Ford went radically lean when it redesigned the Ford F-150 for 2015, giving its ever-popular full-size pickup an aluminum-intensive body. Visual appearance didn’t change much, considering the dramatic re-skinning. Though the big pickup remains upright in profile, the F-150 lost 500 pounds or more.
For 2016, Ford F-150 gets a new SYNC 3 infotainment to replace the much-criticized MyFordTouch. Formerly a separate model, the off-road-focused FX4 is now an option package. Otherwise, little has changed for 2016.
The F-150 has been the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for ages, up against its perennial rivals: Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, plus Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
Nothing appears to have been diminished by going light, and Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is especially impressive. However, some voice concern about the cost of repairing the aluminum body.
In the aluminum generation, Ford is focusing on turbocharged EcoBoost engines. One V8 remains, plus three V6 engines (two of them twin-turbo). Making 283 horsepower, the basic 3.5-liter V6 permits towing up to 7,600 pounds. The optional 2.7-liter turbo V6 produces 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, for an 8,500-pound towing capacity.
Stepping up a big notch, a 365-horsepower, 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, eking out 420 pound-feet, raises the peak towing figure to 12,200 pounds. Ford’s familiar 5.0-liter V8 delivers 385 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque.
All engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission. F-150 pickups come with either rear-drive or four-wheel drive.
Nearly all F-150 buyers opt for a SuperCab or a SuperCrew, with four full-size front-hinged doors. Regular-cab models remain, but are mainly aimed at fleet duty.
Plenty of safety technology is available, including a second-row inflatable seatbelt and Curve Control for braking assistance. An F-150 can be equipped with blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. A lane-keeping system nudges the truck back into its lane when sensors detect crossing of the double-yellow line. New optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist simplifies backing into a driveway or boat launch. That system performs the actual steering.
Ford’s Super Crew earned a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An optional camera set provides a 360-degree view around the truck, helpful for parking or easing into a garage.