Full-size F-150 undergoes local testing

Riley Riley

Ford continues to spruik the virtues of its ‘full-size’ utility cum pick-up F-150 due around the middle of next year.

But you have to wonder whether Australia needs another hulking American pick-up on its roads, indeed whether it would be better off without any of its ilk?

GMC’s Silverado and the Ram range of full-size trucks are already here and have been for some time.

In fact, the F-150 itself is already, privately imported and converted to right-hand drive by Victoria’s Harrison F-Trucks as well as Queensland-based Performax International.

Performax incidentally is the largest importer of American vehicles in this country.

These large vehicles take up a lot of real estate and use quite a bit of fuel, but Ford is not offering the electric (Lightning) or hybrid versions of the F-150.

It’s going with the tried and true EcoBoost twin turbo 3.5-litre petrol V6 which delivers 298kW of power and 678Nm of torque.

This could be more about keeping a lid on the price which will be well in excess of $100,000 anyway.

F-150 will be offered in five-seat Crew Cab form and is able to tow a 4500kg braked trailer.

And while it is happy to tell you how popular this model is and how much power and torque the engine produces, it has not revealed how much fuel it uses.

Figures suggest it should be around 11.8 litres per 100km — and that’s on a good day.

Australia is predominantly a diesel market for utes and SUVs and buyers generally want nothing to do with petrol engines.

But more than 8000 Australians have registered an interest in the F-150, with thousands of prospective orders already placed with dealers.

Ford says more US customers choose the EcoBoost V6 than any other F-150 engine and this powertrain will make F-150 one of the most powerful, and most capable, full-size pick-ups available in Australia.

“When we began looking at F-150 for an Australian return, there was one engine that stood out for us – the 3.5-litre EcoBoost, which gives F-150 immense power and torque, more than many of its V8 competitors,” Ford’s Natalie Manariti said.

“F-150 is an audacious vehicle for customers that don’t want to be restricted or limited, so we are bringing the best of the best with the 3.5L EcoBoost.”

F-150 will be offered in XLT and Lariat grades with the top-selling 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

Both versions will be available in SWB (3683mm wheelbase, 1676mm load box) and LWB (3988mm wheelbase, 1981mm load box) configurations.

Durability tests in Australia have seen F-150 clock up more than 135,000km, the equivalent of lapping Australia nine times.

Some of the world’s most punishing roads were also replicated in the laboratory at Ford Australia’s You Yangs Proving Ground with F-150’s driveline, steering, wheels and suspension punished on a Kinematic and Compliance (K&C) rig.

Overseas it has also been put through its paces hundreds of times on Ford’s torturous Silver Creek Road durability track in Arizona.

“We’ve torture-tested, tuned and re-worked the right-hand drive F-150 so that Aussie customers know they’re getting the full factory F-150 experience. We’re doing everything to make sure the truck will be right at home here.”


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