Since Texas is such a huge truck market, manufacturers sometimes introduce their newest vehicles here. The State Fair of Texas has been the site of a few unveilings, but last week’s introduction of the 2013 F-150 was in Waco and featured a very small guest list and special host. Center stage was Alan Mulally, President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, sharing wisdom with the 100 top members of Texas Future Farmers of America, as well as members of the Texas automotive press.
Mulally has spent six years in the top spot at Ford, taking it from huge losses to mortgaging everything including the blue oval logo; and, without taking Federal funds, to extraordinary success that includes paying off the debts, regaining a healthy financial rating and getting everything, including the logo, back about three weeks ago.
But the real star of the show was the iconic F-150 in its 2013 Lariat and XLT versions. Also along for the ride was an original F-1 pickup as an example of the pickup evolution.
Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager (an interview with him will be posted later this month) indicated that the 2013 are refreshes rather than an entirely new redesign. The body style has not changed, but there are enough improvements to make this update particularly interesting. I was told that a new Limited would be coming soon with a kick-butt interior. I expect to see it at Ford’s 2013 product day program at the end of the month in Dearborn, and you will know about it soon afterward.
On the exterior, the 2013 F-150 refreshed models get bold new grilles drawing on F-250 Super Duty dna. The beefy look works very well with the features on the vehicles. New HID projector headlamps are available as a segment-first technology. They provide improved visability, as well as a distinctive look that integrates well into the grille design and surrounds.
New 18- and 20-inch wheels are offered in various trim packages and power telescping and power-folding trailer-tow side mirrors are segment exclusive.
Fresh exterior colors are available (in addition to the popular ones from the past) with Blue Jeans Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic and Ruby Red Clearcoat Metallic. In combination with a new grey interior package, not offered before, they might not be a reason to go out and buy a new truck, but — if one is in your future — they do provide a really fresh take without being “out there”.
Ford has been an acknowledged leader in bringing technology into the pickup truck with its’ SYNC system but it took a critical hit with the MyFord Touch add-on, and it listened to what people said was deficient on it last iteration, includihng ease of use. For 2013, SYNC with voice-activated communications and entertainment, 911 Vehicle Assist and Vehicle Health Report standard on XLT models and above.
Buyers may also choose from an optional suite of SYNC services, including traffic information, turn-by-turn nav, and a wide range of search options like weather and horoscopes — no telling if either will tell you how successful your Texas fishing or hunting will be on any given day.
For 2013, the F-150 also introduces SYNC paired with a new 4.2″ LDC center-stack screen that provide enhanced displays for audio and climate-control functions. The instrument cluster also has a 4.2″ driver-managed LCD productivity screen that is great for sportsmen and women. Easily configurable, they include menus for gauge setup, trip computer, fuel economy and towing/off-road applications.
The Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models add MyFord Touch, with voice control to more vehicle systems and an all-new 8″ LCD color touch screen mounted in the center stack. A media hub with two USB ports, SD card reader and audio/video input jacks is part of the mix. Knobs are designed to be used by the driver wearing gloves.
Under the hood
Power train options range from the fuel-efficient EcoBoost 3.5L top the 6.2L V8, the most powerful eight-cylinder in the segment. Across the line, each engine is mated to a fuel-saving electronic six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode. Nothing under the hood or related to tow capability has changed much this time around, so — if you have a favorite — your options have not been altered. They are:
3.5L four-valve Ti-VCT V6 with 302hp at 6,500hp at 6,500 rpm; 278lb.-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm; 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway in 4×2 mode; 6.100 lbs max trailer tow — all best in class vs competition according to Ford.
5.0L four-valve dual overhead dual overhead camshaft Ti-VCT V 8 with 360hp at 5,500 rpm; 15 mpg city (best in class) and 21 mpg highway in 4×2 mode; 10,000 lbs max towing — again with Ford bragging best in class
6.2L two-valve single overhead camshaft V8 with 411hp at 5,500 rpm; 434lb.–ft of torque at 4,500 rpm; 13 mpg city and 18 mpg in 4×2 and best in class 11,300 lbs max towing capacity
3.5L Ti-VCT EcoBoost engine with 365 hp at 5,000rpm on regular fuel; 420lb.-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm; up to 90% of peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm; 11,300 lb. max trailer tow; 3,100 lbs payload; and the very impressive 16 mpg city and 22 mpg (4×2) — with Ford again in best of class standing
For all the tech specs (and they are extensive), check out ford.com.