Ranch, plus)
|20-inch polished aluminum wheels
Automatic high beams
Front bucket seats
(includes everything from Platinum, plus)
|22-inch polished aluminum wheels
360-degree backup/parking camera
Adaptive cruise control
Raptor: (MSRP $48,325) Wider track, special BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, tourqe-on-demand, and specially designed Fox Racing shocks.
Dealmaker: Better Driving Through Turbocharging
With the use of aluminum, Ford was able to shave weight off its trucks, allowing the Blue Oval Brand to use smaller, turbocharged engines, which it calls “EcoBoost.” Turbocharging forces more air into the engine, which is one of the key ingredients of a combustion. The result is increased power and efficiency. Old cars with turbos have a delay before power comes on strong. This is called “turbo lag.” Ford’s EcoBoost engines are more advanced and do not have turbo lag, but these engines are more intricate than non-turbo engines, which could result in pricey engine repairs down the line.
Handling: Unbelievably Agile
One area where the F-150 is a standout is handling. Its light weight makes it more agile than other trucks, and yet still feels firmly planted. As CarGurus puts it, “At all times, the aluminum-bodied F-150 Limited feels lighter, smaller, and more nimble than you’d ever guess by its dimensions.” If you opt for higher trims like the Limited, you get 22-inch wheels and Pirelli tires, which will make the F-150 feel incredibly well-planted. Some say the on-road handling is second to the Ram 1500, but both feel more like a road-centric SUV than the capable trucks they actually are.
Drivetrain: Power Meets Efficiency with EcoBoost
There are four engines available on the F-150, offering buyers serious choices when selecting their truck. Two of the four engines are EcoBoost turbos, and the other two are non-turbo, or “naturally aspirated.” The two turbos are 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V6s. Incredibly, Consumer Reports ran two nearly identically optioned trucks but each with the different turbo engine, and the smaller engine was actually faster over repeated 0-60 MPH acceleration tests.
The non-turbo V6 is a stout engine that makes plenty of power, while the 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 is the same engine used in the Ford Mustang GT. Not every engine is available with every truck. In fact, the high-performance off-road Raptor uses the 3.5-liter EcoBoost as the base engine, but with even more boost– making a gravel-churning 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
|Engine #1: 2.7L
375 lb-ft of torque
(10-Speed Automatic Available)
|Engine #2: 3.5L V6||282 horsepower
253 lb-ft of torque
(10-Speed Automatic Available)
|Engine #3: 3.5L
470 lb-ft of torque
(available on other engines,
standard on EcoBoost V6)
|Engine #4: 5.0L V8||385 horsepower
387 lb-ft of torque
(10-Speed Automatic Available)
Towing/Hauling: Brains and Brawn
Maximum towing capacity for the F-150 is 12,200, when equipped with 4×2 and the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6– NOT the 5.0-liter V8. Max payload in the truck bed is rated at 3,300 pounds. The V8’s max towing is 11,000 pounds. It’s a testament to the power of turbocharging that its advanced EcoBoost V6 is the towing king in the lineup, rather than the engine with the most displacement.
But the F-150’s towing capability is much more than just a number, as this truck is available with some really innovative towing technology. The Trailer Brake Controller is a tab in the dash that lets you synchronize the truck brakes with the brakes of a large trailer, and Trailer Sway Control keeps the trailer straight when going down the highway at high speeds. The Smart Trailer Tow Connector allows you to monitor the trailer lights to make sure all are active.
In addition to the Pro Trailering Assist, which we talked about above, the F-150 comes with a Tow/Haul mode on the shifter, and the Dynamic Hitch Assist (shown in the video above) provides a guideline for a perfect lineup of the tow hitch to the trailer.
