Full 2013 Ford F-150 Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Ford F-150 receives a minor styling update and the Harley-Davidson trim has been deleted, replaced by the new Limited trim. Additionally, xenon headlights, hill-descent control and the MyFord Touch infotainment interface debut in the lineup. Sync voice-activation controls are larger, too, and the system now is available across a wider range of trims.
Variety is the spice of life, and spice keeps things lively and fresh. This might explain why the Ford F-Series of trucks has been kicking around for 65 years. Not only have there been 12 generations of the iconic pickup, but within the current 2013 Ford F-150 lineup, there are seemingly endless ways to configure one to your liking.
There are three body styles, three bed lengths, four engines, rear-wheel- and four-wheel drive and an extensive list of standard and optional features from which to choose. You can indeed have it your way -- whether it's the stripped-out base XL or all the way up to the Habanero-spicy Raptor model, there's a Ford F-150 to fit your needs.
Besides the numerous F-150 choices, ownership comes with plenty of benefits. Fuel efficiency with any of the available engines is quite good for a pickup and the cabin is comfortable, with well-placed controls. New and wider availability of features for 2013 further bolster the truck's appeal, though one could argue that the addition of the oft-aggravating MyFord Touch infotainment interface would deduct points.
The 2013 Ford F-150 remains a must-see when shopping for a full-size pickup, though it is starting to feel its age. The newer 2013 Ram 1500, in particular, is a more refined and comfortable truck without giving up any capability. At the same time, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and 2013 Toyota Tundra compare more favorably with similar capabilities and pricing. Brand loyalty also figures heavily, but whatever your taste in variety or spice, there's really no way to lose among these choices.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Ford F-150 is classified as a full-size pickup truck that is available in regular cab, extended cab (SuperCab) and crew cab (SuperCrew) body styles. Regular and SuperCabs are offered with either a 6.5-foot or 8-foot cargo bed, while SuperCrews can be had with 6.5- or 5.5-foot beds. The Raptor model is available only with the 5.5-foot bed.
Within these body styles, there are nine trim levels to specify: the base XL, sporty STX, well-equipped XLT, rugged FX2 and FX4 models, luxurious Lariat, western-inspired King Ranch, extreme off-road Raptor and the opulent Platinum and Limited variants.
Intended more as a commercial work truck, the modestly appointed XL comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a tilt-only steering wheel, vinyl upholstery and an AM/FM radio. SuperCrew XL models gain remote keyless entry, power side mirrors, an overhead console and power front windows.
The STX includes all of the above, along with alloy wheels, additional body-colored exterior trim, rear power windows for the SuperCab, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 front seat, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
More creature comforts come with the XLT in the form of automatic headlights, foglights, chrome exterior trim, a keyless entry keypad, the Sync voice-activation system and Bluetooth. The FX trims add 18-inch wheels, a trailer tow package, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped and telescoping steering wheel with additional controls, front bucket seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, a household power outlet, a trip computer with color display and satellite radio. Four-wheel-drive FX models also gain hill descent control, skid plates and an electronic locking rear differential.
Stepping up to the Lariat trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats, driver seat memory functions, the MyFord Touch electronics interface, dual USB ports, power-adjustable pedals and a power-sliding rear window, but foregoes the FX's off-road equipment.
To that, the King Ranch adds chrome exterior trim, unique badging inside and out, running boards, power-folding and heated auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, an integrated trailer brake controller, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a rearview camera, remote ignition, wood interior trim and a premium Sony sound system.
Platinum trim adds further enticement with 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power-deployable running boards, automatic wipers, a sunroof and a navigation system. To that, the Limited adds 22-inch wheels, a monochromatic paint job and a red and black leather interior.
Finally, the Raptor goes full off-road with 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, unique exterior treatments, fixed aluminum running boards, shift-on-the-fly transfer case, high-performance suspension components, an auxiliary equipment switch panel and unique interior trim and upholstery, but goes without some of the luxury features above.
