2017 Ford F-150 Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 8, 2017

The 2017 Ford F-150 is a solid nudge forward with a new transmission and top-trim engine this year, also nudging forward: its overall price.

Full-size trucks are in a perennial dogfight for sales supremacy and superlatives.

While the details are debatable, one fact remains: The Ford F-150 is a powerhouse in the yearly battle. Its capability and performance are matched only by its impressive sales and longevity.

The 2017 Ford F-150 comes in seven trims, with four available engines, two transmissions, three bed lengths, three cab configurations, and two drive options. If your head isn't spinning yet, we'll help it: The F-150 starts out in XL work-truck spec, up to XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models. A new F-150 Raptor is available this year too.

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The F-150 earns a 7.0 out of 10 on our overall scale thanks to its features and performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

We'll cover the bases here, but encourage shoppers to read our detailed sub-sections that cover the F-150 like peanut butter covers bananas. Perhaps you prefer jelly?

Styling and performance

From the outside, the F-150 doesn't confuse many as to its intentions: it's a truck, after all.

Its big, blocky dimensions are unmistakable and flat—eschewing even simple curves for less-expensive panels and fuel economy.

Inside, the F-150 is right-angled and open, a form of function over frivolity. We like the F-150's outward visibility, wide center console, and ergonomic interior, which makes long hauls in the F-150 somewhat reasonable.

This year's biggest change is under the hood—at least for one of the powertrain configurations. The more potent turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 is uprated this year by 10 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque, up to 375 and 470, respectively. That engine is mated to a new 10-speed automatic that we expect to see in other trucks—just not this year.

Naturally aspirated V-8 and V-6 options are available in the F-150, but they're both overshadowed by Ford's duo of the aforementioned 3.5-liter V-6 and a 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 that aptly replaces many small-displacement V-8s.

The headlining numbers for each engine are as follows: the 2.7-liter turbo-6 is rated at 325 hp and is the fuel efficiency champ—and our pick for casual drivers looking to replace a car or SUV with a truck. The V-8 is the payload king, with 383 hp and the ability to haul 3,300 pounds. The base V-6 is rated at 282 hp and corresponding number is zero, as in it doesn't cost any extra to get that engine on XL or XLT models.

All the engines, except for the 3.5-liter turbo-6, are mated to 6-speed automatics and are available in rear- or four-wheel drive. A F-150 Raptor makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque from its 3.5-liter turbo-6 and is mated to a 10-speed automatic.

Comfort, safety, and features

In upper trims, the 2017 Ford F-150 is a luxury cruise liner, with more leather and stitching than your local biker gang and vastly superior tech. Those trims are true rivals for some luxury cars, but most buyers (hopefully) will stay on the sane end of the spectrum for trucks that they're supposedly using to haul, tow, or pull thousands of pounds of materials.

Thankfully, most trucks above work-trimmed fleet strippers are quiet affairs with a large 8.0-inch touchscreen and seating for four in SuperCrew configurations. Multi-contour seats are available, and comfortable, but we're fans of base cloth and the F-150's thoughtful rear seats that fold out of the way for even more in-cab storage space. Say, for dogs.

The F-150 is the only truck to be called an IIHS Top Safety Pick and received five stars overall from federal testers with only a four-star blemish for rollover protection. Pricier trucks get blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and surround-view camera systems, but every truck gets a standard complement of airbags and stability control systems.

Tens of thousands of configurations are possible in the F-150—no, really—so buyers should bring a pencil, notepad, and lunch to the order form. It's possible to reach way into the $70,000s with lavish grades with leather, premium Sony sound, and cameras everywhere, but sadly even base XLT models can reach well into the $40,000s with common-sense features.

A strict budget and clear goals could help ease sticker shock, and we're sure Ford has an F-150 out there built to your exact specification.

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2017 Ford F-150

Styling

Big, blocky, and bold; the F-150 is rugged outside, refined inside.

The 2017 Ford F-150 takes the same styling cues as last year's model; the same bolder, blockier designs apply this year again.