Off-Road Performance: Off the Gravel and Off the Map
When the conversation turns to off-road performance, it might lead right to the specialty F-150 Raptor. It features Fox Racing shocks, a torque-on-demand differential, and BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires (a personal favorite among off-road tires). But that is a rare vehicle and more of an off-road sports car, rather than a work truck. For more everyday capability off the beaten path, the FX4 package is available on any 4×4 version of the F-150. In addition to some neat “FX4 Off-Road” decals, it features an electronically locking differential, off-road-tuned shock absorbers, underbody skid plates, and Hill Descent Control. That last feature works with the antilock brakes and throttle to crawl downhill without the driver touching the brakes.
Dealmaker/breaker: The Only ‘Top Safety Pick’
There are two major safety organizations that test road cars and publish scores. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA scores vehicles out of five stars, while the IIHS scores on a scale of Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, and Good. Additionally, the IIHS offers “Top Safety Pick” recommendations, as well as “Top Safety Pick +” for vehicles with advanced crash avoidance and mitigation features.
NHTSA Crash Test Data
|Truck||NHTSA Overall Crash Results|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||5/5|
|GMC Sierra 1500||5/5|
The F-150 earned a Five Star overall crash test rating from NHTSA. It also earned a Five Star rating for both frontal crash an side crash testing. However it received four stars for rollover testing. It is tied with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 as the only Five Star vehicles in the truck segment.
IIHS Testing Results
|Ford F-150||Top Safety Pick|
The F-150 is the only full-size pickup truck that earns a Top Safety Pick accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It earns an overall score of Good in IIHS testing–the best possible score. Standard safety features include a full array of front and side impact airbags, a rollover sensor that will deploy the airbags, inflatable seat belts (SuperCrew models, rear outboard seats), electronic stability control, roll stability control, and daytime running lights.
Safety Tech: Watching All Sides
The F-150 is available with many of the latest safety technologies that you would find in a family sedan. Available blind spot monitoring watches where you might not be able to see on the road, and rear cross traffic alert will let you know if a car is approaching from either side when backing out of a parking spot or driveway. The F-150 is also available with forward collision warning. As the video above shows, sensors can determine if you’re closing in on a vehicle or object ahead too quickly and will alert you. It can also pre-charge the brakes to help stop the truck more quickly, but will not brake on its own.
Reliability: To Early to Tell
At this time, there is no reliability data available for this vehicle. When such data becomes available, we’ll be sure to update the Buying Guide accordingly.
Tiebreakers: Comparing the Ford F-150 to the Competition
The truck market is one of the most hotly contested markets in the automotive work. The one-upsmanship that goes on is seldom found anywhere else in the industry, with automakers routinely updating pickups for marginal power and towing gains so they can claim “Best-in-class,” even for a year. No matter which truck you select, it will be large, spacious, and supremely capable. What sets them apart are the styling, packaging and features unique to each entry in the market.
Chevrolet Silverado (MSRP $27,585-$54,925)
The Silverado is the F-150’s biggest rival. These two trucks are far and away the two top-selling pickups in the market. The Silverado has iconic styling, as defined by the split-chrome grille. The extended cab version of the Silverado has conventional second-row doors, unlike the F-150’s clamshell doors, which need the front doors to be opened first. The Silverado has similar available tech, but Chevy’s Safety Alert and MyLink give it the edge in the tech department. But the F-150’s EcoBoost fuel economy can’t be beat.
F-150 vs Silverado:
• Best-in-Class Towing 12,500 lbs. (F-150 has 12,200 lbs.)
• Second-Row Doors Easier to use (F-150 clamshell rear doors)
• Better infotainment and safety tech (Ford SYNC good, Chevy MyLink better)
Learn more about the Chevrolet Silverado here.
GMC Sierra (MSRP $27,815-$54,640)
The Sierra is the GMC equivalent of the Silverado. They are built on the same platform, offer much of the same mechanicals, and even have similar styling. You’d think it would be simply a matter of choice, but despite the Sierra being positioned as the luxury truck option, pricing is relatively the same.
F-150 vs Sierra:
• Sierra towing only 12,000 max (F-150 better at 12,200 lbs.)
• Second-Row Doors Easier to use (F-150 clamshell rear doors)
• Better infotainment and safety tech (Ford SYNC good, GMC Intellilink better)
Learn more about the Sierra here.
