Ford F-150 enters Australia
Ford Australia has announced the arrival of the F-150 range to Australia, the first time the F-150 has been officially offered through the Ford dealer network since the nameplate left the country in 1993.
And for owners and operators looking to move big, heavy things – while still maintaining some degree of versatility – the F-150 shapes up well as a capable and comfortable towing rig.
Locally converted to right-hand drive in Australia by RMA Automotive under contract to Ford Australia, the Australian F-150 range will be comprised of four variants across two trim grades – base XLT, and the higher-feature Lariat. Each grade will be available with either a 3,694mm wheelbase or a 3,994mm wheelbase, with a corresponding increase in bed length, though the powertrain and drivetrain are locked – just the 298kW/678Nm 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbo petrol V6 will be available for now, driving all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic and full-time 4WD driveline.
Weighing between 2,451kg for the XLT short-wheelbase and 2555kg for the long-wheelbase Lariat, the F-150 is a thirsty machine thanks to a factory fuel consumption claim of 12.5L/100km. However, as a load-lugger, it’s got the right credentials: a maximum tow rating of 4500kg on a braked trailer (750kg unbraked), a 70mm tow hitch and electronic trailer brake control as standard, and a GCM of 7,720kg for SWBs and 7,765kg for LWBs.
All Australian-market F-150s also come equipped with a trailer reversing assist system, which, when hooked up to a trailer fitted with a corresponding angle sensor, is capable of taking most of the hard work out of backing up a trailer. With the driver commanding which direction they want the trailer to turn via a dashboard-mounted jog wheel instead of the steering wheel, the F-150 takes care of the counter-steering that often confuses those who are new to towing trailers and reduces the likelihood of jackknifing.
Payload within the vehicle isn’t especially impressive though, with maximum carrying capacity ranging between 685kg for the SWB Lariat and 794kg for the LWB XLT. Very heavy cargo is definitely better off in a trailer rather than aboard the F-150, however with box dimensions that measure 1,656mm wide, 543mm high and 1,705mm (SWB)/2,005mm(LWB) long, the F-150’s tub can carry a massive volume of gear – if not weight. An integrated spray-on bedliner and multiple tie-down points are also standard, improving durability, while a retractable tailgate step allows easy access into the tub.
But unlike a lot of commercial pick-ups, the F-150 is also engineered to provide plenty of comfort. As a full-size US-market utility, the F-150 sports cabin dimensions put typical dual-cab utes well and truly in the shade, with the rear seat benefiting the most. In the back, legroom, headroom and shoulder room is generous enough for three adults to sit across without any squeezing, While those in the front seat have plenty of space to sprawl in their power-adjustable seats – the driver also getting power-adjustable pedals.
A big ute carries a big price though, and at $106,950 before on-roads for the base XLT SWB the F-150 is far from cheap. Adding the LWB option takes the XLT’s price to $107,945, while moving up into the Lariat grade costs $139,950 for the SWB and $140,945 for the LWB.
In the XLT, a column-mounted shifter, urethane steering wheel, basic cloth upholstery and an 8″ infotainment touchscreen give a no-nonsense ambience to the cabin. Stepping into the Lariat gains substantially more, with a power-adjustable steering column, a memory function for the power seats (which also become heated and cooled), heated outboard rear seats, a rear centre armrest, leather upholstery, a panoramic glass sunroof, power sliding rear window, an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and a 12″ infotainment display being added to the spec sheet. The column shifter also disappears in favour of a console-mounted lever, which can also fold down to make way for a retractable table for offsite work.
In terms of driver aids, the Lariat also gains adaptive cruise control, a 360° camera view, front parking sensors (the XLT only comes with rear sensors), speed sign recognition, evasive steering assist, auto high-beam and rain-sensing wipers.