2015 Ford F-150: Towing Impressions
March 30, 2015
Up until last weekend I'd spent very little time driving our long-term 2015 Ford F-150. My first real drive in it would be towing a craptacular race car from Los Angeles to Sonoma Raceway and back, an 850-mile round trip.
So, how'd it go?
The whole trip was a breeze. Granted, a caged Miata and this formula car trailer is a pretty light load as these things go. This truck's 2.7-liter twin turbo V6 has way more than enough gusto, and moved out with authority. It's really a terrific power plant, with a very smooth and quiet disposition and little if any meaningful turbo lag. Torque comes on strong at very low revs. If you're considering the 3.5-liter Ecoboost, be sure to try the 2.7-liter first, as it may well be totally sufficient for your needs.
It took me a minute to locate the tow/haul button. Turns out it's a tiny Chiclet at the base of the transmission selector. Engaging tow/haul mode holds gears longer and is better about downshifting. For instance, with the cruise set, the F-150's transmission will kick down when descending in an attempt to maintain your set speed.
The truck's chassis is notably more refined than the outgoing F-150. It is much quieter. Really, the only untoward noise I heard was an odd creak from the driver's door. I've found quiet truck cabins to be a real boon in combating fatigue behind the wheel, and the F-150 delivers. The ride quality, too, was barely fazed by the addition of the trailer's tongue weight. I know you've heard this refrain before, but — no joke — there were several instances on this trip that I forgot I was towing anything. For real.
When you attach the trailer's wiring connector to the truck, the truck recognizes this and turns off the parking sensors and cross-traffic alerts. And if you scroll through the menus in the instrument cluster, you'll find a towing menu. Here, the truck tests the trailer's lights to ensure they're functioning properly. This feature is especially handy if you're hooking up the trailer solo.
What else? The LED puddle lights in the side-view mirrors, each with their own button, throw a lot of light. Nice. The backseat cargo volume is thoughtfully laid out. There's enough height under the backseat to stow a full-size floor jack, and the long, skinny compartment under there is sized just right for the jack handle.
Fuel economy for this trip (approx. 85% towing) came in at 15.1 mpg.
Basically, on this trip I found the new F-150 a smart, comfortable and capable tool. I'm impressed.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor