Canada's best-selling pick-up goes upmarket
Drumheller, Alta. – We here at PRN Igniton don’t normally pay much attention to trucks of any kind (with the exception of a handful of SUVs), primarily because they’re virtually devoid of the one thing that matters most to us and our readership: performance.
With the possible exception of the cargo van, no vehicle on the road is more closely tied to its inherent sense of utility than the full-size pick-up. Even though this notion isn’t as true as it once was, trucks are often purchased to perform specific tasks that cannot be done with ordinary passenger vehicles, like towing race cars in fifth-wheel trailers to and from the track for instance.
While we might not pay too much attention the full-size truck market, it is a lucrative one for the manufacturers both in terms of overall sales and profitability on a per unit basis. This is a reality not lost on any of the automakers in the segment, particularly those with headquarters in Detroit.
Trucks are big business these days and no one knows that better than the Ford Motor Company, the undisputed truck sales champion in North America. In Canada alone, Ford now moves more than 100,000 copies of its full-size F-150 pick-up per year and more than 750,000 units in North America. The F-150 is particularly dominant in Canada where it has been best-selling full-size pick-up for an astonishing 47 consecutive years.
With that type of track record, it’s not surprising the roster of F-150s has grown significantly to keep up with the changing tastes of truck buyers. The 2013 F-150 is available in 39 different trim combinations that offer varying equipment levels, cab sizes and engine choices in both two and four-wheel drive.
As one might imagine, the price range covers a lot of territory; the base two-wheel drive XL model with a regular cab with an EcoBoost 3.5L V6 engine starts at $19,999, while the range-topping Limited 4x4 with a Super-Crew cab (the only one on offer) and a choice of either the EcoBoost V6 or an optional 6.2L V8 carries a $64,699 price tag. That is an eye-popping price for a truck, but it should be noted that the Limited does come loaded with just about every bell and whistle one could imagine.
Ford’s Canadian Marketing Plans Manager (truck) Darren Halabisky tells PRN Ignition that the availability of the Limited model, which is new for 2013, is being driven by customer demand. Although Ford only expects the Limited will account for about two percent of its F-150 sales this year, he notes that prospective buyers are asking for a more luxurious option with an emphasis on extra equipment.
On that score the Limited delivers with a long list of standard features. Among the highlights: 22-inch aluminum wheels, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, heated and cooled front leather front seats, power side running boards, power sliding rear window, power adjustable pedals and heated, power-extendable side mirrors.
To drive home the point of exclusivity Ford is offering the Limited in just three colours (black, white and ruby red), and the truck comes adorned with Limited badging on the front seats and the centre console which also comes stamped with a vehicle identification number (VIN).
While this truck is being positioned more as a vehicle for nights out on the town and long trips that one used for towing and hauling stuff, it’s still got impressive power credentials.
Equipped with the EcoBoost V6, the Limited has a 5,000 kilogram (11,000 pound) tow rating and plenty of ground clearance to tackle drifting snow and muddy back roads. It will also haul lots of stuff, although because it is only available with the larger Super-Crew cab, the box is a bit shorter (5.5 feet) than other F-150 models. A bed extender, however, is available for an extra $350.
While this writer didn’t have the opportunity to drive the Limited on snowy or muddy Alberta roads, I can attest that it performs quite well on dry pavement. The cavernous Super-Crew cab is a reasonably tranquil place to be, even at highway speeds, and road imperfections are admirably absorbed by the suspension. The ride is smooth and the acceleration with the EcoBoost-equipped model is more than adequate in just about any circumstance. Given its prodigious power output, the fuel economy numbers are also pretty decent.
Is the Limited a bit of an exercise in overkill? Sure, an argument could be made that no one needs a $65,000 rolling palace of a truck, especially when operating costs and the vehicle’s utilitarian nature are taken into account.
But then again, who wouldn’t love to roll to the track in a Limited with the track day car of choice in tow? Yeah, so would we.
2013 Ford F-150 Limited
Base price: $64,699
Price as tested (before taxes): $64,699
Engine: 3.5L EcoBoost V6, 6.2L V8
Horsepower: 365 hp / 420 lb-ft. (V6), 411 hp / 434 lb-ft. (V8)
Transmission: six-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy Ratings (L/100 km): V6 – 14.1 / 9.6 (city / hwy.), V8 – 18.2 / 12.2 (city / hwy.)
Basic Warranty: 48 months / 80,000 km
Photo by Ford of Canada, Ltd.