By Paul Strauss
I’ll start out by saying this: The 2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch is the best pickup truck I’ve ever driven. It’s loaded with luxuries and comforts not typically associated with pickups, and doesn’t sacrifice utility in the least. Built on the new high-strength aluminum F-150 platform, the truck weighs in at under 5,000 pounds, which is pretty great for a vehicle of its size and capability.
The King Ranch package decks out the exterior of the F-150 with a chrome three-bar grille, surrounded by bright quad-beam LED headlamps. The King Ranch “W” logo can be found throughout, including on the shiny chrome-like 20″ wheels, on the front doors, on the liftgate and even integrated into the F-150 logo. Rugged all-terrain tires are ready to take on whatever you can throw at them. Power running boards that automatically open when you open the doors, and bright LED exterior illumination on the mirrors are just a few of the upgrades you’ll find outside.
The truck offers a cavernous Supercrew cab with seating for five real adults, and more than enough room for their legs, knees, heads, and even their work gear. Rear seat legroom is the best I’ve seen in anything short of a limo. The interior is fitted with luxurious materials including perforated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, and leather and real wood trim on the dash and doors. I especially love the “W” logo that’s been stitched into the seat backs, center console and even on the floor mats. The center console is still predominantly plastic, but is still nicely designed and has a premium look.
The power memory front seats offer good support and comfort, with heating, cooling, and even adjustable air bladders for improved back support. Push a button on the side of the seats, and you’ll be treated to a back and butt massage while you drive. Both the steering wheel and pedals offer power adjustments so you can set your optimal driving position. While the rear seat passengers won’t get a massage, they do get heated seats. And if you want to use the back for storage, the seats easily fold up against the back wall.
Overhead is an optional twin-panel moonroof, which pours light into the whole cabin, and its front half can be opened for ventilation. In the back of the cab is a remote-controlled sliding window for added airflow. There’s a huge storage bin in the center console, and both front and rear passengers get USB ports and an AC power outlet.
Under the hood, you can choose from either a 5.0L V8 or a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost, which I think is the engine of choice. Not only does it produce more torque than the V8, it gets better mileage. Though for some reason, the V6 model actually weighs about 50 pounds more. The turbocharged V6’s 365hp and 420 lb-ft. of torque was plenty to move this big boy down the road with ease. I averaged about 16 mpg in the city and about 21 mpg on the highway. Not bad for something this big. Towing capacity is also excellent, maxing out at 11,500 lbs., with a cargo capacity of 2,650 lbs. You also get a nice big gas tank that can hold 23 gallons, and Ford offers the option for an extended-range 36 gallon tank too.
Equipped with the 4×4 off-road package, you can select between RWD and automatic RWD/4WD modes for everyday driving, a 4 Hi mode for slippery and loose surfaces, and a 4 Lo mode for hills, ruts, and other harsh off-road environments. In 2WD mode, the ride is exceptionally quiet, and road feel is excellent. In the 4WD modes, you sacrifice some of the smoothness for increased traction. There’s also an electronic locking rear axle for those times when you really need all the traction you can get. Ground clearance is also great for leaving the road, with 9.3 inches on the 4×4 model.
One of the most impressive aspects of this truck is its suspension. It’s about as good as it gets for a truck, offering a cushioned and comfortable ride for its occupants and cargo, without feeling mushy. And despite being a high profile vehicle, the ride never felt top heavy, which gave me tremendous driving confidence.
High tech conveniences and safety features abound, including a set of cameras which provide a rear and 360º top-down view when parking or connecting a trailer. Speaking of trailers, there’s a trailer brake controller, which allows the truck to proportionally activate the brakes on many trailers, and on-screen displays which let you see how your wheels and angle are when approaching a trailer. A similar display shows the body pitch, roll and wheel angle, which is great for off-roading.
In addition, you get hill start assist, hill descent control, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping alert and steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and tire pressure monitoring systems. Of course, there’s the fashionable touchscreen navigation and infotainment system, which runs Ford’s SYNC system, and a Sony sound system.
Of course, if you’re driving a pickup, you’re gonna be throwing stuff in the bed, and this bed doesn’t disappoint. The 62.3 cubic-foot bed has LED task lighting so you can see what you’re doing at night, tie-down cleats which can be locked in place, and a nifty folding bed box extender which can be used to either add cargo space onto an open liftgate, or to create a separate space for groceries and other small items. There’s also some great safety features, including a pull-out step on the liftgate, and a pair of pop-out steps at the front of the box.
What can I say. I loved my time with the F-150 King Ranch. I wish I didn’t have to give it back at the end of my review loan. It’s proof that luxury, utility and ruggedness can come together in perfect harmony, and that Ford reigns supreme at the top of the pickup truck heap.
Source:: 95 Octane