It's a good-looking pickup truck, with a certain ruggedness and approach that others in the class have adopted.

It's a utilitarian look and feel—inside and out—and one that's relatively handsome. It earns a 7 out of 10 on our styling scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The F-150 successfully steers clear of looking like anything other than tough truck. Every surface is flatter and less expensive to produce (Ford switched to more aluminum body panels a couple years ago) and better at cheating the wind for a fraction of a mile per gallon. The grille is tall and proud, but the headlights are faired back, with rectangular insets that are meant to evoke some of the earliest F-Series trucks. On some trims, they're lit by LEDs, a feature we expect to become standard issue on more trim levels in years to come.

Although it's almost worth skipping to the interior, where the F-150 has evolved in more pronounced ways. Ford has improved visibility in the F-150, a boon to towers who need every inch of outward visibility. We like how the tall, beveled vents on the center console reinforce its mass.

The shapes and controls all seem scaled and sized for big-handed operators, with more hard buttons restored to the dash even on versions equipped with the MyFord Touch screen interface (now replaced by Sync 3 for 2016). Real wood trim and lovely leather make their way into King Ranch and Platinum models, but at first glance and touch, the Ram's Laramie Longhorn interior seems more subtly rich.

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2017 Ford F-150

Performance

The powertrain game for trucks is one of inches; Ford's top EcoBoost and new 10-speed nudge it forward again this year.

The headline for the F-150 for 2017 is a more potent 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6, with 10 more horsepower, and a new 10-speed automatic paired with it, designed to extract as much fuel economy and power available to the top-end powertrain.

The F-150 still makes use of its extensive aluminum components, helping the truck shed up to 500 pounds in some configurations. Underneath the aluminum body panels is a steel ladder frame that still uses mostly high-strength materials. At the low end, it's down to 1,600 pounds of payload and 5,000 pounds of towing—but at its strongest, the F-150 can carry 3,300 pounds and pull 12,200 pounds, over previous generations.

Our rating is based on volume powertrain configurations: V-6 (either 2.7-liter turbocharged or base 3.5-liter naturally aspirated) paired to a 6-speed automatic. The transmission isn't groundbreaking, but we like the EcoBoost V-6 and its exceptional versatility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

That said, we're still waiting to test the 10-speed and new turbo-6 F-150s. We'll update this page as soon as we do.

More on that 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 (which Ford calls "EcoBoost" along with its other turbocharged engines). It's uprated this year to 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, up 10 hp and 50 lb-ft from last year, to more closely align it to V-8s offered by other truckmakers. (Chevy's 5.3-liter V-8 is rated at 355 hp, Ram's 5.7-liter V-8 is rated at 395 hp.)

Paired to a new 10-speed automatic—jointly developed with General Motors, which made its debut on the Camaro already—the 3.5-liter V-6 has plenty of pull for well-heeled buyers in top-trim trucks.

One step below the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6, is Ford's tried-and-true 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 385 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque. It's rated to tow up to 9,000 pounds, but based on our experience, we're guessing the EcoBoost's additional grunt may make dragging that weight a little more effortless. The natural V-8 rumble emanating from the tailpipe may be a point of pride for many buyers, but it's also a little more predictable when it comes to fuel economy returns too.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 is the first stop for many retail buyers, and a common-sense pick for many truck buyers using their vehicles for everyday duty—or are looking to replace a car or SUV. It's rated at 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of twist, and returns the best fuel economy numbers. It's outfitted with standard stop/start technology to help save fuel, and is a replacement for small-displacement V-8 engines in other trucks. It's a lightweight, compact engine that pulls strongly and is rated to tow up to 8,500 pounds with up to 2,250 pounds in the bed. It's an optional upgrade on XLT and Lariat trucks, and worth the money, according to us.

Base trucks are equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 that's somewhat of an also-ran compared to the rest of the lineup. The naturally aspirated engine makes 282 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque and is available only on XL and XLT models.

