|Ford F-150 4×4
- High-Quality Hide
- Luxurious for a truck
- Solid, reliable performer
- Deals galore can be had on them right now
- Outpowered by competitors
- Four speed automatic with no tow/haul feature
- Heavy (duh)
- Thirsty (double-duh)
Ruling: The F-150 is as functional as a Leatherman and more boring than watching C-SPAN, but at least functional boredom comes in classy Texas-style luxury.
Until the Honda Civic recently de-throned it, for decades, yes decades, the F-150 pickup has been the number one selling vehicle in the good ‘ole US of A. If this statistic comes as a surprise, then you either live on the east coast, the west coast or the lost coast. Heartland America is where the F-150 thrives. Take a trip down to the local diner in Peoria, Illinois sometime. You’ll see pickup beds filled with everything from horse feed to Hemi engine blocks. They range in age and condition from rusty, run-down, Reagan era models to a brand new shiny, speck-free 2008 King Ranch Edition; identical to the one we tested.
The most obvious question first. What and where is the King Ranch? It’s a historic ranch based in Kingville, Texas which has built a legacy on over 150 years of cattle ranching and farming. It also dabbles in hunting, growing citrus and nuts, publishing, selling hardward, making custom saddles and entering into an exclusive relationship with Ford to make a limited production F-150. One of America’s oldest and most famous cattle ranches teaming up with America’s best selling truck – seems like a perfect brand-building relationship.
The first thing you notice with the King Ranch edition are the squiggly line logos emblazoned on everything including the fenders, wheels, tailgate, seats and armrests. The “Running W” King Ranch logo is said to represent one of the ranch’s numerous diamondback rattlesnakes while others say it represents the head of a Texas longhorn bull. Or it could mean that when the road takes the shape of the logo, it’s time to find a different road.
Don’t get us wrong, when compared to other full-size pickups in its class, the F-150 handles pretty well. The King Ranch is equipped with 20″ alloy wheels and 275/65 series Pirelli Scorpion A/T tires, which deliver a quiet road ride and reasonable handling. But in the end, this is hulking mass of a truck to the tune of nearly 5,300 pounds. It isn’t going to handle any roads resembling the logo on the fender without fits of rage and more body roll than an Olympic tumbler.
The 5.4 liter V-8 delivers 300 horsepower and 365 ft. lbs of torque and should be able to tow 9,000 pounds, but with the optional King Ranch 20″ rims and low profile tires, recommended towing capacity is reduced to 5,100. Although they’re acceptable numbers, when compared to the likes of the Tundra and Titan, the F-150 seems outponied. Lacking brawn or not, if the F-150 were to gain any more horses under the hood, without some kind of B.S. fuel-saving technology, it would make its already embarrassing 13 city/17 highway mpg numbers downright abysmal.
Add in the fact that the F-150 is still working with a 4-speed automatic transmission with no tow/haul feature, prospects look even more bleak for the King Ranch F-150. If you’re a die hard Ford guy, and are gonna be buying a truck that will see a lot of hauling duty, there’s a few options here: A) wait until the 2009 F-150 comes out or B) man up and buy a Super Duty F-250.
Ford has an old slogan “Quality is Job #1″, a quip that some Ford owners would beg to differ with. But in the case of the F-150, that has largely held true. As a testament, just take a look around and see how many F-150s there are still on the road. Then take a look at their odometers which read in excess of 200,000 miles. Although it seems that over the years Ford has built most of its products to fall apart after 80,000 miles, the same can’t be said for the F-150. This King Ranch model F-150 is no different. It looks solid, it feels solid, it drives solid; even as we ran it ragged across washboarded dirt roads. Built Ford tough. There’s another one.
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