2023 Ford F-150 Review: Australian Launch
|Tonnes of power, effortless towing, comfortable interior, competitive price point, remanufacturing process second-to-none, full of technology.
|Entry XLT model grade misses out on basic standard features such as LED headlights and front parking sensors emphasising the gap between model grades. Long wheelbase models will not fit in shopping centres.
|Watch out Australian road users, Ford is about to sell thousands of F-150s in Australia and our roads are going to look a whole lot smaller with these big trucks.
Think of a “full-size American pickup truck” and there’s a good chance the Ford F-150 is the first one that comes to mind. While Australia has created a close relationship with the RAM 1500, it’s the Ford F-150 that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s America’s number-one-selling truck for a reason with space to spare, plenty of power, and enough comfort to rival any premium SUV at its price point.
Speaking of which, prices start at AUD$106,950 plus on-road costs for the XLT SWB model, a great work vehicle that you would happily drive to the worksite every day. However, if you’re spending that much money on a pick-up you’re better off ordering the top-of-the-line Lariat model in either SWB or LWB format, priced from $139,950 AUD plus on-road costs. This adds a host of safety features, a larger touchscreen, heated and cooled front seats, leather accented seats, and LED headlights to name just a few extra features.
We attended the Australian launch of the Ford F-150 to give it a proper shakedown. Here’s everything we found out about America’s favourite truck in Australia.
Pricing in Australia
The Ford F-150 is priced as follows in Australia:
- XLT SWB from $106,950 AUD plus on-road costs.
- XLT LWB from $107,945 AUD plus on-road costs.
- Lariat SWB from $139,950 AUD plus on-road costs.
- Lariat LWB from $140,945 AUD plus on-road costs.
As mentioned, the Ford F-150 is priced from $106,950 AUD plus on-road costs in Australia for the base-model XLT SWB (3683mm). Prices go up from there to $107,945 AUD plus on-road costs for the LWB (3987mm) before jumping to our top-spec F-150 Lariat model grade that’s priced from $139,950 AUD plus on-road costs for the SWB and $140,945 AUD plus on-road costs for the long wheelbase.
We’re only offered two model grades of the F-150 in Australia with two different wheelbases. Both model grades are far from a traditional ‘work ute’ in features and comfort, however, we prefer the premium features in the cabin of the Lariat model, including the larger 12-inch touchscreen, powered twin-panel moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, and B&O unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen with 18 speakers.
All models are available to order now through the Ford Australia dealers nationwide and include a five-year factory-backed warranty.
Performance of the Engine and Transmission
Space, power, and towing capacities are a luxury for most dual-cab utes on the market, but not the F-150. Both Australian model grades are powered by the same 3.5L EcoBoost V6 Twin-Turbo petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine delivers 298Kw of power and 678Nm of torque to all four wheels for an unclaimed 0-100km/h time of around five seconds.
The first thing you notice behind the wheel is the length. Compared to the Ford Ranger (5370mm) the F-150 (up to 5884mm) is a BIG truck on Australian roads. That being said, once you get your head around the size it’s a very easy vehicle to drive with a conversion steering rack that’s been adapted from the Ranger Raptor to provide great steering feel and a kerb weight that’s lighter as well (2451kg vs. 2475kg) thanks to an aluminium body panels. This helps keep the weight down low, and with suspension that’s compliant even when unloaded, we could easily see ourselves doing a lap around the country in one of these. Features such as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering worked particularly well and only added to the lounge-chair-like driving experience.
In Australia, both variants of the F-150 carry a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 12.5 litres per 100km. We had a chance to test this on the highway in an unladen vehicle and managed to get this down to 10.8 litres per 100km which is close to what we achieved in the Ranger V6.
Towing and Payloads
Again, both variants of the F-150 in Australia carry a maximum braked towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes which is identical to its main competition in the RAM 1500.
We also receive a host of standard towing features in Australia, including:
- 4.5T Rated Tow Bar with Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
- 4.5T Rated Tow Hitch & 70mm Tow Ball
- Pro Trailer Back-up Assist
- Trailer Theft Alert
- Trailer Light Check
- Tow / Haul Mode (part of Selectable Drive Modes)
The payload for the vehicles changes depending on the variant with 794kg for the XLT and 710kg for the Lariat which is less than the competition from RAM Trucks. By comparison, the RAM 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab has a payload of up to 878kg. Unfortunately, the same goes for the GVM and Max GCM figures with both F-150 models carrying 3220kg GVM and 7720kg GCM vs. 3450kg GVM and 7713kg GCM in the RAM 1500.