The 2017 F-150’s front suspension is a coil-on-shock independent arrangement, while the rear retains the Hotchkiss-type solid axle riding on leaf springs and outboard shock absorbers staggered to reduce axle windup. The F-150 doesn't have a rear-coil or air-spring setup like the Ram 1500, or the adaptive dampers of the GMC Sierra Denali. Even so, there's a cushion of ride isolation that stems directly from the lightweight body.

At low and moderate speeds, the F-150 manages ride motions like a well-tuned sedan. Push it harder across bad roads and the personality suffers. But up until then it does a convincing impression of something without such workhorse cargo and towing abilities.

If you're concerned with payload, the highest 3,300-pound rating only comes with the V-8; max tow of 12,200 pounds will require the twin-turbo V-6.

Like other trucks, there are countless stops in between those ratings, with body style and rear axle figuring into the final equation. Cruising Ford's consumer site can give you the particulars, but pack a pencil and paper along with notes for how much weight you're looking to load.

A super-powered F-150 Raptor is available again this year in SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations. Powered by a version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft and paired with a 10-speed automatic, the Raptor has all the hardware needed for a baja race. Read Motor Authority's first drive of the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor here.

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2017 Ford F-150

Comfort & Quality

Ford's F-150 is lavishly equipped in top trim, but the main event is still its usability and functionality.

A truck is a truck, after all. The Ford F-150 is nothing if it isn't utilitarian and exceptionally useful. Buy one and find out how many friends need help moving the week later.

Having said that, the F-150 is a work-focused machine—taking dead aim on cargo and hauling capacity than luxurious appointments.

Pricey models do their best to convince us otherwise, but many F-150s on the road will be pressed into duty and we give it points for exceptional utility and storage. Multi-contour seats swaddle passengers on top models, but most trucks will have just average thrones designed to get workers to job sites, friends to new houses.

We give it a 7 out of 10 on our scale for overall comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While we might prefer the style of a Ram or Sierra, or the comfortable ride and interior of a Ridgeline, the F-150 feels just as substantial as those others. Ford sells the F-150 in three cab styles: the two-door Regular cab; the extended SuperCab that has (cramped) seating for four and rear-hinged doors; and the full-size, four-door SuperCrew model with plenty of space for four adults.

Throughout the model line, the front passenger space is squared off and roomy. Ford has placed the console and door armrests at the same height, a common-sense back-saver that we appreciate.

SuperCab models are fine for passengers in a pinch, but are better used as in-cab storage space when the seats are flipped up to reveal a flat loading floor for cargo.

On four-door, SuperCrew models, four adults will fit inside just fine with 43.6 inches of rear leg room for the lankiest of co-workers. SuperCrew seats can fold up against the bed wall, too, and in both four-door body styles, there's under-seat storage that will secure some smaller, high-priced tools when the need arises.

Between the front seats in most models, there's a wide, deep center console with enough capacity to hold a laptop, in addition to the spaces it reserves for cell phones, drinks, pens and business cards. There's plenty of USB ports to charge many devices, and many trucks can be fitted with standard power plugs to run tools from the front. The driver and passenger both get a set of controls that are simplified and scaled to operate while wearing work gloves. The infotainment functions have direct, hard-button access to most key features, while things like multi-contour seats are controlled by a layer inside the interface (now called Sync 3).

In the back, there's three choices of bed lengths: 5-foot-6, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot beds. The beds can be upgraded with clever and useful features such as in-bed loading ramps, a BoxLink system that fits cleats and brackets to the bed so it can be divided and cargo can be clamped down, LED bed lights, and a deployable bed stop.

The F-150 is mostly quiet inside, although we've noticed some chatter coming from fluttering door skins. We don't have any experience in base XL models without acoustic glass or quieted interiors, but we'll report back once we do. In turbocharged models, Ford pipes in noise-cancelling waves and artificial engine noises, with limited effect in the 2.7-liter variant.

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2017 Ford F-150

Safety

Ford's F-150 has the features—and the official data—to make it the safest pick in the class.

Last year, the IIHS comprehensively rated full-size trucks, a first for the agency.

