2015 Ford F-150: Oregon Road Trip Leg 1 - Improvised Cargo Protection and a 638-Mile Tank
August 12, 2015
My family is making our annual summer pilgrimage to the Oregon coast to visit my parents, and this time we're taking the long-term 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup. As ever, there are four of us. But my daughters are now adult-sized, so the cab is full-up with people, snacks and pillows. Our luggage must ride in the bed.
But it rains on the Oregon coast (in theory, at least) and we really don't want to move our suitcases in and out of the cab every time we go inside a restaurant or visit a roadside attraction. This is a job for a lockable tonneau cover, but our truck doesn't have one.
And then I remembered our crossover-sized roof pod, a leftover from our departed 2012 Honda CR-V long-term test car. It can easily swallow four suitcases, and it's short enough to neatly drop inside our crew cab's 5.5-foot bed.
The pod is meant to clamp onto a roof-rack's cross rails, but that wasn't an option here. I didn't want it sliding around in corners, so I trimmed 1x4 scraps to match the inside width of the bed and ran those through the clamps instead. After loading our bags, I stretched my trusty spider-web bungee cord over the whole thing for a little extra stability.
The curious can't easily look inside because it's lockable, but someone could steal the entire contraption if they were strong enough to wrestle with a loaded pod and motivated enough to gamble on the value of the unseen contents. Besides, the thing is empty when we're overnighting at a hotel, and I'm betting it doesn't have enough pawn shop value to be a target on its own.
Our first fill-up happened just after we escaped Los Angeles, dropped into California's great central valley and stopped for dinner. Less than an hour later, our Ford crossed the 15,000-mile mark as we rolled into the night toward our eventual hotel stop.
That tank would last us through most of the next day and take us up the road as far as Klamath, California, a mere 61 miles from our target destination and a full 638 miles from our previous fuel stop.
Impressed? Hold on a second. Sure, that's a new best-range record for our F-150. But you could say we cheated because our truck has the optional 36-gallon tank.
And it took 33.905 gallons to refill the tank after covering that distance, which works out to a disappointing 18.8 mpg after a 99-percent highway cruise at speeds ranging between 65 and 72 mph. Do I need to reiterate our truck's EPA highway rating of 23 mpg?
Enough with the 87-octane regular fuel that's supposedly sufficient to achieve that rated fuel economy. From here on I'm using premium, and it's a good time to switch because the tank is nearly empty.
I'll have plenty of miles to try it out, too. That's because I'm taking a vacation from my vacation in the form of a detour north to Tacoma, Washington for a work-related business trip.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,595 miles