With full-size pickup truck manufacturers constantly reaching for new plateaus in luxury, it's a rare day that we learn of a new pickup trim positioned near the bottom end of the lineup.
Therefore, Ford earns a tip of the hat for today's announcement that it's bringing the STX trim designation back to its F-150 range in an effort to give truck buyers "great infotainment features and styling design at an affordable price."
Positioned between the entry-level XL and mid-range XLT trims, notable additions in the 2017 STX SuperCab (the only way the new trim is offered) include 20-inch aluminum wheels with dark grey pockets; black billet-style grille with body-colour surround; body-colour front fascia and bumpers; Sync 3 infotainment setup with eight-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility; fog lights; driver and front passenger manual lumbar adjustment; and STX badging.
Another feature common in the upscale trucks that make up much of the F-150 sales figures is what Ford calls a "flow-through" console, which stretches from the base of the centre stack to between the front seats. What surprises us is Ford's use a column-mounted shifter for the automatic transmission, in place of the console-mounted one used in most F-150 models with the full console and bucket seats.
Engine choices skip the base 3.5L V6 and go straight to the 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost engine, to which we attribute at least some of the STX SuperCab's $40,499 starting price, which is nearly $10,000 more than the XLT SuperCab's starting tag. The STX SuperCab is available to order now, and can also be optioned with the 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L V8 motors.
It's not a normal week in the auto industry if we haven't learned something new about a truck at the other end of the F-150 lineup, the forthcoming Raptor. The latest news on that dune-running model is it will use new, larger Fox-branded shock absorbers designed to improve the Raptor's on-road ride, and help prevent bottoming out in "hard-hitting" off-road driving. The new shocks measure three inches in diameter (up from 2.5) and add two inches of suspension travel, for totals of 13 and 13.9 inches front and rear, respectively. Check out that long-travel suspension at work in the Ford-produced video, below.