It’s hard to complain when you’re the best-selling pickup truck on the market, and for the new model year, the 2013 Ford F-150 has added a few features, too. That’s important, because the competition is gaining ground in their attempt to catch up with this Ford’s sales.
The F-150’s been one of the top-rated trucks here for years, and it keeps its share of the lead thanks to advanced luxury and tech features, improved mileage, luxury touches, and class-leading towing. It also gets connectivity in its cabin that’s rivaled only by the latest.
As part of the comprehensive 2011 powertrain overhaul for the F-150, the 3.7-liter 24-valve DOHC V-6 joined the lineup as the base engine. On-paper, the new engine looked promising, delivering 302 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque, but reality doesn’t always live up to the promise. Thankfully, after having spent a day with a V-6-powered F-150 in various conditions, including some light payload hauling, we can attest that the engine gets the job done.
Our tester’s 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds is within a few tenths of the original naturally aspirated F-150 Lightning, and the V-6 spins happily toward its 7000-rpm redline, emitting a sports-car-like growl along the way. Even with a 1000-lb payload, the truck didn’t seem overly taxed, although the transmission downshifted frequently to keep the engine in its somewhat peaky powerband.
The cabin of our mid-level XLT model was appropriate for its price point — neither overly sumptuous nor disappointingly spare — but we fell short of falling in love with it. Though our tester was equipped with the new-for-2013 4-inch center display, it’s not a touchscreen and it took us a bit to figure out the controls, with the menu select buttons situated below the climate controls. The system did include Sync, but phone pairing was less than intuitive, and the system displayed some of the latency we noticed in the past in some older Sync systems. As seems to be the case with many multimedia interface systems now, verbal directions through Google maps were fed through the sound system speakers, although each time a voice prompt came up, the system curiously said “incoming call” and “call ended” at the end of the prompt.
Equipped with 18-inch wheels and all-season tires, the XLT exhibited the typical pickup bounciness over expansion joints with the bed unloaded. With 1000 lb of gravel in the bed, the ride got smoother, but we wouldn’t describe it as supple. Handling was acceptable, with an average lateral acceleration of 0.74 g.
Overall the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck manages to combine versatility, great fuel economy and dependability while offering several unique trims, cab styles and pickup box lengths.
DRIVE TYPE Rear wheel drive
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
Engine & Performance
BASE ENGINE SIZE 3.7 L
CAM TYPE Double overhead cam (DOHC)
CYLINDERS V6 VALVES 24
VALVE TIMING Variable TORQUE 278 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm
HORSEPOWER 302 hp @ 6500 rpm
Double wishbone front suspension
Solid live axle rear suspension
Front independent suspension
Stabilizer bar stabilizer bar