Pickup Truck Luxury By Any Measure

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2019 Ford F-150 Limited

It is easy to dismiss this particular pickup truck.

The large aluminum wheels and lower profile tires never amount to a smooth ride, even with a load in the box. The amount of leather and chrome leads to something pretentious that never end up well when parked alongside more humble pickup trucks. It is as you spent too much money for something that is designed for work and serious play.

Then, you break it down.

It is a 2019 Ford F-150 after all. The best-selling vehicle in the USA for 40-plus years. Made of rolled steel underneath and military-grade aluminum on top of it.

Damnit, it is a Ford F-150. So, what's the problem?

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This is the top-of-the-line, the Limited. It is as much luxury you can get in a pickup truck. That is, if you set the GMC Sierra Denali aside for the moment.

The F-150 Limited might be akin to the Lincoln Mark LT that was once built on the previous generation of Ford's best-selling vehicle for the past 42 years. Yet, there is nothing Lincoln about this pickup truck. Just as one would say that there is nothing Cadillac about the GMC Sierra Denali.

By measuring up the luxury of a pickup truck diminishes the purpose of owning one. Ponder that idea for a moment.

The truck itself is a SuperCrew cab with a 5-1/2-foot box. This is the most common configuration sold via retail of a selection of cabs and boxes available across the range. However, Ford only offers the Limited in the SuperCrew and the 5-1/2-foot box. Somehow, a SuperCab would not work well with this trim level.

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Earlier, I mentioned the wheel/tire combination on the F-150 Limited. Critics will tell that the larger the wheel, the less the ride will feel laden and unladen. Twenty-inch wheels are now becoming commonplace, despite the backlash against them. Truck people will tell that an 18-inch wheel is ideal for all situations. Ford decided to raise the ante to install a set of chromed 22-inch wheels on the F-150 Limited with 45-aspect Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. For a bit of perspective, the reigning #VOTY18 wore 21-inch wheels.

 However, it does one special piece of engineering material that makes this luxury pickup stand out even more than its exclusive grille and badging. Open up the hood and you are greeted with a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. You're probably thinking you can get that engine in every F-150.? Sure, except for one little piece of information: It has 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. This is no ordinary 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine. This engine also appears in the F-150 Raptor.

What I have here is a luxury pickup truck with RAPTOR POWER! Which is really a Godsend, if you ask me. We often wondered if we can get everything we want in our vehicles with the maximum comfort, luxury, technology, safety, and performance. What do we get? Something very expensive, but very desirable.

The Ford F-150 is not exactly as desirable as, say, a Rolls-Royce Cullinan or a Lamborghini Huracan Evolution. It is the best-selling vehicle in this country and the choice of those who work and play with a pickup truck. A SuperCrew version easily dwarfs either the Rolls-Royce or the Lamborghini easily. One can say that the true strength of an F-150 is in its presence.

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This is the advantage of the F-150 Limited. It is not just the presence that it takes its place on Ford's half-ton full-size pickup truck mantle. Add the distinctive grille texture, including the slot inside of the center bar that runs from headlight to headlight. Add the Limited badging, those 22-inch wheels, and chrome tailgate applique. Add the monochrome paint job that also covers both front and rear bumpers.

The reason one selects a luxury pickup truck is what it offers inside. Again, you do not expect an interior comparable to a Lincoln. The front seats taper towards your shoulders. Broad shouldered folks may want to sit first before you consider one. However, my recent (rapid) weight loss helped in getting me comfortable behind the wheel. The cushion fits me well, as does the "meat" of the seatback. Rear seat room is excellent.

The F-150 offers consistency rather than differentiation when it comes to the instrument panel. One may argue that they wanted something special for the Limited, such as luxury graphics in the instrument binnacle. You do get a "Limited" on one of the big dials. However, driving several trim levels of F-150s offer plenty of continuity in terms of what readouts in the center information screen to use and which gauges to watch for on top of the screen.

The center stack houses the SYNC 3-driven infotainment screen. One thing I noticed is that Ford has limited the number of radio presets to 12 from 15. Quite curious, as I have more than 12 SiriusXM stations I love to listen to. But, that's just my nitpicking self. I love the B&O Play (driven by Harman) speaker set up and the clarity of playback of radio and music from my phone. And, yes, Apple CarPlay works quite well with SYNC 3.

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About that Raptor engine, let's just say that it turns the F-150 Limited into the ultimate luxury pickup. One could argue for a GMC Sierra Denali equipped with the 6.2-liter V8, but what makes the High Output 3.5-liter EcoBoost stand out is the quick throttle response. If you're getting up hill, onto the highway or passing, this engine is quick. When you're tooling town or cruising on the highway, it is very quiet. There is nothing lazy about this engine.

Add the 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive system, and you have a highly capable pickup truck that just looks like it belongs at a golf course than a home improvement center. Rather, when you consider fuel economy, I actually averaged 18.0 MPG. That is higher than I expected and right up there with the rest of the F-150s I have worked with in the past few years?except for the Raptor.

As I mentioned earlier, I expressed some concerns about the 22-inch chromed alloy wheels and low-profile Pirelli tires in regards to ride quality. Those concerns went away as I noticed that the F-150 Limited rode as smoothly as every other F-150 before it. I was astonished but very pleased to see the result. However, plenty of care is necessary when maneuvering the F-150 Limited in places, such as shopping center parking lots and drive-throughs. It does quite well handling-wise, but I always through caution in the wind when it comes to taking a 232-inch vehicle anywhere you normally go. But, if you're a truck person, don't pay attention to anything I write here.

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I love the steering. The system gives me a soft feel from the wheel, but it is quite responsive on the road. Compared to most pickup trucks, it has a tighter turning radius. Braking is also quite good. The pedal action is spot on with great response down to the wheels. Sometimes, it takes a bit more care to stop a pickup truck. Whether you have a load, a trailer, or just riding empty, take some time to not go hard on the brakes. Just a bit of a tip here for my novice pickup truck consumers.

Let?s talk pricing, but I would suggest sitting down, first. The F-150 Limited starts off with a base price of $67,135. My tester with four-wheel-drive and a few more bells and whistles came with a sticker price of $74,775. For context, the entire F-150 lineup actually starts from a humble $28,455 with seven trim levels, three cabs, three bed lengths, and six engines to choose from.

The current Ford F-150 is a solid pickup truck with an array of capabilities when equipped. I happen to like what I have driven since they introduced this generation with the lighter aluminum body and improved engine lineup. I?ve encountered nothing but positive feedback in terms of drivability and overall comfort behind the wheel.

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The question is whether one should spend over $70,000 on a full-sized half-ton pickup. The idea of a luxury machine with a huge monster engine underneath the hood is tempting, but let's get real for a moment. Commercial customers will likely choose the XL and XLT trims for their fleets or individual vehicles. Retail customers usually select an XLT or Lariat before climbing into the luxury trio of King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Then, you have retail customers with money to spend on a luxury pickup. The Limited is truly tempting for those who want everything a pickup truck has to offer. Or, they could choose a Raptor for the same amount of money.

It's not easy to make a definitive conclusion here. There is one: Don't dismiss the F-150 Limited as an exercise in indulgence. This pickup truck might just surprise you with one drive.

DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by the Ford Motor Company

All Photos by Randy Stern

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