Guess which vehicle has been the best selling car in the United States for more than 30 years — I bet you'd never figure it's the beastly Ford F-150.
The 2017 Ford F-150 has been released with an updated EcoBoost V6 engine that produces more power and torque, and a GM co-developed 10-speed automatic transmission.
Selling over 700,000 units per year, the Ford F-150 starts from US$26,540 (around AUD$35,000) and goes all the way up to the F-150 Limited, which starts from US$59,600 (around $79,000).
Unfortunately for us in Australia, this workhorse is only built in left-hand drive, meaning there is no plan to bring it to Australia as an official Ford Australia model (but you can buy it locally as an aftermarket right hand drive conversion).
In the hope that one day Ford comes to its senses and develops the F-150 in right-hand drive, we made the most of a recent trip to the USA, squeezing in a test drive of the 2017 Ford F-150 Limited 4x4.
While you'll have to wait for our full written and video review, we wanted to highlight five things to love about the F-150.
1) Sync 3
The 2017 Ford F-150 uses Ford's third generation of infotainment system called Sync 3. You may have used Sync 2 in cars like the Ford Mustang, Ranger, Mondeo, Focus, Territory, Everest and Kuga, with a great chunk of these due to get the new Sync 3 system (a number of them have been updated already).
We love the fact that usability has been totally overhauled. Navigation functions are now much easier and clearer to enter — that lag while the system searches as you type is gone, you can share a WiFi hotspot within the car with other passengers, it can update its firmware over the air, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and best of all, you can add extra apps to the system.
Drivers can input voice recognition requests via Sync 3 or via their smart phone's system and navigation prompts are now better displayed on the screen — such as the lane required for an exit or where traffic is congested up ahead.
We think this is now one of the best infotainment systems on the market.
2) Retractable side steps
While this isn't a Ford invention, it is one of the coolest things in the world. To start with, we didn't use the side steps because nobody needs side steps. Then we realised how tall the F-150 is. The side steps are now a part of everyday life driving the F-150 — every truck with its salt should have a set.
They fold out from under the car when any of the doors are open and they can support the weight of two passengers as they climb on board — even the bigger types.
See it in action in the video above!
3) A totally flat second row floor
The second row is all about space and versatility. Not only is the floor totally flat, the rear bench can be folded with a light push so that large items can be loaded along the floor of the cab — perfect for items that you wouldn't like wet in the tray.
There is even a storage beneath the seat for valuable items you need hidden from sight. Mind you, you could also use the giant centre console, which could almost fit an Aussie dual-cab ute.
The other great thing about the second row is the amount of leg room. You can literally stretch your legs out when seated in the second row and have ample room.
4) Remote tailgate release
You may think this is totally pointless, but think again. The remote tailgate release drops the tailgate using a set of hydraulics to make loading handheld items easier.
Consider approaching the car with a box full of heavy ute related things. You would need to put the box down or rest it on the tray, open the tailgate and then load your items.
With this system, it's a click of a button and the tailgate opens revealing the huge storage cavity. The tray also has LED lights attached to the sides to make loading and unloading items at night much easier.
5) The Everest ladder
The only thing better than the remote tailgate release is a stepladder that helps you climb into the tray.
This awesome feature folds out of the tailgate, with a vertical rail extending out of the same holder to help you climb in effortlessly. We've coined the term 'Everest ladder', because it looks like a crude implement used to take your final steps to the summit. Yeah, we know it's unlikely to stick.
So there it is — five features we love from the 2017 Ford F-150!