Auto review: Ford updates F-150 line with more choices, more tech – Bend Bulletin





For 2019, the Ford F-150 pickup from America’s truck leader has some exciting upgrades and additions.

Tough, smart and capable, the F-150 has class-leading capability, outperforming others whether hauling cargo in the bed or towing a trailer, making the toughest task look easy on the job or on a fun weekend.

The F-150 is popular with work fleets and offers options such as Ford Telematic Prep to monitor vehicles with GPS tracing and geofencing on a live map, get live vehicle health alerts, set reminders for service or inspection, monitor fuel usage and monitor driver behavior to help improve safety.

Alternative-fuel engines are also available for fleet use.

With seven trims available, priced from $28,155 to $67,135, there is an F-150 for any need.

My F-150 Lariat Supercrew ($47,985) had a second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine with start/stop technology, more horsepower (375) and best-in-class 470 foot-pounds of torque.

Improvements include Ford-first port fuel and direct injection with two injectors per cylinder to improve power and efficiency, all-new twin turbos for greater on-demand power, and a more-responsive high-end-efficient 10-speed automatic transmission with Tow/Haul, Snow/Wet, Eco Select and Sport modes.

The advanced 10-speed transmission brings improved performance and enhanced acceleration compared with the six-speed it replaced, as well as three overdrive gears.

Two-speed automatic four-wheel drive with neutral towing capacity is standard for 4WD F-150s. Shift-on-the-fly allows changing from two-wheel drive to 4WD low or high with the turn of a dial. My Lariat also had automatic 4WD.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go ($1,250) maintained a set speed and distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically accelerating and braking, even coming to a complete stop in traffic and resuming when traffic resumed. If stopped for more than three seconds, driver intervention is necessary.

New packages

My Lariat had most of the basic features and equipment everyone expects and added lots of packages and options, starting with a Lariat Series package for $7,050 with Blind Spot Information System/Cross-Traffic Alert and Trailer Tow Monitoring (for the trailer as well as the vehicle); remote start system with remote tailgate release; reverse sensing system (detects objects while slowly reversing, an audible signal increases in frequency and volume); LED side-mirror spotlights for working after dark; and a 110-volt outlet.

Also included were a universal garage door opener; leather-trimmed bucket seats — heated/ventilated 10-way driver/passenger seats with power lumbar and memory driver’s seat; heated steering wheel; LED fog lights; heated second-row seats; power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory; quad beam LED headlights and taillights;rain-sensing wipers, and windshield wiper de-icer.

The included B&O sound system brought a customized audio experience with specifically tailored speaker placement, tuning, and calibration; monitoring background noise; up to 1,000 watts of power and 10 speakers.

A Lariat Sport Appearance package ($300) added 18-inch, six-spoke machined-aluminum wheels with Magnetic (dark gray) painted pockets, all-season/all-terrain tires, body color grille (Magma Red, deep brownish red with red flecks) with two large bars/four minor bars, black surround and black mesh, body-color bumpers, FX 4WD Off- Road box side decals, bucket seats, chrome single-tip exhaust, and unique interior finish (subtle gray basket-weave design).

Automatic on/off headlights with automatic high beams and daytime running lights worked with the rain-sensing wipers, turning on when the wipers were activated. Two large chrome tow hooks were located near the outer bumper.

The cargo box featured Box Link, a flexible, configurable system to secure accessories such as ramps, storage bins, dividers and much more.

My Lariat had four cleats, locked into place on the bed sides, capable of holding 275 pounds across the box and 600 pounds diagonally.

Standard were four fixed floor tie-downs, a center high-mounted stop light with integrated cargo lamp, LED lights near the tailgate, power tailgate lock, and a power-sliding tinted rear glass with defroster. A spray-in Toughbed bedliner ($595) protected the bed from scratches when I hauled a load to the dump.

Power Deployable Running Boards — one of my favorite features ($995) — extended when a door opened. The twin-panel power moon roof ($1,495) offered a more-expansive sky view.

A Tailgate Step with Tailgate Lift Assist (F-150class-exclusive, $375) extended out from the dropped tailgate; a pushbutton released the apparatus, the step dropped down and a handle pulled out and turned up for grasping — another favorite feature.

An FX4 Off-Road package ($905) prepared the Lariat with hill-descent control, off-road tuned front shocks, skid plates on the fuel tank, transfer case and front differential, and tray-style floor liners. A 3.31electronic-locking rear axle was replaced by a 3.55 electronic-locking rear-axle in a Max Trailer Tow Package ($1,295).

The tow package also brought a 36-gallon fuel tank, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, engine oil cooler, Pro Trailer Backup Assist with Tailgate LED, integrated trailer brake controller, upgraded front stabilizer bar, and upgraded rear bumper.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is required with this package, along with max springs. A Smart Trailer Tow Connector, Class IV trailer hitch receiver, four-/seven-pin wiring harness, and Trailer Sway Control are standard on the Lariat.

Trailer Backup Assist helps guide the trailer by turning a knob in the desired direction to let the truck steer itself. A Smart Trailer Tow Connector, part of the rearview camera, features a black line in the center that turns in the direction of the steering wheel to help position the hitch to the trailer.

Power-folding, Power Scope telescoping, power dual-glass tow mirrors with heat, turn signal, memory, auto-dimming (driver’s side), high-intensity LED security approach lamps, and LED spotlights with black skullcaps added $250.

A Technology package ($1,195) included a 360-degree camera with split-view display, Active Park Assist and Lane-Keeping System. Active park helps identify a suitable parking space, then helps steer the truck into the space while the driver controls acceleration and braking.

My Key technology allows programming of the key to limit top speed, remind front seat passengers to fasten seat belts with a chime and by muting the radio, block Sirius XM stations (five-year subscription included) labeled “explicit,” and provide an earlier low-fuel warning. Driving/safety features can’t be deactivated, and audio volume can be limited to 44 percent. My Key can assist fleet owners as well as parents to promote good driving habits.

My F-150 Lariat had lots of storage space in the front and rear cabin — multiple pockets on all doors, large shallow dash tray, extra-large console bin with removable tray with coin slots, long shallow console side bins, and a narrow console slot for phone, pen, or other small objects.

Power-adjustable pedals with memory were standard (good for short women who drive trucks). The rear 6 0/40 bench seat cushions folded up against the back of the cab, increasing the interior cargo area.

Sync3 offered voice-activated communications, entertainment, and information, with an 8-inch screen displaying the most-used features with easy-to-read text and icons. The screen responded quickly to a light tap or swiping/pinching for some features.

A voice-activated touch-screen navigation system with Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link ($795) increased the functionality of the Sync system.

Ford Pass Connect supplied Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices at once. Multiple power points included two 110-volt outlets, three 12-volt outlets, and four USB ports.

Safety and security were addressed with Pre-Collision with Automatic Emergency Braking, Advance Trac with Roll Stability Control and yaw control (reduces fishtailing), Curve Control, SecuriCode keyless entry keypad (driver’s side), SOS post-crash alert system (flashes turn signals, sounds the horn at four-second intervals, and SecuriLock passive anti-theft system (engine immobilizer).

My F-150 Lariat was EPA rated at 17 mpg city/23highway/19 combined. I drove around the neighborhood and on a couple of gnarly gravel/dirt mountain roads and averaged 16.3 mpg. The ride was smooth (on the paved roads).

The Lariat was easy to drive, roomy and comfortable, and controls were easy to reach and use.

With $16,250 total options and $1,595 destination charges, my capable, versatile, loaded 2019 F-150 Lariat FX4 4WD delivered for $65,830.

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