The Ford F-150 fared the best among its competitors, earning top "Good" scores all the way around en route to a Top Safety Pick award from the agency. Coupled with five-star overall scores from federal testers, the F-150 is a relatively safe pick—although we'd prefer to see some of its advanced safety features on more modestly priced trucks, less than $40,000.

It earns a 7 out of 10 on our safety ratings scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Ford F-150 sports the usual airbags and stability control systems, which are complemented by things like a second-row inflatable seat belt, additional braking help via curve control, adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control.

Some of the best additions are less expensive though. A locking tailgate and tonneau cover keep the bed safe, and an available surround-view camera system makes maneuvering the truck around tight city spaces easier.

The Ford F-150 lacks advanced safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking to bump its IIHS rating up to a Top Safety Pick+ status, but a five-star overall rating by the feds—including five stars in front and side crash protection—keeps the F-150 at the top of its competitive segment.

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2017 Ford F-150

Features

From austere to grandeur, the Ford F-150 covers all the bases—and the rest of the field—in available configurations.

College-level physics is less complex than a Ford F-150 order sheet, so here's the shorthand: work truck, play truck, or muscle truck.

The Greek word "myriad" doesn't cover the overall number combinations, but the English equivalent isn't suitable for the dinner table in mixed company, so we'll boil it down to the gravy: there are four engines, seven trims, three bed lengths, three body styles, and two drivetrain options. 

Base trucks aren't what we'd call opulent, but good customization options, excellent optional equipment, and Ford's available trailer assist options are this truck's "killer app." It earns an 8 out of 10 on our features scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Work trim

The XL and XLT models are the most affordable, and work-oriented trucks for Ford. It's available in every bed configuration (5-foot-6, 6-foot-6, and 8-foot) and every cab configuration (two-door Regular, extended SuperCab, and four-door SuperCrew) with every engine (V-6, V-8, and two variations of a turbo V-6).

All F-150s have a standard automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive and the XL comes with 17-inch tires, manual windows, an AM/FM stereo, a vinyl floor, manual locks, air conditioning, rear flip-up seats on four-door models, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. It's a spartan truck angled more toward fleet buyers who prioritize cost of repair over comfort.

Popular equipment for XL models include power windows and locks, cruise control, and a trailer hitch for Class IV towing.

The off-road-oriented FX4, which was a standalone trim in the previous model, is now a package available on every version. It can be added to four-wheel-drive models, improving trail capability with an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks.

XLT models add base comforts including power windows and locks, CD player, cloth front seats, and chrome bumpers. A popular STX appearance package is available on XLT trims and higher that adds exterior chrome accents and 18-inch wheels.

Numerous consumer-focused options are available on XLT models including blind-spot monitors, drop-in bedliners, a Pro Trailer Backup Assist option that makes it easier to backup into a tight driveway or boat launch with a trailer, LED headlamps, extended-range fuel tank, power adjustable pedals and front seats, bigger wheels, navigation, rearview camera, satellite radio, you get the picture.

The XLT models are best considered as a blank canvas for retail buyers looking for a work truck that can be parked in their driveway too.

Luxury liners

Above the XLT, the 2017 Ford F-150 becomes more of a lavishly equipped plaything than a workhorse.

Lariat models limit the configurations to V-8 and turbo V-6 engines, SuperCab and SuperCrew cabs—V-6 and Regular cabs aren't available here. They also add keyless ignition, a rearview camera, an 8.0-inch information screen as standard.

Lariat-level options include blind-spot monitors; rear parking sensors; second-row heated seats; a power tilt/telescoping wheel; HD radio with Sony audio; LED side-mirror spotlights; two-tone paint; adaptive cruise control; and parking assist.

The King Ranch is more lavishly equipped and themed like a country western song with saddle-themed leather hides, two-tone paint, heated front and rear seats, multi-contour power adjustable front seats, chrome exterior accents, and contrast accent stitching inside. King Ranch models are available with a V-8 or the more potent, 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6.

