Crucial Cars: The Ford F-150

From timeless icons to everyday essentials, Crucial Cars examines the vehicles we can't live without. For this installment, we hitch a ride on the workhorse of the ages — Ford's F-150. 

2019 Ford F-150

Source | Ford

THE 2019 FORD F-150

The Ford F-150 is the workhorse of choice for professionals and weekend warriors alike wanting dependable towing and hauling power for work or recreation. Towing power starts with the 2019 model's six engine choices — including a Power Stroke Turbo Diesel — and best-in-class towing with the 3.5L EcoBoost® twin-turbo V6, churning out 375 horsepower, 470 lb.-ft. of torque, and a tow rating of 13,200 lbs.

The lightweight yet high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy cab and bed help deliver class-leading EPA-estimated highway fuel economy, while a suite of driver assist features through Ford's Co-Pilot360 Technology — including lane maintain and emergency braking — help keep passengers safe on the road.

Complementing performance with driver convenience, Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist on the F-150 takes the stress out of backing up a trailer. With just the twist of a knob, the technology turns the trailer in exactly the direction you want it to go. And when everything doesn't fit in the trailer, extensive in-cab storage on the SuperCab and SuperCrew® F-150 models feature a fully flat, rear load floor with under-seat storage.

Ford 3.3L TI-VCT V6
Ford's 3.3L TI-VCT V6 | Ford


Ford's continuing success with the F-150 can be traced, in part, to its experience designing and building trucks that drivers want. The F-150 wasn't Ford's first pickup. That honor belongs to Ford's 1925 Model T, and the 33,000 plus Model T “runabouts" built with a pickup truck body and sold for $281.

The F-150 name didn't arrive on the scene until 1975, and followed the F-100's 1953 introduction and the F-series creation in 1948 when the F-1 half-ton pickup's debut. Those early F-series were available with just two engine options – a 95-horsepower, 226 cubic-inch, inline six, or a 100 horsepower, 239 V8. Changes in options through the years helped keep Ford's F-series fresh, with perhaps one of the biggest changes occurring with the 1959 model year's introduction of four-wheel drive. Whether used in farming, construction, or some other industry that required hauling and towing, those early trucks were, indisputably, work trucks for their drivers.

Contrast those trucks with today's F-150s and how they're driven — more like a luxury sedan with infotainment systems, touchscreens, and panoramic sunroofs, as opposed to being strictly a utilitarian work truck. Ford isn't resting on its laurels either when it comes to the F-150 of the future. In keeping with recent trends for increased fuel efficiency and alternative power, Ford has teased fans with plans for hybrid and electric vehicle F-150s that, surprisingly, will offer more towing and off-road power than today's gas and diesel options.

2019 F-150 Interior

2019 Ford F-150 Interior | Ford

The move to hybrid and EV makes sense as Ford has proven time and again it knows what drivers want when it comes to their flagship F-150. After all, they have the experience, and added incentive and pressure not to disappoint a legion of die-hard Ford fans. No one at Ford wants to be the one responsible for breaking a multi-decade tradition as the top-selling vehicle and truck — even though there are undoubtedly an equal number of diehard Chevy and Dodge fans just waiting for that day to happen.

Editor's note: You can lighten your load by shopping Advance Auto Parts for your Ford F-150 needs. Choose parts, accessories and more - all at a superior value. Get your order fast—buy online, pick up in-store, in 30 minutes.

Which truck do you use? Are you an F-150 fan? Or, do you drive a Ram, Silverado or Tundra? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Last updated December 17, 2020