Interior and Comfort
The term ‘lounge-like’ is the best way to describe the interior of the Ford F-150. It’s spacious, dwarfs your typical Aussie ute, and provides levels of refinement you’d expect from a vehicle at this price point. The LARIAT model feels every bit of its price point with premium features such as ambient lighting, rain-sensing wipers, leather steering wheel with power reach and height adjustment, USB-A and USB-C chargers inside the glovebox, 12-inch colour digital instrument cluster with configurable display, and leather accented heated and ventilated seats. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the entry-grade XLT that misses out on all of these features and more. It’s a pragmatic option but with a steep entry price we feel Ford Australia should’ve included more standard kit to up the premium appeal of the vehicle.
Both F-150 models get the large flat mobile workspace created by the folding centre console, however, the XLT misses out on the power-folding shifter and other basic standard features such as front parking sensors, sign speed recognition, automatic high beam, and LED headlamps to name just a few.
If you’ve seen the inside of the new Ford Ranger, Everest, or Mustang Mach E you’ll recognise the SYNC 4 infotainment screen that’s available in 8-inch (XLT) and 12-inch (LARIAT) configurations in the Ford F-150 this time in horizontal layout. Smartphone mirroring is available with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto as standard backed up by a wireless charging pad found exclusively in the LARIAT.
Also found exclusively in the LARIAT model grade is a B&O Unleashed Sound System by Bang & Olufsen with 18 Speakers that we think is worth every penny if you’re planning long road trips.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
The Ford F-150 has not been tested by ANCAP, but neither has the competition in the Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 or the entire Chevrolet Silverado range. In America, the truck received the full 5-star NHTSA result with standard features on the XLT model including 6 airbags, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and trailer tow coverage, cruise control, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping aid and driver alert system, reverse brake assist, and trailer sway control.
When you dive deeper into the safety and driver assistance features, there’s a large disparity in standard features between the XLT and Lariat model grades in Australia.
Here’s everything the XLT misses out on:
- Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Lane Centering
- Evasive Steering Assist
- Front Parking Sensors
- Intersection Assist
- Speed Sign Recognition
- 360-degree camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist
Considering the price point of $106,950 AUD plus on-road costs, we’d like to see all of these features as standard on the XLT model.
Warranty and Servicing in Australia
The Ford F-150 comes with Ford Australia’s five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty. This bests the RAM 1500 by a significant margin, offering only three years or 100,000km.
2023 Ford F-150 Features in Australia
XLT includes the following:
- Two-bar style grille with chrome surround and black accents.
- 20-inch six-spoke machined-faced alloy wheels.
- Chrome front and rear bumpers.
- Black platform running boards.
- Tailgate with flexible step and work surface.
- Tough BedTM spray-in bedliner.
- Boxlink cargo management locking cleats.
- Underbody skid plates.
- 12-way power (including lumbar) driver cloth seat.
- 10-way power (including lumbar) front passenger cloth seat.
- Column-mounted gear shifter.
- SYNC 4 with eight-inch centre touchscreen.
- Satellite Navigation System.
- Seven-speaker sound system.
- Eight-inch multiview digital instrument cluster.
- FordPass™ Connect.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control.
- Power adjustable foot pedals.
- Foldout office workspace.
- Six airbags.
- Rearview camera.
- Rear parking sensors.
- Ford Pro-Trailer Back-Up Assist.
- Cruise control.
- Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB).
- BLIS with cross-traffic alert and trailer tow coverage.
- Lane-keeping aid and driver alert system.
Lariat adds the following over XLT:
- Premium mesh insert grille with chrome surround.
- Chrome appearance package including mirror scalps, door handles, belt mouldings, tow hooks and running boards.
- Powered twin-panel moonroof.
- LED headlights, fog lights and taillamps.
- Power release and close tailgate.
- Power sliding rear window.
- Leather-accented seats.
- Heated and cooled front seats.
- Heated rear seats (excluding middle seats).
- 12-way power (including lumbar) driver seat with memory settings.
- 12-way power (including lumbar) front passenger seat.
- Floor console-mounted shifter.
- 12-inch centre touchscreen.
- 12-inch digital instrument cluster.
- B&O unleashed sound system by Bang & Olufsen with 18 speakers.
- Power adjustable foot pedals with memory settings.
- Front parking sensors.
- 360-degree camera.
- Intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go.
- Lane centering.
- Speed sign recognition.
- Evasive steering assist.
- Intersection assist.
- Wireless phone charging.
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