Vehicle Overview Shoppers pretty much want everything from their full-size light-duty trucks these days. You want your new truck to be comfortable, have the most modern tech on the inside, get impressive fuel economy and, oh yeah, do all that truck stuff, too, like hauling cords of firewood and towing an Airstream travel trailer. It's easy to take all of this capability for granted, but the 2017 Ford F-150 is a perfect example of that kind of modern truck.
The latest generation F-150 offers all the performance you need along with a refined modern touch. It has neat tricks up its sleeve such as the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, which allows you to control the direction of your trailer with a simple dashboard mounted knob. There's also the F-150's impressively quick Sync 3 infotainment system, a quiet cabin, and all the available luxury amenities you could ask for, such as ventilated seats and power deployable running boards. Aluminum body panels and an aluminum bed (rather than traditional steel) help make the F-150 the lightest truck in its class, too.
This year's 2017 F-150 also gets a few updates worth noting. The big news is the redesigned version of the top-of-the-line turbocharged 3.5-liter engine that's hooked up to a brand-new 10-speed automatic transmission. Yes, 10. It sounds like overkill, but it helps improve fuel economy and it provides an ideal gear ratio for just about any towing scenario. To top off the changes, Ford has brought back one of the baddest off-road trucks out there, the F-150 Raptor. It's wider and significantly more powerful than the standard F-150 and comes with an upgraded suspension, heavy-duty skid plates and tons of character. Head out to open desert terrain in a Raptor, and you're going to feel as if you're driving your own personal Baja-race trophy truck.
Although the F-150 is an outstanding truck, that doesn't mean it's the only full-size truck we'd recommend. The 2017 Ram 1500 is one of our favorites thanks in part to its excellent ride quality and impressive available diesel engine. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (and its GMC Sierra 1500 twin) are lifelong rivals to the F-150 that offer quiet and well-appointed cabins along with multiple powerful engines to choose from. As for the Raptor, it's in a class by itself, though the stylized Ram 1500 Rebel and rock-crawling Ram 2500 Power Wagon could be worth a look.
Clearly, if you're shopping for a full-size truck, there are a number of excellent choices. But even among all that stiff competition, the 2017 Ford F-150 is still one of our favorite trucks on the road. It should be right near the top of your consideration list.
Performance and MPG The 2017 Ford F-150's base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 282 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination can achieve 20 mpg in combined city/highway driving, and maximum towing capacity is 7,600 pounds.
The first of three optional engines is a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that increases output to 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7-liter is also paired with a six-speed automatic. We've subjected a few different F-150s equipped with this engine to our performance tests; expect a 0-60 mph time of around 6.3 seconds, an impressive result for a light-duty truck. This engine is rated at 22 mpg combined and can tow as much as 8,500 pounds.
Although the 5.0-liter V8 isn't turbocharged, it's a tried-and-true choice for both its towing prowess and fuel economy that is attainable in the real world. This one produces 385 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque and comes with the six-speed automatic. In Edmunds testing, a V8-powered 4WD SuperCrew reached 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Rated fuel economy is 18 mpg combined, and towing capacity tops out at 11,100 pounds.
Atop of the heap you'll find the redesigned 3.5-liter turbocharged V6, which is now good for 375 hp and a stout 470 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. This very capable and well-rounded combination is rated at 21 mpg combined, and properly equipped versions can tow up to 12,200 pounds.
Of course the four-wheel-drive versions are rated 1 or 2 mpg lower, and the top three engines are available with an optional heavy payload package that saps another mpg or two.
Meanwhile, the Raptor is powered by a high-output version of the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that belts out 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Only available with the 10-speed automatic transmission, it consumes fuel at the rate of 16 mpg in combined driving. Towing is not its strong suit, however, due to its highly optimized off-road suspension.
The Raptor's standard four-wheel-drive system has a driver-adjustable terrain management system that offers six different modes (Normal, Street, Weather, Mud and Sand, Baja and Rock Crawling) used to alter the truck's engine, transmission, traction control and brake systems according to terrain. Weather mode, for example, calibrates the Raptor for rain, snow and ice, while Baja can be used for high-speed desert running.
Safety Standard safety features on all 2017 Ford F-150 models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, full-length side curtain airbags and automatic crash notification via paired cell phones.
Ford's MyKey system is standard on the XLT and above. It monitors the vehicle and allows owners to set certain limitations and alerts for valets and teen drivers. Optional safety equipment includes rearview and surround-view cameras, rear parking sensors and several driver aid systems. Those systems include adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, a forward collision warning system that also pre-charges the brakes for maximum responsiveness, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and inflatable rear seat belts.
In Edmunds brake testing, current F-150 test vehicles have generally needed 126 to 132 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is about average for the segment.
In government crash tests, the 2017 Ford F-150 received five out of five stars for overall, front- and side-impact protection and four stars for rollover protection. When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the F-150, it gave the F-150 a top rating of Good in all tests, including small-overlap front-impact, moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraints/seats (whiplash protection).
Additional Information The 2017 Ford F-150 pickup is the big Kahuna, the top of the food chain and the king of all it surveys. The F-Series trucks have been the best-selling new vehicle in the world for decades, and Ford is determined to keep that record.
Buyers don't want a truck that doesn't meet their needs. So the F-150 is available as everything from a stripped-down, regular-cab work truck that's built to take decades of hardworking abuse up to a four-door crew-cab chockablock with technology and luxury. Some of that technology is neat stuff, including a Pro Trailer Backup Assist system that allows you to precisely pilot the truck by using a single knob when towing a trailer. The Sync 3 information, navigation and entertainment system works intuitively and rapidly.
When lavishly equipped, it may be that the F-150 is the most luxurious vehicle ever sold as a Ford. But the signature feature of this F-150 is its aluminum body, which knocks its curb weight down to the lowest in the class.
Under the hood, the marquee news is that the popular twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 has been significantly tweaked and is now paired with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The payoff should be better fuel economy, better performance and bragging rights for anyone who takes particular pride in the size of a gearbox.
But it's the return of the F-150 Raptor after a two-year absence that is most heartening to hardcore truck fans. Now powered by a version of the EcoBoost V6, the Raptor is wider and more powerful and has an even better suspension than the old Raptor. And that makes it dizzyingly delicious. Expect the Raptor — the Ferrari of factory off-road trucks — to remain in short supply throughout the 2017 model year.
Even in aluminum, the F-150 is a big truck, and big trucks get crummy mileage. The most fuel-efficient F-150 model is a base, regular-cab, two-wheel-drive version, powered by the twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6. It gets an EPA-rated 21 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway). Coming in with less stellar numbers is a 4x4 F-150 with the big four-door cab and the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. You can expect 19 mpg combined from it (17 city/21 highway).
Full-size trucks are available in so many variations, with so many available options, that just comprehending the breadth of possibilities can be mind-boggling. But never fear: Edmunds is here to help you select the 2017 Ford F-150 that's just right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.