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Driving Impression : 2019 Ford F-150 (warning long post)

Apologies, this is going to be fairly long-winded. The backstory on this one is that last year , the old 1997 F-150 was replaced with a newer 2014 F-150. As luck would have it my brother and sister-in-law just had their third child and my brother wanted a truck that he could handle three car seats across the back seat. He’s an engineer by trade and requires a truck for his work, his previous truck was a 2002-ish F-150 supercab with close to 300k on the clock, it’s seen better days. Anyway he offered to purchase the 2014 from me as it was basically what he wanted in a truck (4WD, Crewcab,etc.). A price was agreed upon, he bought the 2014 and has been enjoying it. So once again, I was tasked with procuring another truck to replace it with.

At first the game plan was to simply go out and find another similar used truck. However the ones that I across either were already sold before I could get to the dealership or were in much worse shape than the ads had indicated. At one dealership about 25 miles away there were two trucks that looked like winners. One was 2017 F-150 with around 45k on the clock the other was a 2016 with about 50k on it. The 2016 looked like it had been driven through the Congo, it was scratched all over with some noticeable dents, the interior should’ve been considered a biohazard. The 2017 was in much better shape, I got the numbers on the 2017, the dealership was wanting to charge for nitrogen in the tires and etching the VIN on the glass, and other assorted BS that I was not going pay for. The dealership was not willing to budge at all on used vehicle prices. I then asked about new trucks since it was the end of the model year and trucks generally have a ton of margin built into the MSRP anyway. As it turns out that with the heavy incentive going on and discounts, the difference between a comparably equipped 2019 and used 2017 with 45k miles on it is about $4k. I got their best OTD price on two 2019’s that met my wants/needs and decided to check out a dealership that was much closer to where I live. This was the same dealership that may have attempted to rip me off with my recent Mustang A/C repair. I figured I could use that as leverage if it came down to it.

At the closer dealership, I was met with older salesman who seemed to be new at selling cars. Nice guy who basically let me do what I wanted to , (unlike many younger more aggressive salespeople who do their best to control the customer from start to finish.) I told him that I had checked online and that there were several trucks on the lot that I wanted to look at. Including on that happened to be on the showroom floor. I went out on the lot found about six trucks total that had what I wanted (Crew cab, 4WD, shortbed in either blue or grey with , Sync3, and either an Ecoboost or Coyote under the hood). Some were XLT’s and some were Lariats. Turns out that the Lariat trim level didn’t have nearly the kind of incentives as the XLT’s did so that wrote them off right off the bat . The one I decided one was the one on the showroom floor. It was the exact same color as the 2014, with the same interior color well, even has the same wheels. We sat down to talk numbers, this truck was a little nicer than the other 2019’s I had looked at the previous dealership. It had the larger Ecoboost engine, and had heated front seats. The salesman comes back with the first pencil (offer) and it’s inline with what the other dealership was offering (it was a bit higher as the truck was a bit more expensive). I told the salesman that it while it was a good opening offer, that the other dealership had them beat. He goes off to get the sales manger and says it’ll be a few minutes, I get up and wander off into the service dept. The Service manager (whom I had dealt with just a week prior) spots me, and asks if everything is okay with the A/C in my Mustang. I said that it was, and that I was looking at trucks, he asks if I found anything I liked, I said that I had found one that I liked but another dealership has a similar truck that meets my needs for less, and that I wasn’t terribly impressed with how the A/C repair went down in the first place, so I would probably be going home and go buy the other truck tomorrow. The service manager follows me back to the sales floor, and we are met by my salesman and the Sales manager.

I explain what went on with the A/C repair on my Mustang to the Sales Manager, which the Service Manager corroborates, and mention that another dealer has a truck that suits me for less. The sales manager asks what kind of deal I want. I tell them that I would buy their truck, if the match the price of the other truck and throw in a spray in bedliner. I didn’t expect them to bite, but figured it was worth a shot. Both the Sales manger and the Service manger scurry off, after a few minutes, the sales manager returns, and says that he spoke to the service manger and agrees that the A/C repair could’ve definitely been handled better and that they want to keep me as a customer, so they’ll give me the deal I asked for. So we do the paperwork and I drive home with a new 2019 F-150.

Anyway onto the truck itself : It’s a mid- level XLT, it has the 3.5L Gen 2 Ecoboost V6 , 10 Speed automatic, 4WD, 3.55 axle ratio w/ e-locker , Sync 3 with Nav , Cloth seats (front seats are heated and have power adjustments), Trailer towing package, with built in trailer brake controller and their Trailer-Pro backup assist. Power Windows/Locks, Remote start, 4G wireless hotspot, demoralizing 36 gallon fuel tank.

Things it doesn’t have that I kinda wanted: FX4 package, Sport package (with console shifter), front parking warning, built-in tailgate step.

I’ve only had it for about a month and have put about 500 miles on it so far. Here are my observations so far.

