The Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in Canada, car or truck, and now it has also been voted as AutoTrader’s Best Overall Truck for 2022. Our jury didn’t vote for it solely because of its sales success, of course; the popular truck also had to outperform in such crucial areas as features, value, and performance.
To take this trophy, the F-150 not only won its category of Best Full-Size Truck, but our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from all over the country also awarded it more points than the winner of Best Compact/Midsize Truck category, the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
That meant that for this award, the F-150 defeated the runners-up in its category – the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra – and those that competed against the Santa Cruz, which were the Ford Maverick, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and Toyota Tacoma.
Buyers have so many diverse reasons for buying a truck, whether it’s to get building materials to the job site, to get their favourite toys to their playground, or just as a daily driver and family hauler. It’s obvious an F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 isn’t going head-to-head with the compact Santa Cruz, so instead, we looked at how each model best suits the needs of its intended audience.
Our experts were impressed with the breadth of the F-150’s lineup. It comes in three configurations – Regular Cab, SuperCab (extended), and SuperCrew – and with six powertrain options with a fully electric F-150 Lightning arriving soon. Right now, there’s a naturally-aspirated 3.3L V6 and 5.0L V8; a turbocharged 2.7L V6 and 3.5L V6, which Ford calls EcoBoost; a 3.0L Power Stroke V6 turbodiesel; and unique in the segment, the 3.5L V6 PowerBoost hybrid.
It’s a “full” hybrid, meaning it can run on its battery alone. Ram has a mild-hybrid system called eTorque, that’s standard on its V6 engine and optional on its V8 in the 1500. It adds electric power on acceleration to smooth it out and save on fuel, and it works very well, but we find that when buyers opt for hybrid technology, they prefer it to really make its presence known.
Ford’s hybrid option isn’t cheap, but it’s impressive, knocking fuel consumption down to as low as 9.8 L/100 km in combined driving when equipped as a 4x4, while churning out 570 lb-ft of torque, the highest of any of the F-150’s powertrains. Next for torque is the 3.5L EcoBoost V6, at 500 lb-ft, and it’s rated at 12.0 L/100 km for 4x4. For power and efficiency, the hybrid even beats the diesel, which makes 440 lb-ft of torque and is rated at 10.7 L/100 km.
AutoTrader Road Test Editor Dan Ilika drove the hybrid and was impressed with its “newfound refinement” and found it a “peppy performer, with lots of low-end grunt.” Depending on the truck’s configuration, the F-150 hybrid can tow from 4,990 kg (11,000 lb) to 5,761 kg (12,700 lb). That’s very important because many buyers put a lot of emphasis on towing capacity, and even a very fuel-efficient F-150 has to be able to haul when it’s asked to do so.
An impressive available feature is Pro Power Onboard, an integrated generator that comes in three kW outputs. A 2.0-kW version can be added to the 2.7L and 3.5L EcoBoost engines, or the 5.0L V8, and Ford says it can simultaneously power a TV, electric heater, portable speakers, mini-fridge, and blender. The hybrid comes standard with a 2.4-kW version, and that can be optioned up to a 7.2-kW generator. Ford made the news when some owners used that one to run freezers, lights, and heaters in their homes during last winter’s ice storms in Texas.
While many trucks are simply used as daily drivers, automakers also pack their trucks with clever work features, and Ford has a number of them. The Pro Trailer Backup Assist isn’t a substitute for trailer tow knowledge – you still have to know how to first position the truck and trailer in relation to where you want it to go – but it does make it easier, with a dial that you turn for the direction rather than steering the wheel. With the available Interior Work Surface, the console-mounted gearshift lever folds down, while the console lid folds forward to provide a flat surface for work or for lunch. After the meal, you can recline the front seats all the way back for an in-truck snooze.
The F-150’s handsome interior includes a flat rear load floor, available wireless connectivity, and enough headroom to keep our 6-foot-3 Ilika happy. He found the cabin layout “will be appreciated by larger occupants.” Outside, nothing beats GM’s simple bumper-end steps for bed access, but Ford comes close with its tailgate-mounted stepladder.
Overall, our experts felt the F-150 did the best job of satisfying its wide variety of customers. There’s a well-equipped work model, ridiculously luxurious high-end trims, and a wide engine assortment that tops with a segment-exclusive full hybrid. For 2022, that all came together for the F-150 to take our Best Overall Truck trophy, beating the Ram 1500, which was last year’s winner.