Many of the upper-trim features are available on supporting models as options. Other add-ons include Ford's Work Solutions system, payload and towing packages, a cargo management system, a stowable bed extender and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
Buyers can choose among four different engines depending on the model selected, but each is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, with four-wheel drive available as an option, except for the Raptor, which is four-wheel-drive only.
The base 3.7-liter V6 produces 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine propelled the F-150 from zero to 60 mph in a decent 8.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive lowers estimates to 16/21/18.
Upgrading to the 5.0-liter V8 increases output to 360 hp and 380 lb-ft. With four-wheel drive, an F-150 with this engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Fuel economy with rear-wheel drive stands at 15/21/17. Four-wheel drive drops economy to 14/19/16.
The available twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. A rear-drive F-150 with this engine hit 60 in an impressive 6.5 seconds in Edmunds testing. EPA fuel economy is better than the 5.0-liter V8, too, at an estimated 16/22/18. Four-wheel drive drops mileage by 1 mpg across the board.
The final engine (standard on the Raptor) is a 6.2-liter V8 making 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, which gets this bruiser to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. Fuel economy stands at 13/18/15 with the 6.2-liter in the rear-drive F-150 but drops to 12/16/13 in the Raptor.
The F-150's tow ratings range from 6,400 pounds with the 3.7-liter V6 all the way up to 11,300 pounds with the 6.2-liter V8 and turbo V6 (when properly equipped). In Edmunds testing, however, the base V6 struggled to tow that much, so 5,800 pounds is a more reasonable amount.
Standard safety features for all 2013 Ford F-150s include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, trailer sway control, front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags. Ford's Sync system includes an emergency crash-notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone.
In government crash tests, the 2013 Ford F-150 SuperCrew received an overall rating of four out of five stars. Side crash protection garnered a five-star rating, while frontal protection got four stars (three stars for the SuperCrew). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave SuperCrew models a top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, regular F-150 models came to a stop from 60 mph in a range of 125-132 feet. The heavier Raptor with its off-road-oriented tires stopped in a much longer 143 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Ford F-150 SuperCrew is nearly as spacious for cargo and passengers as the cavernous Toyota CrewMax. It offers superb backseat comfort thanks to abundant legroom, a flat floor and a seatback angle that's pleasantly reclined. The SuperCab is still fairly roomy, but legroom is noticeably less generous and opening its rear-hinged clamshell doors is a hassle compared to the traditional front-hinged ones found in the Ram and Tundra's cab-and-a-halfs.
The F-150 is well suited to life as a work truck. It can be equipped to perform a variety of work- and recreation-related chores, and little details like the clever tailgate step, trailer sway control, box side steps and the Work Solutions options make life easier for the owner.
The F-150 gets new audio controls for 2013 to match the rest of Ford's newer cars, and the results aren't ideal. Certain buttons are harder to reach, and operation of the display screen can be confusing. Opting for MyFord Touch and its large touchscreen certainly makes things look higher tech and add functionality, but this system is prone to glitches and can be confusing to use.
The F-150 really stands out with its engine selection. Even the base V6 produces strong acceleration, while the turbocharged V6 offers a compelling combination of power, capability and efficiency. The V8s are plenty strong, too, and the 5.0-liter V8 is comparatively efficient. Our money would go to the turbocharged V6.
Regardless of engine, the 2013 Ford F-150 delivers the sort of ride and handling you'd expect from a pickup. If it's the only truck you test-drive, you'll probably be quite happy. However, should you drive it back to back with the newer Ram 1500, the Ford is likely to feel more "trucky" and less confidence-inspiring. There are more bumps and jiggles over rough pavement, the steering can be vague and there's less composure when towing.
Of course, the purpose-built SVT Raptor stands apart from the rest as the halo truck that off-road enthusiasts dream about. It can tame some of the toughest terrain around, but it's also a bit trickier to drive around town due to its wide body and higher ride height.