And if you're willing to add options—which is likely on the King Ranch, if you're considering it in the first place—paint and trim choices; surround cameras and lane-keeping assist; power running boards; blind-spot monitors; tailgate step; a bed extender; box side steps; adaptive cruise; park assist; a moonroof; 20-inch wheels; and a max trailer-tow package.

The Platinum isn't the top of the line anymore—but it's certainly close to it. It gets standard LED headlights, blind-spot monitors, power running boards, remote start and tailgate release, 20-inch wheels, ambient lighting, inflatable rear seatbelts, multi-contour heated and cooled front seats, wood trim, navigation, and wood trim.

Limited is king of the mountain for the F-150 again this year, and is trimmed like a luxury truck, rather than a work hauler. A dual-panel moonroof, around-view camera, 22-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, unique grille, adaptive cruise control, and 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine are all standard.

Race prepped

Above all, the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor makes its return this year with a high-powered version of the turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 and 10-speed automatic. It features six drive modes, including Baja for ripping up sand dunes, and special knobby tires for off-roading. The Raptor isn't so much of a truck as it is a desert sports car; a muscle car with an open bed.

The Raptor starts at $49,265, but good luck finding one at that price. Most trucks will be equipped with several upgrades, and dealers are keen to tack on a premium for the highly anticipated truck.

Ford's Sync 3 and its 8.0-inch touchscreen is available in most models—as an upgrade in XLT models and standard in King Ranch or higher.

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2017 Ford F-150

Fuel Economy

Lightweight aluminum and a 10-speed automatic help, but the Ford F-150 isn't as fuel efficient as some of its rivals.

The move to an all-aluminum body has made the Ford F-150 more fuel-efficient—but perhaps not as miserly as you might imagine. Adding a 10-speed automatic to some configurations should help, but it's too early for official EPA numbers.

The 2017 Ford F-150 in rear-drive configuration with a 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 will again be the efficiency leader for the pickup. It was rated last year at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined, according to the EPA.

The EPA rates the F-150 with a 3.5-liter V-6 and new 10-speed automatic at 17/22/19 mpg with four-wheel drive. That's a modest improvement over last year's 16/22/18 mpg rating with the same engine, drive wheels, but a 6-speed automatic.

We're basing our fuel economy rating on naturally aspirated V-6 and 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 models, which we think most retail buyers will opt for. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Naturally aspirated V-8 models were rated last year at 15/22/18 mpg with rear-drive, 15/21/17 mpg with four-wheel drive. Base V-6 engines, which are popular with fleet buyers, were rated last year at 18/25/20 mpg in rear-drive configuration.

Sure, those fuel economy numbers are profanely better than old pickups that didn't move, but somehow still required a refill.

Compared to crosstown rivals from General Motors and Ram, the Ford falls down a little. The most efficient Ram 1500, equipped with a turbodiesel V-6, manages 29 mpg on the highway (we've done better in real-world drives) and the most V-8 equipped Chevy Silverados hover around the Ford turbo-6 models—and Chevy report fewer problems obtaining those real-world numbers compared to Ford owners.

It's likely that we'll see a diesel-powered F-150 sometime soon, although Ford says that model will arrive next year.

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January 9, 2018
2017 Ford F-150 Platinum 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box

I would have killed for this vehicle when I was young, I'm not and it's too damn big and unwieldy!

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I'm sure this vehicle is tremendous. Unfortunately it's so big I can't drive it around town. I've owned 40 vehicles and I hesitate to move the darn thing in case I have to park it or get through a tight... + More »
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September 1, 2017
2017 Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box

Stable and Reliable

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I love this truck! It feels like I'm just gliding down the road. So many nice features that I'll probably never figure out how to enjoy them to their fullest. Can't recommend it highly enough. The only reason... + More »
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May 18, 2017
2017 Ford F-150 XLT 2WD SuperCab 6.5' Box

love my new echo boost f150

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the 3.5 echo boost f150 is very powerful%smooth,very comfortable & quiet.love it
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$27,110
MSRP based on XL 2WD Reg Cab 6.5' Box
 
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7.0
Overall
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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 7
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
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