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Ford F150 5.0 King Ranch FX4 : Rugged luxury

By Ghaith Madadha - Jul 24,2017 - Last updated at Jul 24,2017

Photos courtesy of Ford

A rugged, well equipped, workhorse and spacious daily driver, the large American pick-up truck segment and its most popular Ford F150 model is a work truck, lifestyle vehicle and luxurious family drive rolled into one. 

A good value proposition and alternative to large SUVs, the latest F150 is the most sophisticated and lightest of the segment. Available in a broad range of cabin, drive-line, cargo bed and equipment levels, and driven on Jordanian roads and off-road conditions, the F150 proved powerful, capable and comfortable in King Ranch FX4 specification with 5-litre V8 engine.

Tough yet lightened construction

A more aggressive and evolutionary design, the F150’s design captures the segment’s and model line’s rugged and bold persona, and features a huge, upright chrome grill with angled back edges dominating its fascia, and surrounded by semi-split LED headlights. Just wider than it is tall, the F150’s squared dimensions, jutting details and vast 275/55R20 optional footwear — as tested — lend it a confident and assertive stance. Meanwhile, its ridged and stepped bonnet minimises the sheet metal from the top of the bonnet to the wheel-arch, and creates both a greater sense of presence and much reduced visual heft.

A functional design with improved aerodynamics and airflow, even the F150’s cargo bed has been honed to reduce turbulence, while its big glasshouse and low waistline allows for good road visibility for such a huge vehicle. It is, however, the F150’s lightweight aluminium construction which is most noteworthy. Riding on a tough frame with extensive use of high strength steel, America’s best-selling truck is the first in its segment to use durable military-grade aluminium body construction, which allows for a weight loss of up to 317kg compared to its predecessor, and so improves performance, efficiency, towing, cargo-carrying and ride and handling qualities.

Prodigious and progressive

Offered with several powerplant options including efficient and downsized but massively capable twin-turbo V6 engines with optional 10-speed automatic gearbox the driven King Ranch version was, however, fitted with Ford’s charismatic 5-litre V8 mated with a 6-speed automatic.

Rumbling, growling and epic in its progressively muscular delivery, the naturally-aspirated 5.0 ‘‘Coyote’’ V8 engine may be a more ‘‘traditional’’ unit, but is in fact a more modern design than typical in this segment, and features dual overhead camshafts with 32-valves. Eager revving yet refined when cruising, the ‘‘Coyote’’ low-end burble builds to a growling and unrelentingly pounding staccato as it winds up towards its redline.

A retuned, slightly less powerful but lower-revving version of the Ford Mustang GT’s engine with earlier peak torque delivery, the F150’s 5-litre mill develops 385BHP at 5500rpm and 387lb/ft torque at 3850rpm, which allows for brisk 0-100km/h acceleration estimated at under 6-seconds and an electronically-limited 170km/h top speed. 

Launching responsively and pulling hard from tick-over to redline, the ‘‘Coyote’’ is rewardingly progressive and provides the 2145kg F150 with effortlessly accessible and exploitable torque and punchy power throughout. Different in character to twin-turbo V6 versions with a well of mid-range thrust, the F150’s 5-litre thrives on top-end power and likes to work through gears more aggressively.

 

Capable and comfortable 

Riding on double wishbone front and heavy duty live axle and leaf spring rear suspension, with outboard rear dampers and suspension, the now considerably lighter F150 feels smaller and more agile than expected, but is nonetheless still a large vehicle. Refined and stable at speed, the F150 rides comfortably and easily soaks up road imperfections, even as driven with large alloy wheels and somewhat lower profile tyres. Over bumps, dips and crests it felt more settled on rebound than some of the competition. Tidy into corners for its size, heft and height, the F150 feels composed, balanced and reassuring.

Driven extensively on Jordanian highways, B-roads, dirt trails and the dusty plains and deserts of Wadi Rum, the highly capable F150 availed itself with confidence, and comfort. Smoothest and most refined in rear-drive mode, the F150 can be set in four-wheel-drive for off-road driving, or four-wheel-drive auto where power is sent to the front as needed for additional grip and traction, which proved particularly useful on dustly low traction surfaces. 

With deep reservoirs of torque, progressively explosive power and generous 238mm ground clearance, the F150 easily drove through sand dunes, while low gear ration four-wheel-drive allows for maximum power to be deployed at crawling pace for more difficult off-road conditions.

 

Smooth even in the rough

Rugged enough and settled and comfortable for brisk driving over less demanding off-road driving, the F150, however, features good 25.5° approach, 21° break-over and 26° departure angles for slower and more technical off-road driving, in addition to a locking rear differential with FX4 specification to ensure additional traction over loose surfaces. A capable workhorse, the F150 can haul a 953kg payload in its 1495-litre cargo bed and tow between 4037-4899kg, depending on axle ratio. Available driving assistance systems meanwhile include adaptive cruise control, blindspot, lane-keeping, rear cross-path and towing driver-assistance systems, and a 360° around view monitor. 

Hugely spacious in all directions, with easy accessibility to its four-door Super Crew cabin, and automatically lowering running boards, the King Ranch spec is very well equipped and luxurious. Driven with brown leather trim and upholstery, it has a distinctly warm and more welcoming ambiance, and features quality fit and finish and plenty of soft textures. 

Featuring three inflatable 3-point rear seatbelts and child seat latches in addition to numerous safety and convenience qualities including optional massaging front seats, the F150 also has an intuitive Sync infotainment system which comes with Bluetooth streaming, voice command, while the instrument panel even optionally features steering angle, gradient, side slope and active four-wheel-drive power distribution instrumentation for off-road driving.

 

 

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 5-litre, all-aluminium, in-line V8-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 92.2 x 92.7mm

Compression ratio: 10.5:1

Valve-train: 32-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing

Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive, low ratio transfer case, locking rear differential

Gear ratios: 1st 4.17:1; 2nd 2.34:1; 3rd 1.52:1; 4th 1.14:1; 5th 0.86:1; 6th 0.69:1; R 3.4:1

Axle ratio options: 3.31:1, 3.55:1, 3.73:1

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 385 (390) [287] @5500rpm

Specific power: 77.7BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 179.5BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 387 (524) @3850rpm

Specific torque: 105.8Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 244.3Nm/tonne

0-97km/h: 5.5-seconds (estimate)

Top speed: 170km/h (electronically governed)

Minimum fuel requirement: 91RON

Length: 5889mm

Width: 2029mm

Height: 1962mm

Wheelbase: 3683mm

Approach/break-over/departure angles: 25.5°/21°/26°

Seating: 5

Cargo bed height, length, width: 543, 1705, 1285-1656mm 

Cargo volume: 1495-litres

Fuel capacity, standard/optional: 97-/125-litres

Kerb weight: 2145kg

Payload: 953kg

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 3175kg

Towing maximum: 4037-4899kg (depending on axle ratio)

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning circle: 15.57-metres

Suspension, F/R: Double wishbones, coil springs/live axle, leaf springs

Brakes, F/R: Disc, 34 x 350mm/drum, 22 x 335mm

Brake callipers, F/R: Twin/single

Tyres: 275/55R20

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