Special Report

Owning a Ford F-150: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

shaunl / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

This summer has seen an epidemic of Ford-150s being stolen off dealership lots. The culprit or reason hasn’t been determined, although investigators suspect an inside job. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that there’s a market for the truck. The F-150, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has been the best-selling vehicle in the country for the vast majority of those. In 2022, the 40 millionth truck in the series rolled off the manufacturing line. 

A big part of the reason for the remarkable sales of the F-series line is the sheer variety of models and trims available. While the lion’s share of F-150s sold are light-duty pickups, Ford also makes the F-250, F-350, and F-450 Super Duty versions. These of course are heavier, with bigger engines, and can pull larger loads. There are a staggering eight basic models of the F-150, ranging from the lower-cost XL to the higher-end Limited. Each of these can be customized, which means the pickup can be configured dozens of ways. (Also check out: these are the most fuel-efficient trucks on the market today.)

There are models of the F-150 for pretty much every level of income. The XL has a base price of $30,870. A Limited can cost nearly $90,000. 

One challenge Ford faces is that the F-series represents a substantial share of its overall sales. Having a lot of its eggs in one basket is risky for the automaker. In June, F-series sales represented 37.9% of Ford’s U.S. sales. And while Ford’s sales rose by 31.5% to 152,262 in June compared with June 2021, F-series sales were up only 26.3% during the same time. If F-series sales tumble, Ford is in trouble.

Ford recently moved aggressively into the electric vehicle market, with the F-150 Lightning. While the company sold only 1,837 of these in June, this is the start of a plan to ramp sales well into the tens of thousands per quarter. William C. Ford Jr., Ford’s executive chairman recently commented, “If this launch doesn’t go well, we can tarnish the entire franchise.” The Ford family controls a significant share of voting power through a special class of shares.

What does it mean to own a Ford F-150, or to buy one? As the top-selling vehicle in the U.S, with dozens of configurations, the experience of driving this pickup is not the same for everyone. 

Click here to see the good, the bad, and the ugly about owning a Ford F-150.

1. J.D. Power rankings

The F-150 is not always considered the best truck in its class when measured by quality. In the recent J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, it ranked below rivals Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, albeit in the top three.

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2. Unfavorable reviews

The automotive media also does not always favor the F-150. In a recent article in Car and Driver magazine, the F-150 ranked third behind the Ram 1500 TRX and Ram 1500.

3. Configurations

The F-150 probably has more configurations than any vehicle on the American road. There are eight major models, and each can be substantially customized.

4. The price

The F-150 has a price point for almost every driver income level. The XL has a base price of $30,870. A Limited can cost nearly $90,000.

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5. The Raptor

The F-150 has an impressive off-road model. The Raptor is considered among the best pickups for taking a beating when not on the highway.

6. Speed

People who want a fast pickup can get one in the F-150. Several recent versions of the truck have broken the six-second barrier going from 0 to 60 mph.

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7. The F-150 Lightning

Ford’s EV version of the F-150 has gotten strong reviews. CNN recently wrote that it is the best version of America’s best-selling pickup.

8. Ford dealerships

Ford has a huge dealership network at more than 3,000 dealers, according to the company. This is critical when any vehicle needs service.

9. Trailer brake issues

Ford has had trouble with its trailer-brake software. This feature is critical for many drivers.

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10. Upgrades

Ford is likely to upgrade features. The top-selling vehicle in the country will continue to get a large share of the company’s money earmarked for development.

11. A poor reliability grade

Many people use Consumer Reports when considering which cars and trucks they should purchase. One of Consumer Reports’ measures is future reliability. The F-150 received a poor grade in this category recently

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12. Lots of room

The F-150 can be the equivalent of a family car. Several models, such as the SuperCab, easily hold five people.

13. Fuel economy

Most pickups guzzle gas. The F-150 can get as much as 26 MPG based on highway driving.

14. The aluminum body

There continue to be debates about the aluminum body Ford added to the pickup in 2015. It made the truck lighter, but the material has a tendency to corrode faster than steel.

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