The top model of America’s best-selling vehicle is fully loaded with features
Updated for 2019, the Ford F-150 Limited is a top-drawer luxury pickup truck with just about every gizmo imaginable. But what it doesn’t have, and this might come as a surprise, is a V8 engine.
Nope, this big truck is powered by a 3.5-liter V6. But it’s a twin-turbocharged Ecoboost engine with the power to propel the full-size Supercrew pickup with plenty of flair, as well as provide 12,700-pound towing capacity.
The High Output 3.5 Ecoboost V6, the same engine that powers Ford’s off-road beast, the F-150 Raptor, is rated at a muscular 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. That kind of makes one wonder whether the days are numbered for V8 engines in anything but heavy-duty trucks and muscle cars.
(By the way, I just had dropped off to me for testing a full-size 2019 Chevrolet Silverado crewcab with a 2.7-liter turbo engine. So it goes.)
The Ecoboost V6 is not geared toward maximizing economy, per se, but to stand as a performance engine in its own right. Ford crows that the F-150 Limited with Ecoboost and the full-on luxury treatment is now “the most powerful, advanced and luxurious F-150 ever.”
Since the F-150 remains America’s highest-selling vehicle of any kind, as it has been for more than four decades, it’s no small matter to mess with such success. But Ford has made a couple of big changes in recent years to its premier workhorse.
First came switching to lighter aluminum for much of F-150’s body structure, losing several hundred pounds without compromising strength, Ford says. That was a bold move to create a lighter and more fuel-efficient truck, risking the wrath of generally conservative truck buyers. But pushback was negligible, and F-150 has remained on top, probably because it came out so well.
The switch to the Ecoboost V6 was just as bold, with so many pickup drivers focused on the brawny torque of a large-displacement V8. But the proof is in the numbers, and it’s hard to dispute 520 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm, which is considerably more than that of the 5.0-liter V8 or the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel, engines that are available in lesser models of the F-150.
For more potent engines, a buyer would have to move up to the Super Duty F-Series pickups, where you can get a 6.2-liter V8 gas engine with 430 pound-feet of torque or a Power Stroke diesel V8 with a stump-pulling 935 pound-feet. But Super Duties are on an entirely different plane of work trucks, and more-accommodating F-150 models are what most people want and buy.
The Ecoboost does provide decent fuel economy as well as brisk acceleration, with the EPA’s mpg rating for this two-wheel-drive model at 17 city, 22 highway and 19 combined. My mileage was not as good, but I was getting on it quite a bit – the turbo-V6 emits a nice gnarly growl that’s hard to resist.
The F-150 Limited is an exceptionally well-equipped vehicle, a luxury craft with all the trimmings, as suitable for a family trip or night on the town as it is for the worksite. Not that you’d want to toss any concrete blocks into this beauty. No, this would be the truck that a well-heeled contractor or developer might drive. This pickup can tote or tow heavy loads, but only in the most genteel fashion.
The broad crewcab interior boasts a wealth of comfort, convenience and technological features, as well as a suite of safety systems to keep you out of harm’s way. The cabin is finished in quality leather, including the dash top, and it has a suede headliner.
The wood trim is hand-finished “gradated ash swirl,” with each piece showing a “halo around the edges and a heavily polished center,” Ford says.
The front seats are heated and power ventilated, and they will provide a massage, as required, as well as an Active Motion lumbar support. A FordPass Connect 4G LTE modem provides Wi-Fi access for as many as 10 devices, and the Sync 3 feature has Applink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Oh, and the Harmon B&O Play audio system is awesome.
The center of the console has a large metal plate set in the middle that announces that, yes indeed, this is an F-150 Limited and for whatever reason includes the 17-digit vehicle identification number, as if you’d want to check that every time you got in. Must be designed to give a feeling of exclusivity, but still it’s quite over the top.
Outside, the Limited wears its luxury in yards of bright trim, 22-inch polished alloy wheels, retracting side steps and its nameplate embossed on sculpted tailgate trim. The grille and headlight styling are appropriately brawny, and the tailgate on this truck had the optional built-in folding step.
Trailer hookup is made easy with the Pro Trailer Backup Assist operated by a rotating console knob while watching a split rearview image on the 8-inch video screen.
Highway driving is assisted by adaptive cruise control that can bring the truck to a complete stop if needed, and stop-and-go engine management raises fuel economy in traffic. Active park assist helps guide the pickup into a parallel parking spot, if you can find one big enough.
I could go on about the plethora of desirable gear on the Limited, but suffice to say it has everything that you would find in a top luxury sedan. But with a roomier back seat. And yes, it is just as pricey, this one venturing into the $70,000 range, with a few options.
While I’m not really a fan of humongous pickup trucks, which seem to get bigger every year, I found the F-150 Limited to be enjoyable to drive, with decent handling and lively performance. I quickly felt right at home in this luxury mansion on wheels.
2019 Ford F-150 Limited Supercrew
Vehicle type: five-passenger, four-door pickup truck, rear-wheel drive
Base price: $67,135 Price as tested: $70,755
Engine: 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, 450 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, 510 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 145 inches Overall length/width: 231.9 inches / 79.9 inches (not including mirrors)
Gross vehicle weight: 6,750 pounds Towing capacity: 12,700 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 17 city / 22 highway / 19 combined
Assembled in: Dearborn, Michigan