- Ford builds on F-Series' success with a host of cosmetic and functional upgrades
- New F-150 Limited ups the ante with luxury features and advanced technology
- To celebrate the 65th anniversary of its partnership with the Future Farmers of America, Texas FFA gets the first look
In the small burg of Bruceville, Texas, some twenty minutes south of Waco, residents enjoy an enclave well removed from the hustle and bustle of Interstate 35, despite the highway's presence only a few blocks east of the community's center. Despite the the explosive growth of Dallas/Fort Worth to its north and Austin/San Antonio to its south, little seems to have encroached on Bruceville, whose gently rolling topography seems little changed from the last century - and the century before that.
Eventually, however, technology catches up with everyone and everything, and on Monday, June 4, it caught up with Bruceville. Here, Ford president Alan Mulally first revealed Ford's 2013 F-150. The assembled audience, including members of the Future Farmers of America, could not have been more delighted if Henry Ford had been making the remarks.
Having launched this well-regarded iteration of the F-150 for model year 2009, and having introduced an entire lineup of revised drivetrains in 2011, Ford can be excused for taking a break in the big investments and going with less ambitious tweaking this time. For the 2013 F-150, those tweaks include a new Limited luxury model, HID projector headlamps, power telescoping and folding side-view mirrors for trailer towing - a segment exclusive, Ford says-and three new metallic paint colors.
There are also several interior updates in the new F-150. A new 4.2-inch multifunction display and MyFord Touch interfaces allowed designers to configure a more contemporary center stack and control layout. The Lariat on display benefited from a new Steel Gray interior, which promises to be easier to maintain than beige, yet cooler-both visually and literally-than black. The Platinum trim level now offers both black and pecan leather seating, while the aggressive FX appearance package now includes Alcantara seat inserts.
On the outside, the F-150 grille is more similar to that gracing the F-250 Super Duty. The aforementioned HID lamps add both a high-tech look and improved functionality, and new 18-and-20-inch wheel designs will fill out the various trim packages. Returning inside, the truck buyer will note the addition of 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report to Ford's SYNC; it is standard equipment on XLT series and above. Of course, above and beyond monitoring your health or that of your truck, buyers can choose from an entire suite of SYNC services, including traffic, turn-by-turn directions and business searches, along with sports, weather and horoscopes. The last two should be of particular interest to Future Farmers, who could use them to monitor the potential for drought and pestilence.
The full range of powertrains continues for 2013, including the base 3.7-liter V6, both 5.0- and 6.2-liter V8s, and the well-received 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The latter delivers best-in-class towing capability and payload, along with an EPA estimate of 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway.
The new truck certainly played well in front of the FFA, and Mulally's personal story and relaxed personality seem to have played even better. At the end of his well-received remarks, we were betting more than one or two Future Farmers are dropping farmer and adding CEO to their personal list of goals.
What it means to you: Ford's revisions to its iconic F-Series might well be summed up with the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's not the most original product strategy, but it should serve Ford customers in the short term and, judging from audience reaction at the presentation, Future Farmers in the long term.