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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Whether it’s to surmount a distant obstacle or for a supermarket run, climbing into the F-150 (and it is a climb) feels like mounting up for an adventure. Most of it is due to the sheer size of the thing as it dwarfs any neighboring vehicle, hammered home by the vastness of the interior. Every button, switch and handle is big and chunky, giving drivers plenty of scruff to grip when it’s time to set off.

It takes a light touch to get going, but once it’s up and running the F-150 is disciplined, particularly on the highway where it’s most comfortable. Here, with momentum behind it, the F-150 is responsive to light inputs and the suspension setup is allowed to use its abilities to maximize comfort.

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You’d also be hard pressed to discern any significant difference between the free-breathing V8 and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost powertrains. While one might be more responsive, the heft of the truck blurs the line enough for it not to matter when it comes to drive feel.

How does BlueCruise feel on a truck like that?

Considering how much the F-150 is used for long weekends away or for jobs across the country, its inclusion makes sense, terrifying as it may be for some. Essentially, you’re being asked to relinquish control of a near-6,000 pound rolling steel structure at highway speeds, so enjoyment of the feature will vary from person to person. BlueCruise can’t work while towing a trailer, but for the right customer, it’ll certainly make long stretches of highway easier to tolerate.

When in a designated zone, the drive assist will allow hands-off driving and automatic lane changes, so long as conditions are optimal. The system is always keeping an eye out for changes in traffic behavior, speed and what you might be up to. Just because it’s hands-off doesn’t mean you can start daydreaming. If you prefer to meet it halfway and keep your hands on the wheel, BlueCruise will stay activated and even allow minimal course corrections without fully disengaging.
Speaking of towing, gimme some payload details.

Right. It varies by configuration and powertrain, but the right F-150 can be laden with up to 2,445lbs of stuff, with the base model and hybrid still capable of hauling more than 1,750lbs-worth of payload. Ford’s truck can also tow between 8,400 to 13,500lbs behind it, with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost being the overall champ for this kind of work. Speaking of towing, there’s integrated tech to make the job easier, both while on the move or to help maneuver a trailer in a tight spot at your destination.

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Enough about the road, talk about going *off* the road!

The F-150 is built with plenty of inherent capability but when it comes to leaving the pavement, the Tremor is the best-equipped model in the standard truck’s line-up. Unique suspension components, 33-inch off-road tires and a transfer case plucked from the Raptor parts bin set the Tremor up for off-road success while other cosmetic options make it stand out. The Tremor now has a modular bumper that’s compatible with a number of accessories like light bars, bully bars or a winch.

This plus the off-road terrain software make for a truck that does most of the hard work while the driver just needs to point it in the right direction, a function the Tremor also helps with thanks to an always-on forward camera when off-road mode is engaged.

Trail control is an easily-engaged mode that helps the F-150 scramble up steep mounds with questionable purchase. This mode can be set at a low speed and will continue to crawl forward so long as the brake isn’t engaged, helping you to pay more attention to wheel position and preventing a heavy foot from putting down too much power. The same system helps the F-150 climb back down in a steady pace when it’s time to descend back to earth.

In instances where the truck needs to swing around an oblique angle, it can enable a trail turn that’s essentially a controlled drift of the tail end to rotate the car into a favorable direction.

After a full day of scrambling over paths littered with rocks big and small, we were just as comfortable at the end as we were when we set out, with the F-150 putting in the labor while we handled all the fun parts.

Variants We Have Tested

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