When you think “pickup truck” the one that probably comes to mind is the Ford F-150. The perennial best-seller has evolved in the modern era with an aluminum body, turbocharged powertrains, a hybridoption, an all-electric spinoff—reviewed separately—and all of Ford’s best tech. If you want a work truck, the entry-level XL has everything you need and nothing you don’t but move up the trim ladder and you’ll find a lengthening list of desirable features—and price tags to match, of course. For those who want to venture into the wilderness there’s the spunky Tremormodel while the upscale Platinum and Limited trims pamper occupants with Lincoln-level luxury. The F-150 does not ride as well as the Ram 1500 or handle as crisply as the Chevy Silverado, but it’s highly capable, multi-configurable, and thoroughly competitive. In other words, it’s accomplished enough to engender the kind of loyalty that has kept it atop the sales charts year after year.
What’s New for 2023?
Ford has added the off-road oriented Rattler trim to the F-150 lineup for 2023. Based on the XL FX4, the Rattler adds unique 18-inch wheels, a dual-exhaust system, hill-descent control, a locking rear differential, and an off-road suspension system along with distinctive rattle-snake inspired logos throughout the design. The Rattler’s positioning in the F-150 lineup provides a more affordable option for buyers who want additional off-road capability but don’t want to shell out for the more expensive Tremor or Raptormodels.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The F-150 is available with multiple body styles and bed lengths. While the XLT model is a step up from the basic XL work truck, we prefer the additional luxuries on the Lariat. It costs almost $10,000 more than the XLT, which may put it out of reach for some buyers, but it has the best mix of features and affordability.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2023 F-150 is available with several engines—a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6; a 400-hp 5.0-liter V-8; a 325-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6; a 400-hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6; and a 250-hp 3.0-liter diesel V-6. No matter which engine you choose, the F-150 comes paired with a 10-speed automatic. For the first time ever, the F-150 is also offered with a hybrid powertrain. Ford claims that the new 400-hp hybrid powertrain—which consists of a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, a 35 kW electric motor, and a 10-speed automatic transmission—will offer up to 700 miles of driving range per tank and can also power an onboard generator for keeping the power flowing at job sites or during power outages. Buyers will be able to choose between rear- and four-wheel drive with any of the F-150’s available powertrains. At our test track, a four-wheel drive Lariat with the hybrid powertrain galloped to 60 mph in a brisk 5.4 seconds. During our test drive, we noted a compliant ride and agreeable handling; high-spec models such as the King Ranch come with a variable-assist steering system that sharpens responses at low speeds for a more agile feeling. The Tremor model promises the most off-road capability; it offers 33-inch all-terrain tires, an upgraded suspension, a locking rear differential and a four-wheel drive transfer case borrowed from the mighty F-150 Raptor. At our test track, the Tremor leapt to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, trailing the more powerful Raptor by just 0.1 second.
Towing and Payload Capacity
While the base 3.3-liter V-6 engine’s towing capacity maxes out at 8200 pounds, models equipped with the 400-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. Going with the venerable 5.0-liter V-8 means maximum towing capacity is just 13,000 pounds; the diesel V-6 is capable of up to 12,100 pounds and the hybrid model can tow up to 12,700. Payload capacity ranges from 1840 to 3250 pounds. These towing and payload capacities keeps the new F-150 in the hunt with key rivals like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500.
Fuel Economy and Real-World
The EPA estimates the F-150 with the turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 will earn up to 20 mpg city and 26 highway. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 is rated up to 18 mpg city and 24 highway. The hybrid version has estimates as high as 25 mpg city and 26 highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the Tremor model with the twin-turbo 3.5-liter returned 19 mpg. Once we can run the F-150 hybrid, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the F-150’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Interior appointments in the F-150 nearly match the Ram 1500’s deluxe cabin, particularly in the Ford’s higher-end King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models. Premium materials are used throughout and the cabin is dotted plenty of storage cubbies. Additional convenience features are intended to make things easier for those who use the F-150 as a mobile workspace. For example, the 10-speed automatic’s shift lever can be folded flat with the center console to create a large flat workspace. Similarly, the F-150 can be ordered with fold-flat front seats that can provide a place for sleeping. Passenger space is generous, with the four-door crew-cab body style being the most spacious and family-friendly of the bunch. Out back, the F-150’s bed An optional onboard generator provides up to 7.2-kW of power to support electricity needs at the job site or at tailgate parties.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Ford provides an 8.0-inch infotainment display as standard that runs an improved version of the brand’s Sync 4 software, while a much larger 12.0-inch unit is optional. This matches the Ram 1500’s optional 12.0-inch vertically oriented display, but both the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are available with a larger 13.4-inch screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot; navigation, SiriusXM radio, and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system are optional. Sync 4’s new software provides over-the-air updates for future software releases, traffic-and- weather updates via the optional navigation system, and onboard telematics for fleet customers to help track vehicle location and usage.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Ford is offering a host of driver-assistance features, but few are standard. More features will be available as buyers walk up through the F-150’s trim levels, including a rear-facing camera for monitoring a trailer while on the go. For more information about the F-150’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The F-150 comes with three years or 36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and five years or 60,000 miles of powertrain protection. Ford doesn’t offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance, but rivals such as the Toyota Tundra and the GM twins do.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-pickup
Base/As Tested: $51,200/$69,595
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 213 in3, 3497 cm3
Power: 400 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 500 lb-ft @ 3100 rpm
Suspension, F/R: control arms/live axle
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in vented disc/13.2-in vented disc
Tires: General Grabber A/TX
275/70R-18 116S M+S TPMSF
Wheelbase: 145.4 in
Length: 231.7 in
Width: 79.9 in
Height: 79.3 in
Passenger Volume: 136 ft3
Curb Weight: 5562 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.9 sec @ 100 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 108 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 193 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.74 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 15 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 19 mpg
Highway Range: 680 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 18/16/20 mpg
2021 Ford F-150 Lariat Powerboost
front-engine, rear-/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
PRICE AS TESTED
$66,345 (base price: $46,350)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.5-liter V-6, 400 hp, 500 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 47 hp; combined output, 430 hp, 570 lb-ft; 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Suspension (F/R): control arms/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 13.8-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler Territory AT, 275/65R-18 116T M+S
Wheelbase: 145.4 in
Length: 231.7 in
Width: 79.9 in
Height: 77.2 in
Passenger volume: 136 ft3
Curb weight: 5794 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.4 sec
100 mph: 13.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
1/4 mile: 13.9 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 107 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 203 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.72 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 24/24/24 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs