How do you make Canada's overall best-selling vehicle more popular? Given the way the truck marketplace is going these days, you make it more powerful and more luxurious.
That is what Ford has done with this year's F-150 Limited, which becomes the most powerful light-duty pickup in North America with the addition of a high-output turbocharged V6 engine borrowed from the F-150 Raptor off-road truck that’s good for 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque.
Indeed, that vaults Ford to the top of the heap, besting the 420 hp/460 lb-ft offered by the 6.2L V8 engine in GM's pickups and the 395 hp/410 lb-ft available from the 5.7L V8 in the Ram 1500. Boosters of turbocharging will be keen to point out that Ford’s engine makes its extra power with just 3.5L of displacement, which is not a lot more than half that of the GM V8.
The new motor becomes the sixth one available in the F-150. The others are a 3.3L V6 that makes 290 hp/265 lb-ft; a 2.7L turbo V6 rated at 325 hp and 400 lb-ft; a 5.0L that cranks out 385 hp and 397 lb-ft; a 3.5L turbo V6 making 375 hp and 470 hp; and, finally, a 3.0L diesel V6 capable of 250 hp and 440 lb-ft.
Among non-Raptor models, use of the new high-output 3.5L is, uh, limited to the Limited trim. The other trims include XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Raptor.
All engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission save the 3.3L V6, which gets a low-rent six-speed. A choice of two- and four-wheel drivetrains is available with all engines and as is typical in this class, there are regular, super cab and super crew configurations, the latter of the three boasting a rear seat to rival the space and comfort of a luxury sedan.
When Ford says the new F-150 Limited is luxurious, they're not kidding around: Ford says put its best "craftsmanship, material quality and head-turning design" into its cabin. It comes standard with niceties like two-tone leather seats with heat/ventilation/massage functions up front, suede headliner, leather-trimmed dash and door panels, ash wood trim, aluminum interior trim, 22-inch wheels, power running boards, remote tailgate release and a twin-panel sunroof.
F-150 Limited also packs in a lot of technology with features like a 360-degree exterior camera with dynamic hitch assist, trailer backup assist, adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and active park assist.
The Raptor maintains its title of Most Bitchin' Pickup You Can Buy Today, thanks to its trim-specific long-travel suspension, terrain management drive modes and unique bodywork.
When we wrote this, Ford hadn't published 2019 fuel consumption estimates for the F-150, but most of the numbers will be the same as, or similar to, those from last year. Two-wheel drive diesel models are most efficient at 10.8/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway), while 4x4 ratings are 11.2/8.4. The 2.7L motor is rated 11.9/9.0 with 2WD and 12.6/9.8 with 4WD; 3.3L models' estimates are 12.3/9.4 with 2WD and 13.0/10.3 with 4WD; 3.5L trucks are estimated at 13.6/10.1 (2WD) and 14.3/10.5 (4WD); 5.0L figures are 14.1/10.4 (2WD) and 14.6/10.9 (4WD); and the Raptor's ratings are 15.6/12.4 with its standard 4WD. The high-output 3.5L engine has yet to be rated, but our guess is its estimates will be around 15.0/11.5 L/100 km.