America’s bestseller for four decades, the Ford F-150’s now in Australian showrooms in right-hand drive. Here are five things to know about the range-topping Lariat.
1. You’re going to need a bigger driveway
Detroit built then right-hand-drive re-engineered in Melbourne, the big daddy F-150 full-size truck is finally in Ford Australia showrooms. Step aside, Ranger – everything about this thing is huge. Two metres tall and 6.2-metres long, it weighs 2555kg and tows 4500kg. Its rear box is half a metre longer than a Ranger’s, so the motorbike or quad bike fits. The F-150’s petrol tank’s a swimming pool-like 136 litres, so don’t expect much change from $300 when refuelling. You sit King of the Road high, there’s 225mm ground clearance and low-range four-wheel-drive for truckin’ adventures. But leave a footie field space for three-point turns. A “short” wheelbase F-150 is also available, but you can still fit a Kia Picanto between its axles.
2. There’s no V8, and it’s a better truck for it
Is it really the authentic pick-up truck experience without a thumping V8? You miss the distinctive rumble, but Ford’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol is the smarter choice in the current climate. There’s guts enough with 298kW and 678Nm of torque, and it returns an almost palatable 12.5L/100km. The turbo V6 makes a decent growl if you floor it, but otherwise it’s too quietly sensible. Good grief it shifts this truck’s mega mass, though – 100km/h arrives in about six seconds.
3. The conversion work is deeply impressive
This is no quick cut and shut job. Ford Australia and re-engineering partner RMA has done a good job. Ford’s five-year/unlimited km warranty applies and services are reasonably cheap at $2076 for five. About 500 new or modified parts are used. They’ve even changed the navigation voice to Australian, and optimised the Bang & Olufsen 18-speaker audio for right-hand-drive. Our test revealed no nasty squeaks or rattles. But all this work doesn’t come cheap. An entry-level F-150 XLT SWB is $106,950, or $995 extra for the LWB. Its cabin and kit are basic – cloth seats, halogen headlights, no radar cruise control and a column gear shifter. Our Lariat piles on features, but is a painful leap higher at $139,950 for the SWB or $140,945 for the LWB.
4. Specification’s high, but there’s bad news too
Ford reckons this Lariat will be top seller, as Aussies buying such brutes seemingly have ample disposable income. Highlights include a moonroof, power tailgate, leather-accented power, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, two 12-inch screens, power-adjustable foot pedals, remote start, electronic locking rear differential, a smart backing-up assist for trailer reversing, plus enough chrome to coat a planet. Less positive is our F-150s are 2023 models, not updated trucks on sale in the US. And for the Lariat’s hefty price, there’s no head-up display or cargo tub cover. The payload’s only 710kg and why can’t we have the 320kW/773Nm hybrid V6, which uses just 9.8L/100km?
5. It’s a delight to drive, but not in the city
It may be the size of a container ship, but blessedly doesn’t drive like one.
Unladen it behaves like most leaf-spring pick-ups; there’s a slightly jittery low-speed ride, then a little bounce over road bumps. But on a smooth highway or decent road it glides in plush comfort, the cabin insulation’s excellent and road imperfections are laughed at. The steering
displays decent response to go with easy and light control. With a 3000kg caravan attached the ride felt more planted, and the V6 effortlessly hauled the towed mass. Its ten-speed auto stuttered slightly at low speeds, but otherwise seamlessly flew through its many cogs.
But there’s no joy driving in the city. Zero. Parking spots aren’t big enough, roads aren’t wide enough and urban fuel economy skyrockets.