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2016 Ford F-150 | Test Drive Review

Hi, I’m Chris Wardlaw for CarGurus, and this is the 2016 Ford F-150 Limited. You can always gauge the American economy by observing the full-size truck market. When truck sales are hot, the economy is good. When truck sales are cool, the economy is bad. Plus, I find that the more trucks I see with big wheels and tires, suspension lifts, and bellowing exhaust systems, the more confident truck owners are feeling about their own economic fortunes. As of late, it would appear that Americans are doing quite well. Another economic bellwether is the number of luxury trucks that are available. The F-150 Limited is new for 2016, and it tops the lineup with a base price of more than $60,000. And Ford isn’t the only truck maker responding to customer requests for more of everything. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the F-150 Limited so special.

Now my test truck’s got nearly every option that’s available for the Limited model, and the sticker price is $66,810. And one of the upgrades is 4-wheel drive, and another one is this unique White Platinum extra-cost paint. Now some of the things that are specific to the Limited model include the satin- finish grille, and Ford uses satin finish on a lot of the trim, including the tailgate applique. You’ve got big bold lettering on the hood proclaiming that this is the Limited model, and you’ve got these 22-inch wheels and tires. They sure look good, don’t they? Now, the Limited is not exclusively available with these power retractable running boards, but I’ll tell you what: no matter what F-150 you’re getting, you’re going to probably want to upgrade with those because they make getting in and out of the truck really easy.

Exclusive to the Limited is this beautiful Mojave-colored leather interior with genuine eucalyptus wood trim. And some of the other extra-cost upgrades on my test truck include these useful box side steps, a spray-in bedliner, and this awesome tailgate step. Alright, let’s take a look inside, shall we? Now in addition to the special leather color for the interior and the unique wood trim, every F-150 Limited gets a VIN-engraved plaque right here on the center console that adds a little bit of bling to the cabin. But my favorite thing about the F-150 Limited, and the reason I recommend that you buy this truck, is it has heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats. Ah, that feels good. Seriously, this is a class exclusive, and I strongly recommend getting this luxury pickup truck if you’re planning on buying one at all.

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Now in addition to absolutely superior comfort levels in front, the back seat is positively huge. And the people sitting back there, they’ve got heated seat cushions, they’ve got a 3-prong power outlet just like you’ve got right here on the dashboard. It’s ready to power up whatever equipment you might have. And the Limited has this big panoramic glass sunroof. So when you power open the rear sliding window, you lower all the side windows, and you pop this thing open, it’s almost like you’ve got a convertible pickup truck. As you might imagine with a truck that’s priced well over $65,000, this thing is loaded with all the latest in technology. There are two significant upgrades for 2016: the first is the new Sync 3 infotainment system. It replaces the old MyFord Touch technology, and it is a massive upgrade. First of all, graphically it just looks a lot nicer. Second of all, it responds to input a lot faster. It’s also got improved voice-recognition technology, it’s Siri compatible, it’s got a capacitive touchscreen so if you want to zoom in or zoom out on a map, you just pinch or spread your fingers, you can swipe through menus.

There’s a lot of functionality associated with Sync 3, and it is a huge upgrade. Now the second new technology this year is something that Ford calls “Pro Trailer Backup Assist.” And basically what it does is it takes the optional active park-assist system’s autonomous steering technology and applies it to reversing a trailer. Now if you’ve ever driven a truck with a trailer attached, you know that the idea is you have to steer in the opposite direction of where you want the trailer to go, and oftentimes that results in a lot of trial and error. The idea behind this new technology is that Ford is letting the truck take control of the steering, and the driver is guiding the trailer simply by turning this knob. So you turn this knob, and it tells the system exactly where the truck needs to steer. Now in addition to these two new features for 2016, the F-150 Limited’s got a lot of driving-assist technology. The one thing that it’s missing, though, is an automatic emergency braking system, and that’s really unfortunate.

And what it does is it means that the truck gets a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety instead of Top Safety Pick+. Almost certainly, Ford is going to remedy that soon. Now it also has a number of programmable features that you can use the driver information system to program. Among them are a number of options for trailering, the various sensitivity levels for the driving-assist technologies, different ways to monitor the truck’s performance. There’s a lot going on in the driver information system. Very cool technology. The only engine available in the F-150 Limited is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that’s making 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Now as you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to get to 60 miles an hour. We got to 60 right there, and it went by fairly quickly, didn’t it? Now it’s important to note that this engine makes more horsepower and torque than the 5.3-liter V8 engine that is standard in the GMC Sierra Denali. And with all of the F-150’s aluminum bodywork, the F-150 actually weighs less, too. So it is a quicker truck, and it feels that way. Still, while Ford refers to this as an EcoBoost engine, there’s really nothing “eco” about it.

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On my standard test loop, the F-150 Limited got 16.7 miles per gallon, and that exactly matches the last GMC Sierra Denali that I tested with a 5.3-liter V8 engine. Now when it’s equivalently configured to the GMC, the Ford’s twin-turbo V6 does tow more weight than the GMC’s 5.3-liter V8 does, but the Sierra can handle more payload than the Ford. Now in any case, the F-150 is a delight to drive. It feels light and quick, stiff and responsive. And sitting on these standard 22-inch wheels and tires, it delivers an impressive level of handling. The twin-turbo V6 engine effortlessly powers the truck up mountain grades, the 6-speed automatic transmission always shifts exactly as the driver wants and expects, and the brakes are quite stout. On a hot testing day, they resisted fade and they proved that they are up to the task of towing a heavy trailer.

The steering is also pleasing to use. It is fairly heavily weighted, but it is accurate, and it’s relatively quick. Now it’s been a long time since I drove Ford’s SVT F-150 Lightning down Mulholland Highway. It’s been several years. And after I took this test truck down that section of road, I’d say it comes very close to the level of handling and enjoyment that that SVT Lightning did. Now this acceleration, handling, and stopping capability also translates really well to the real world, where the F-150 proves itself unexpectedly quiet.

Under acceleration, there’s this pleasing engine and exhaust note that you can hear, but in all other situations, the cabin is remarkably hushed, making conversation really easy. Now the F-150 Limited might be expensive for a truck, but the performance, the design, the quality, the comfort, and the capability almost make it seem like it’s a bargain. Right now, the Ford F-150 is my favorite full-size truck, and this Limited model is my favorite version of it. It’s plush, comfortable, quick, and genuinely enjoyable to drive. Plus, I think it looks great inside and out.

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Of course, the competition isn’t sitting still, and you might have specific requirements that the F-150 can’t fill, although I can’t imagine what that might be aside from wanting a diesel engine. In any case, if you’re feeling good about the economy, and specifically about your own prosperity, I’d say the F-150 Limited is the luxury truck to get. Be sure to check out my full review of the F-150 Limited on CarGurus.com. And if you found this review helpful, please share the video and subscribe to our YouTube channel. For all of us at CarGurus, thank you for watching. Now another new thing for 2016 is what Ford is calling a “Pro Trailer Backup Assist” system. And I didn’t do that very well, did I?


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