2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Ford F-Series pickup truck. Making it's debut back in 1948, the F-Series has been the #1 truck seller in Canada for 51 years. This specific truck we have, the 2018 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew seems to be one of the most popular trim configurations here in Québec, as we saw plenty of 13th generation F-150s in this trim during our week with this vehicle. So what makes the Ford pickup so popular?
First off, there's tonnes of options and customization available with the F-Series. Whether you're looking for a truck as a commercial vehicle to run your contractor business from, a heavy duty truck to tow large farm equipment, or you just like the look of it and want one over an SUV, there's likely a Ford pickup truck just for you. Our's comes in with an MSRP of $57,594.00 with just over $12,000 of that in options, such as the FX4 off-road package, voice-activated navigation, and Ford Sync3. You could probably live without the off-road package, but the rest of the options do give you the creature comforts you're looking for in a truck.
First off, the 2018 model year is a small facelift for this generation, bringing a slightly revised front grille along with a newer lift-gate with the F-150 badge embossed along the bottom. From the side though it will be tough telling a 2017 apart from the 2018. We did review the 2017 XLT last year, and the big complaint we had is still present with it's awful halogen headlights. Truck makers don't have much of an incentive to offer standard safety technology like decent headlights since there's no federal mandate for them, and like RAM and Chevrolet, getting LED headlights is going to cost you more than you might be willing to spend.
Aside from that, we don't have any faults with the exterior design of this truck. The facelift is certainly a minor one, but it is hard to improve on perfection. The bed features additional LED lighting to help with low-light loading, along with an LED puddle light built-in to the handle of the lift-gate. The backup camera and rear parking sensors are infinitely helpful with a vehicle of this size, allowing you to see beyond the truck's bed to get a better idea of where you're pulling into. There's absolutely no downside to this safety technology when it works, and can help save lives by giving the driver a better view of what's behind.
The interior of the F-150 is very similar to what we found last year, but with a different configuration with the 40/20/40 front seat's fixed centre console. This means the column shifter is gone, and replaced with a behemoth of a gear lever in the centre, along with tonnes of storage for valuables like laptops or tablets. You also get plenty of power with dual USB outlets up front, typical car charger outlets, and 2 house-style outlets, allowing you to connect virtually any portable device during your drive.
Sync3 is a new tech for us, and we found it worked pretty well. It's certainly not our favourite navigation system, but it's also far to be the worst. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are nice additions for this system, but we did notice that it would override the stock navigation system when a phone is connected. We used the built-in nav system often during our week, and for the most part it was accurate, with some small issues with civic addresses being off from their real-world equivalents.
As far as trucks go, interior space and comfort is good with the cloth seating. You do feel a lot more of the bumps with the suspension, but that's the territory you're in when getting a truck. Rear seating is very good, allowing you to fit 3 adults easily, with the ability to fold the seats up for additional storage. While seasoned truck owners don't see this as a problem, new buyers might forget that a truck doesn't have a trunk nor does that bed provide heating/air conditioning. If you have valuables they'll need to go inside the cab, especially if the weather isn't nice. This might be common sense to most, but I think some people might forget that a truck is more exposed to the elements than an SUV.
Performance and handling was good with the 2.7L Ecoboost V6 engine configured on this F-150. We averaged 12.7L/100km during our week with the truck and it's 325 horsepower, 400 lb-ft of torque should be plenty for most buyers. The 3.55 differential installed on this truck also meant that total hauling weight was around 5,800lbs, which should be plenty for anyone looking to haul trailers, or off-road vehicles.
We had little issue getting up to speed on the highways, given the fact that we're driving a heavy truck. We certainly used that engine to it's fullest potential at times to pass other traffic, but for the most part it was efficient with the 10-speed automatic transmission Ford is offering with this engine.
There's certainly a lot to like about the 2018 Ford F-150, and we think it will continue to be the king of the light duty truck market here in North America, but Ford is going to have to get creative now that RAM is offering more luxuries at their top trim for 2019. The competitive world of luxury trucks is getting fierce, as we seem to mention with all segments now. Ford might be on top, but will they continue to have all the bells and whistles some customers want? Only time will tell.
You can watch our full episode of TestDrive Spotlight on the 2018 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew below: