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Ford F-150: Why the “Monarch of Trucks” is for everyone

The number one best-selling vehicle in the U.S. is not a sedan, crossover, or even an SUV. It’s the Ford F-150, selling three times the volume of the Toyota Camry. It’s more than just advertising, as this truck can do work every day, take the family to appointments, go off-road on weekend adventures, and do all of it well. If it’s time for a truck, you owe it to yourself to read up on why so many people choose the F-150.


EcoBoost Power

EcoBoost is a marketing term for a group of engine technologies used across Ford’s lineup, from the tiny Fiesta to the mid-size Fusion, sporty Mustang, and full-size Lincoln Navigator. It primarily refers to the use of turbochargers and direct-injection, but Ford patented 128 technologies while developing the system. The goal is to reduce engine size and weight (and thus reduce fuel use), while retaining the same power, torque, and driving characteristics of larger engines. For the most part, EcoBoost works. The 3.5-liter V6 in the F-150 makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, more than the previous generation’s 5.0-liter V8.

SYNC 3 Explained

SYNC 3 is Ford’s third generation infotainment system, replacing the unfavorably reviewed MyFord Touch. Unlike MyFord Touch, SYNC 3 is highly reviewed. Based on BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, SYNC 3 earns praise for reliability, ease of use, speed, and intuitiveness. The original SYNC offered a way to integrate your smartphone into hands-free communication, nav, and entertainment, and SYNC 3 builds on that model with additional capabilities from Ford and third-party app builders. In addition to the usual music, directions, and weather, you have Crew Chief for maintenance tracking, LogMeIn to remote access a computer, and Tool Link for RFID tool inventory.

Aluminum Everything

Totally redesigned for 2015, the current 13th generation F-150 went heavy on the use of lightweight aluminum, shedding nearly 700 lbs according to Ford. Previously heavy gauge steel, the aluminum chassis and body panels provide numerous benefits, from lack of rusting, to increased gas mileage, better acceleration, and increased towing capacity. Ford torture-tested the current model as disguised 12th gen trucks, and sent them out to work and take a beating in a real-world environment. Analysis showed the truck can handle the workload, and the aluminum body parts aren’t any more expensive to repair.


Over-building a truck seems to make it more reliable than other vehicles and the F-150 has an enviable reputation.

Repair aggregator Repair Pal reports the F-150’s reliability as 3.5 stars out of 5, with an above average rating compared to other trucks in its class and vehicles in general. If you do need a repair, Repair Pal said the likelihood of the F-150 repair being severe were lower than average for the class.

iSeeCars conducts an annual survey of traffic data showing which models are most likely to hit 200,000 miles. The F-150 is on the list of longest-lasting trucks, more likely to see 200k than Nissan Titan, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, Chevrolet Colorado, or Nissan Frontier.

Consumer Reports shows a reliability rating of 3/5, which is mid-pack average, but high owner satisfaction and a good road test score bump the F-150 into recommended territory.

Owner review website Consumer Affairs show F-150 owners rank its reliability at 3.7 out of 5, with most buyers saying they’d buy it again.


Trucks generally score well in crash tests due to their height and mass, but the F-150 does better. Ford engineered occupant protection into the aluminum chassis, and it’s getting more and more active safety features every year.

Safety Scores

The F-150 earned the highest scores from the IIHS in every crashworthiness test. Those areas are: small overlap front: driver-side and passenger-side, moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints & seats.

The Feds at the NHTSA do their own testing, not better or worse, just different. However, they also came to the same conclusion, awarding the F-150 their maximum of five stars. That’s in every crash test category, including front driver & passenger, side barrier and pole ratings. Rollover prevention scored four stars, even though theirs didn’t tip.

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