Ford F-150 Pickup Is Capable Hauler For Snowy Adventures

In this adventure

Editor’s note: How the 2018 Tesla Model X performed in a comparison by and winter sports enthusiasts with the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford F-150 and Subaru Outback on a round trip from Las Vegas to Brian Head, Utah. Find the other vehicles and the full report here.

The Ford F-150 has a commanding presence on and off the road. Including its heavy-duty siblings, Ford sold nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks last year. More than 1 of every 20 vehicles sold in the U.S. was a Ford truck. No other manufacturer has a model with that type of sales volume.

We tested an F-150 4×4 SuperCrew Platinum with a 145-inch wheelbase. It is powered by a turbocharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine with 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This is one of the best transmissions in the business. It never struggled to find a gear in our highway driving. The shifts remained imperceptible as the truck climbed up to the 9,800-foot elevation of our mountain lodge.

The truck was loaded with features suited to long drives in rugged conditions.

“I was very actually intimidated to drive a car that size. But when we took the truck just on that dirt road, and it was like in its home, like in its natural habitat for a truck, it was super fun,” said Arielle Shipe, a yoga instructor and avid outdoor adventurer from Aspen, Colo.

The truck also is the best option if you are going to pull snowmobiles or other equipment.

The Platinum trim of the Ford F-150 included a robust set of automated driver-assistance systems. They include a 360-degree camera with active park assist. The camera was handy for backing the big truck into a narrow spot in the parking garage below the lodge. Adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist will alert, slow or stop the truck in the event of a frontal collision.

The adaptive cruise control’s ability to keep pace with traffic was helpful on the highway, especially when passing through the small towns where traffic naturally slowed for a stretch, said Justin Mayers, a photographer and videographer from Jackson, Wyo. He also liked the lane-assist system, finding that it eased the task of driving.

“I didn’t feel like it was ever taking control over me,” Mayers said. “It felt like it was right in between that line of assisting me but not taking over the job for me.”

Automatic running boards made stepping up into the truck easy. A deployable tailgate step was handy for loading gear into the bed.

A SuperCrew model, the Ford had four doors and plenty of room for four adults. A fifth would have been a squeeze in the rear seat. Some of our passengers complained that the rear seatback was a tad too upright to be comfortable on some of our longer drives. There’s also not much room for gear inside the cabin when you are hauling people.

We left the pickup truck parked outdoors overnight and found six inches of snow in the bed in the morning. People who spend a lot of time in frigid weather might consider a cargo cover to provide protected storage.

The truck is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 16 mpg in city driving, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg overall. Pricing starts at $61,910. As with the Tahoe, we paid about $14.17 to drive the F-150 100 miles in a mix of traffic and roads.

Ford is working on a redesign of the F-150 that will add a hybrid powertrain to the model lineup. The new F-150 is scheduled to come out in 2020.