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Ford F150 5.0 Platinum FX4 (Super Crew): Sophisticated, luxurious workhorse

By Ghaith Madadha - Feb 08,2016 - Last updated at Feb 08,2016

Photo courtesy of Ford and Ghaith Madadha

Much awaited and launched last, the 13th generation of America’s most iconic and best-selling pickup truck is the most advanced in its segment. Built with use of extensive high strength steel in its frame and a lightweight body from tough military-grade aluminium, the new F150 weights up to 317kg less than its predecessor. 

Raising the bar in the large pickup segment, the 2015 utilitarian Ford F150’s massive weight saving translates into improved performance, fuel efficiency, braking, ride and handling, and hauling and towing. Driven in range-topping and most luxurious 5.0 Platinum guise, the F150 is also available in various engine, body, cargo and drive-line versions and choices for professional, recreational and private use.

Rugged yet lightweight

First among peers, the F150’s aluminium body is extensively tested for durability. Meanwhile, its masterful design both captures a rugged and bold aesthetic evolution and is functional. Assertive yet subtly honed for better aerodynamics and airflow than ever, even the F150 cab bed design is also designed to reduces turbulence, while a low waistline allows good visibility.

Brimming with tough Tonka-truck appeal and slightly wider than it is tall, the F150 Platinum features a huge, upright and dominant chrome grill with angled back edges, semi-split LED headlights, and massive 275/55R20 footwear. Jutting, assertive and eager in demeanour, the F150’s ridged and stepped bonnet reduces the distance to the wheel-arch apex for a cleaner, better flowing aesthetic

A luxurious large truck designed for mixed professional and private use, the F150’s much improved cabin features quality padded textures and surfaces with considerably reduced use of hard plastics. Layouts and designs are user-friendly, ergonomic and accessible, including multi-function steering and instrument display. Meanwhile, big wide-swinging front and rear doors and an automatically lowering running board provide easy accessibility.

Coyote charisma

The f150 is available with several engine choices including entry-level naturally aspirated 3.5-litre “Cyclone” and muscularly efficient turbocharged 2.7- and twin-turbo 3.5-litre “Ecoboost” V6 variants. The range-topping Platinum edition driven, however, features Ford’s gurglingly mighty and progressive naturally-aspirated 5-litre DOHC V8 “Coyote” engine, mated to a smooth and concise shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Essentially the same engine powering the Mustang GT muscle car, the Coyote is tuned for less heady characteristics for F150 service, producing 385BHP at 5750rpm rather than 435BHP at 6500rpm. Muscular at low- and mid-range speeds to suit a heavier 2,209kg truck application, the Coyote-powered F150 Platinum produces effortlessly accessible and exploitable torque throughout its rev range, peaking at 387lb/ft by 3850rpm.

Launching responsively off the line and flexible in mid range, the F150 5.0 is seamless, smooth and rewardingly and progressively in delivery. Eager through revs and refined and subdued when cruising, the F150’s engine note builds from a low-end burbling laced with evocative induction noises to an insistent growling and pounding staccato as it hunts towards its redline.

Comfort and composure

Quickest and with least drive-line power loss when in rear-drive mode, the F150 5.0 sprints from standstill to 97km/h in under 6 seconds and slips and pushes indefatigably through wind resistance to its easily attainable and electronically governed 170km/h top speed. Meanwhile, an automatic four-wheel drive mode can divert power to the front axle when enhanced traction and grip is needed.

A more refined, composed and agile vehicle than expected in the large pickup segment, the new F150 may be hugely spacious, but seemingly feels smaller, nimbler, and more manoeuvrable and than the competition. Riding on double wishbone front and heavy-duty live axle and leaf spring rear suspension, the F150’s outboard rear dampers and suspension make it perhaps the smoothest, most refined, controlled and nuanced among peers. 

Controlled and balanced through corners and with tidy turn-in for its enormity, the F150 also features light but comparatively well communicative steering feel. Reassuringly grippy through corners, the F150 virtually eliminates the hard cornering side axle hop and acceleration squat and brake dive associated similar vehicles. The F150 is also more composed and buttoned down on rebound than is expected in its segment.

Comfort and capability

Settled, stable and smooth at speed, the F150 is feels supple, forgiving and fluent over rough surfaces, bumps and cracks, despite massive 20-inch alloy wheels. Meanwhile, it is extensively well equipped with adaptive cruise control and advanced blindspot, lane keeping, rear cross-path and towing semi-autonomous driver-assistance systems, and a 360° around view monitor. Safety systems include three inflatable 3-point rear seatbelts and childseat latches. 

Engineered for tough towing, hauling and off-road work — especially with the FX4 package as driven, the F150 is equipped with high and low gear permanent four-wheel drive modes.

Capable of carrying 943kg in a 1,495-litre volume cargo bed, the F150 can also tow up to 4,944kg, depending on three available axle ratio options. The F150 FX4 also features generous 238mm ground clearance, 25.5° approach, 21° break-over and 26° departure angles.

Vastly spacious for five large passengers and with a highly adjustable driving position, the thoroughly well equipped F150’s instrument panel even features a display to show steering angle, gradient, side slope and active four-wheel drive power distribution.

 

A luxurious workhorse, the F150 features Ford’s intuitive Sync infotainment system with Bluetooth streaming and voice command, and massaging front seats. Stiffer side seat bolsters would, however, be welcome to matches the F150’s good cornering ability.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 5-litre, all-aluminium, in-line V8 cylinders

Bore x stroke: 92.2 x 92.7mm

Compression ratio: 10.5:1

Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing

Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive, low ratio transfer case

Gear ratios: 1st 4.17:1; 2nd 2.34:1; 3rd 1.52:1; 4th 1.14:1; 5th 0.86:1; 6th 0.69:1; R 3.4:1

Axle ratio options: 3.31:1, 3.55:1, 3.73:1

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 385 (390) [287] @5750rpm

Specific power: 77.7BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 174.2BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 387 (524) @3850rpm

Specific torque: 105.8Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 237.2Nm/tonne

0-97km/h: 5.5 seconds (estimate)

Top speed: 170km/h (electronically governed)

Minimum fuel requirement: 91RON

Wheelbase: 3,683mm

Track: 1717mm 

Overhang, F/R; 959 /1247mm

Ground clearance: 238mm

Approach /break-over /departure angles: 25.5° /21° /26°

Seating: 5

Hip room, F/R: 1587 /1643mm

Cargo bed height, length, width: 543, 1705, 1285-1656mm 

Load floor height: 907mm

Cargo volume: 1,495 litres

Fuel capacity: 125 litres (optional)

Kerb weight: 2,209kg

Payload: 943kg

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 3,175kg

Towing maximum: 4,082-4,944kg (depending on axle ratio)

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning circle: 15.57 metres

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones, coil springs /live axle, leaf springs

Brakes, F/R: Disc, 34 x 350mm /drum, 22 x 335mm

Brake callipers, F/R: Twin /single

 

Tyres: 275/55R20

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