------------------------------The Good---------------------------------

  • The Gen 2 Ecoboost is even better than the original. It’s got a slight bump in HP but is even more torquey than before, 470 lb/ft of it. Combined with lighter aluminum body and 10 speed transmission, performance is way better than you would expect from a truck. On a related note the 10 speed really improves the performance delta between the 3.5L Ecoboost and the 5.0L V8. On older 6 speed trucks, the Ecoboost had noticeable advantage in performance, the 10 speed’s much closer ratios helps the higher-strung Coyote stay in it’s powerband more consistently. The 2.7L Ecoboost punches above it’s weight class and is probably the best option for the average person. As best that I could tell, there’s not much real-world difference in everyday driving (unloaded) between the 2.7L and 3.5L. There’s also a diesel available but it seems to be a very niche engine. It costs an extra $2.5k over the 3.5L Ecoboost V6. The Ecoboost has about 135 more HP and even out-torques the diesel. The Ecoboost give up 2-3 MPG vs. the diesel, meaning that once you factor in the up front costs of the diesel and the higher price of diesel (currently) that the payback time for the diesel is very lengthy, probably exceeding the lifespan of the vehicle. The only people whom the diesel might appeal to are folks that tow something relatively heavy and tow relatively often, but don’t need to make the jump to a 3/4 ton truck. I don’t see them selling a lot of diesel F-150’s.

  • The 10 Speed automatic is interesting. Under normal driving it doesn’t go into every gear. It might go from 1st to 4th to 6th,7th, 8th, and 9th when pulling away from standing stop. It doesn’t go into 10th until you’re doing around 55 MPH in most cases. If you go to pass someone and you’re in 9th gear, it might drop all the way down to 4th gear if you invoke a kickdown. The transmissions is quite smooth though, smoother than the 6 speed in the older truck when in the lower gears. Turns out it’s also pretty good for fuel economy.

  • On the first tank, I averaged 19.2 MPG, with some highway, but mostly suburban driving, that’s not bad in my book, and it may improve once the truck is fully broken in.

  • Sync 3 is one of better infotainment systems around. I have it in my Mustang, and it was a must have for the new truck. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. It also has both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. The sound system quality is improved from the old truck’s base Sync system, but that’s not saying much.

  • HVAC performance is improved. On the 2014, the A/C was cold enough, but you felt like the fan should’ve had one step higher than it’s highest setting. It was good enough so that you wouldn’t really complain about it, but it wasn’t particularly impressive. This truck’s A/C seems to have a more powerful fan. There are also A/C vents in the back of the center console so the rear seat passengers can get some cold air.

  • The ride is not bad at all. I have a suspicion that with the aluminum body, the engineers may have fitted softer springs/shocks due to the weight savings. The ride quality is better on the new truck than older 2014.

  • The headlights are pretty good. Both the 2014 and 2019 have typical halogen headlights (HID’s are standard on the Lariat). The 2014’s headlights weren’t that good, which was surprising given their size. The 2019’s are better, but still not up to the standard of my Mustang’s HIDs.

  • The fit and finish on the interior is not bad, even though this is a middle of the road truck, the interior materials are more than acceptable, panel gaps are even, nothing feels excessively cheap.

  • The E-locker is neat. It acts as a regular differential unless you activate it, at which time the rear axle locks and power is sent to both rear wheels equally. Apparently old-school mechanical limited slip diffs are no longer offered.

------------------------------The Bad------------------------------------------

  • I got the steering column shifter again. Not a huge deal. You can get the console shifter on the XLT trim level, but it requires the Sport package, and that package is rare apparently. I found one on the lot but that truck was in a color I didn’t want. The console mounted shifter is also standard on the higher trim levels as well.

  • I have reservations about the vehicle being equipped with a modem. I wonder how much information is being collected and sent somewhere without my consent.

  • The stock tires are unimpressive. They are allegedly Off-road/On-road tires, but they look very all-season-y to me.

  • The seat upholstery has sort of a hard plasticy mesh texture to it. There’s still your typical cushioning, but the texture of the seat is different. Seats are comfortable with wide range of adjustment though.

  • Aluminum body = higher repair costs should you need to visit the body shop.

  • The exhaust note isn’t the least bit impressive. It sounds like a minivan

Edit: Almost forgot. The auto start/stop is pretty poorly implemented. It’s noticable when it stops, and it’s very noticeable when it restarts, basically it’s opposite of seamless. It can be disabled with the push of the button, but it defaults to on every time you start the truck. I may very well Forscan it away totally or at least change the default to off.

Overall this is very similar truck compared to the 2014. I like it so far. I wasn’t planning to get rid of the 2014 so soon, but that’s just how life works out sometimes. I was kinda surprised that the dealers I went to were not willing to negotiate on used trucks at all, but were very willing to negotiate on new trucks.

2 Likes

Sounds like $4k well spent. A former car salesman friend said he made more money on used cars than new cars. I bought an 03 Ranger, after all incenteves etc. it was $1000 cheaper than the used one on the Carmax lot, I am thinking it may not have had all the bells and whistles, and it had a manual trans, but that was just fine for me.