Nissan Titan (MSRP $36,290-$61,960)
Up until last year, the Nissan Titan had become long in the tooth, and mostly and afterthought in the truck market, but Nissan reinvented its full-size pickup, positioning it as something between a 1500 level and 2500/3500-level vehicle. It’s starting out in upper level trims, and upper level engines, thus keeping the price high until lower-level trims are offered.
F-150 vs Titan:
• Only truck to offer a diesel V8 (F-150 still better fuel economy)
• More expensive than other trucks (F-150 base price much lower)
• Tons of cool, useful features for truck bed (Even with F-150 on this)
Learn more about the Titan here.
Ram 1500 (MSRP $26,395-$53,375)
The Ram 1500 is one of the first trucks a few years ago that sort of gave up on trying to win the work truck battle, and instead made its 1500-level truck a supremely capable vehicle for families and commuters. Its multi-link rear suspension makes it one of the smoothes trucks to drive, and its cabin is upscale and loaded with clever features.
F-150 vs Ram:
• Best infotainment in the class (Ford SYNC can’t compete)
• Smoothest ride in the class (Ford is nearly as smooth, more agile)
• Only truck to offer a diesel V6 (EcoBoost V6 still wins MPG battle)
Learn more about the Ram 1500 here.
Toyota Tundra (MSRP $29,140-$49,580)
The Tundra features big, bold styling and really spacious seats on the Double Cab and CrewMaX models, and it even has a solid infotainment system. But the Tundra is held back by poor fuel economy, a rough ride, and styling that not everyone has fallen in love with.
F-150 vs Tundra:
• Good infotainment system, but lacks Apple CarPlay (SYNC has CarPlay)
• Extremely roomy CrewMax model
• Poor fuel economy (F-140 blows it away on MPG)
Learn more about the Tundra here.
Should I Buy a Ford F-150?
If this is your first-ever truck, or plan on using your truck for commuting as much as you’ll use it for other activities, the F-150 is a fantastic way to get into pickups. The smooth ride and agile handling will take the least time getting used to of any truck in the segment.
So Which to Buy?
• If you love comfortable interiors: Silverado/Sierra, Titan
• If you require a truck with good fuel economy: Ford F-150, Ram (EcoDiesel)
• If you want the latest safety and infotainment tech: Silverado/Sierra
• If you must have the most towing capacity: Silverado/Sierra
• If you’re on a tight budget: Ford F-150
Dealmakers vs. Dealbreakers Final Tally
Dealmaker: Powerful turbocharged engines
Dealmaker: Aluminum body keeps weight down
Dealmaker: Manageable size
Dealmaker: Roomy cabin
Dealmaker: Supportive seats (with available massaging)
Dealmaker: Agile for its size
Dealmaker: Top Safety Pick
Dealmaker: Crazy F-150 Raptor option
Dealmaker: Incredible trailer tech features
Dealmaker: Plenty of customization options
Dealbreaker: Aluminum panels more expensive to fix
Dealbreaker: Less upscale interior than rivals
Dealbreaker: Cold, uninviting cabin
Dealbreaker: Gets expensive fast
Dealbreaker: Rivals have better infotainment
Dealbreaker: SuperCab’s clamshell rear doors inconvenient
Final Tally: +5.5
Market Average: +4.6
The things we could fault the F-150 for fall into two categories– style and substance. We didn’t love the look and feel of the interior, but many folks will probably love it. The Silverado just seems to have a more inviting interior. But when it comes to substance, there’s no getting around the SYNC infotainment system, and challenges of repairing aluminum body panels.
But being the first of anything is tough, and the first full-size pickup to embrace aluminum body panels have allowed Ford to do things with the F-150 that were previously not thought possible in a big truck. Its strongest towing numbers come from a turbocharged V6, and it has far and away the best fuel economy in the segment. This, along with nimble ride possible with the lighter weight make the Ford F-150 an amazing truck for the commuter or weekend warrior.
Discuss on Facebook