One of the best ways to evaluate a pickup is to use it for the purpose for which it was designed and with a house move under way; I was able to do just that recently with a 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat.
I have to say right off the mark that this truck was one of the best and most lavishly equipped pickups I’d ever got my hands on. If there was ever an ‘ultimate pickup’ contest, the F-150 would be hard to beat, especially in the luxurious and capable Lariat trim level that my truck had. As with all full-size pickups, you’ll be spending a lot of money if you exploit the tempting list of available options.
Ford has been building pickup trucks for 100 years now and clearly, the company has vast experience in the segment. The F-150 has long been the best-selling vehicle of any kind in North America and in fact, is often named as the best-selling vehicle worldwide, outperforming even the iconic Toyota Corolla with over 1-million sold annually.
For 2018 there are all kinds of desirable upgrades Ford has introduced to keep on top of competition that battles closer all the time. The truck is fabricated from military grade aluminum alloy for lightness and strength and for 2018, the truck raises the bar in the towing department, taking hauling capability higher than ever. Ford’s all-new 3.0-litre Power Strike turbo-diesel is the way to go if towing is a key factor. Other engines include enhanced V-6 and V-8 units. There’s also a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Lariat I tested was fitted with a 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine and a full four-wheel drive system. The Lariat came with the Supercrew cab, which was frankly huge. The rear bench seat folds back towards the box and creates a very large and usefully-shaped load area, which seemed to me almost as roomy as a minivan with two rows of seats folded flat. Moving house, I made good use of it and packed it with large boxes.
The box is obviously very accommodating too and has a power tailgate that folds slowly down with the press of a fob button. To make climbing into the box easier when loading, there’s a foldout step that pulls out of the lower structure of the box. For ease of cab access, powered running boards glide out into place when any door is opened, making access simple, even for the less-than-spry. Ford really did think of everything with this truck!
Other goodies on my test Lariat included a twin panel moonroof, off road skid plates, box side steps, integrated trailer brake control, leather seats, a sprayed on bed liner, voice activated navigation and a long list of other convenience, safety and cosmetic items. It ran the final price up pretty high, but entry-level models are certainly affordable.
On the road the Lariat is very much like driving a large luxury SUV. It’s surprisingly quite and comfortable and handles exceptionally well. Driving on Vancouver Island’s Inland Highway where the speed limits are 120 km/h, it was perfectly happy at that pace and held steady on long sweeping curves with impressive poise, even with a full load. At the end of the test, it was determined that fuel economy was very impressive, though there are no Federal ratings available yet.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door crew cab pickup
ENGINE: 2.7-litre EcoBoost
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY: Ford F-150s can tow over 13,000 lbs, depending on engine and model
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA
PRICE: Base Lariat, $57,199 MSRP. As tested, $73,699