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Ford F-150: For Work and Play

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 17, 2017

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It's not only the best-selling pickup in the United States, the Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the United States and Canada. And there's no secret to its success.

The pickup is available in a wide variety of configurations, from the hard core workhorse to the 450-hp Raptor edition.

The 2017 F-150 Lariat trim is a good mix of work and play.

It is already a good-looking beast. And given its full-size pickup rating, Ford hasn't been shy about its girth. Ultimately, the F-150 is as square as a tool box, so function wins over form — something most buyers want anyway in their pickup truck. That hasn't stopped them from throwing some style in, as the massive front grill is pure tractor/trailer, with the headlights adding a cool, modern twist. The factory rims don't disappear under the wheel arches and look good enough to add an aftermarket vibe. In whole, it looks as comfortable on the worksite as it would in the average urban setting.

The F-150 may have made its name on the job sites of this world, being the mobile office for many a mover and shaker, but there's nothing in the rulebook that says an office has to be bare bones.

Opening the pickup is as simple as any modern sedan, as with a press of a button one gets in. For the more active, there's a keypad on the door allowing real keyless entry. Leave the keys inside the F-150 and use the keypad code to open the vehicle.

Around the vehicle are the small things that make worksite living easy. The lined bed is accessed via an illuminated soft-touch button operated tailgate. Bed extenders can be used to keep longer cargo safe with the rear gate down along with host of integrated hooks and tethers. Getting in and out of the bed is a matter of using the retractable side steps on either side.

Once in, it's pure Americana. It isn't just big on the outside. Interior space in the double cab version would put many luxury sedans to shame. Passengers can stretch out to their hearts' content without fear of touching each other — unless necessary. The Lariat trim brings high-end luxury features, such as leather seating, and all expected amenities are fully-powered or automated. There are nods to the true nature of the F-150, with massive storage areas and durable plastics.

The infotainment system is Ford's Sync 3 system. Its large screen is crystal clear and has big icons to be easily seen and pressed. The connectivity standards are there — USB and Bluetooth, and in the event of the inability to slip off work gloves, voice commands can do major jobs as well. In all, it's a nice place to be.

Fire up the F-150, which can also be done externally with a press of the key, and the 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo engine impresses with its refinement. The couch-like driver's chair can be adjusted to one's liking, and if that's still not enough, so can the pedals. Throw in memory seating and this makes it easy to find the ideal driving position in the F-150.

Notwithstanding the size, everything significant is easily within reach or operation from the mirrored infotainment screen in the instrument panel. Major functions, like towing, can be done from the driver's chair once the vehicle is so equipped using the backup camera and the provided control switch.

Forward motion is just as easy. Despite its girth, the F-150 isn't a slowpoke. In normal mode, it drives quietly and competently, trying to blend maximum efficiency with acceleration. There is a tow mode, but slip the eight-speed transmission into sport mode and the engine makes itself heard. At first it seems comical to be driving something the length and width as the F-150 as fast as it can go, but it never forgets its weight, keeping things safely in check with strong braking and tons of electronic nannies.

The F-150 Lariat embodies the current trend of pickup trucks. It can easily do the work it's asked to, but recognises that it doesn't have to do so in a caveman manner, and without any fun. The Ford fills in the latter two areas with modern luxury, convenience features and some sporting capacity.

The F-150 Lariat is available at KIG located at 381 Spanish Town Road and 21-25 Old Hope Road in Kingston.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Drive train:

3.5-litre V6 Twin Turbo EcoBoost + eight-speed automatic transmission

Horsepower: 375 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 470 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

Fuel economy: (city/highway) 19/26 mpg

Starting price: $11.35 million

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