5 Features Every Pickup Should Have

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We recently drove a 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 from Los Angeles to Phoenix and back for the 2018 Cars.com Full-Size SUV Challenge (coming in April), a round trip of 800 miles. As often happens when you spend a long time in a vehicle, you find several features you don't want to live without. Here are our top 5 favorites from this $60,000 mid-level trim half-ton player.

 

Auto Stop-Start Shutoff

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We understand that all the big pickup truck makers want to deliver fuel-efficient pickups to their customers, but some people might find the auto stop-start function on Ford's super-smart truck transmissions a bit intrusive. That said, what we like about Ford's stop-start feature is that owners can turn it off.

 

Selectable Drive Modes

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Similar in strategy to the multifunction settings on the Ford F-150 Raptor, 2018 F-150s offer several different drive modes, depending on driver preference and road situations. We like this trend because it gives drivers more control over the technology in their pickup. Whether half-ton truck owners will use the Eco mode setting very often is beside the point; they can if they want to. However, having also just driven the 2018 Ford Expedition, we're wondering why the Expedition has seven selectable drive modes and the F-150 only five.

 

Auto Drop Tailgate

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We have to admit tailgates that drop at the push of a button didn't make much sense to us when we first heard about them. How difficult is it to drop your pickup's tailgate with one hand? Well, we used the 2018 Ford F-150 to make several trips to big-box stores and a landscaping warehouse. During those trips, we used the key fob to drop the tailgate at least a dozen times and discovered that we like the feature.

 

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

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We were impressed with how quick and simple it was to pair our cellphone to the Ford F-150's Sync 3 multimedia system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We appreciated how easily we could access and respond to text messages and use our preferred navigation features using simple voice commands. On the negative side, having our cellphone paired to Sync 3 made it difficult to use several F-150 features, such as the onboard nav system. We experienced the same annoyance in the new Expedition as well.

 

More Power Options

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Among the many conveniences the Ford F-150 offers, we liked the variety of available power sources for electronic devices. They included a 115-volt (400-amp) three-prong receptor, a 12-volt receptor and several USB charging outlets for front and rear passengers. To us, that shows Ford is thinking about more than just the people who get behind the wheel.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

Comments

Why should all trucks have those options? That's what drives up prices!

6) Every truck should have a sunroof to let in more sun and get more vitamin D.

They should have a blue oval on the grille for sure.

"$60,000 mid-level trim" is absurd!

And OEMs need to get on-board with the Auto Stop/Start shut-off switch and make it such that when you turn it off it stays off until you press the button again, period. Nothing more annoying than to have to press the button upon every key cycle!

Really?

Typical liberal media to demand features that make no sense for a truck but for a Prius! This is why truck prices are outrageous and out of control and we cannot reduce the weight of trucks because of more nonsense!

My top 5 list is simple:

1) We need less gears! More gears means less long-term reliability and more problems. Keep it simple should apply here!

2) We need more manual transmissions! Drivers in this nation are getting lazier and lazier! This leads to bad habits and inattentive driving and deadlier wrecks! We still kill over 35,000 a year on government roads!

3) Less focus on technology that only benefits urbanites! I am sure business owners may gripe about this but the fact remains, we are not driving a sedan and a truck like any vehicle should not be an extension of the home or business. Bluetooth works just fine, you do not need to run quicken books while you drive! That is how you do not pay attention and kill others! The price would drop nicely!

4) Fuel economy is important, but should never be the top focus or the focus at all. Trucks are meant to do work or go off-road and that means less fuel economy sad to say! If you want fuel economy, buy a Prius or some other small car! I cannot believe how the pickup truck forum talk and water cooler talk has been hijacked by car fuel economy! I do not buy a truck for fuel economy, nor should you! Buy a truck for what you want to do with it or have to!

5) Buy a truck you are going to use and understand its dimensions while driving and parking! Too many people out there buy a full-size truck and never use it for what it is supposed to be used for. These are the folks that drive up the prices demanding stupid shyt and creature comforts instead of practical truck innovations! They want a Camry for a truck!

For example, I have no use for a full-size truck, so I do not buy one and why should I? I buy a mid-sized truck that suits me fine to support our home and our future home in the country. I do not pull trailers but plan to pull a small one for the larger ride mower down the road. I focus on increasing payload to move stuff for the two properties we have and expedition style off-roading. I do not need a full-size truck to fit in or feel better like most out there!

My late X-Runner cost $23,000, my current 2010 4x4 Tacoma cost $25,000 and my daily driver 2016 4x4 Tacoma cost $26,000, both of which have 285/75 & 265/75 tires respectively. Why should we have to pay $45,000 for a mid-sized and your mortgage for a full-size? Think about it, keep it simple folks!

Surprised they allow start-stop switching. Do they get the credit for the mileage if the user can disable it? I"m guessing not.

The tailgate feature reminds me of the first time I had a heated steering wheel. i thought it was a joke until I had one, now I'm hooked.

I also have been very happy with the vehicles I own that have different drive modes. I don't use them much but they do make a difference when you need one.

The issues with the Sync system seem to still linger. The new Explorer I drive for work has some horrible glitches when the phone is hooked up to the apple or android apps. It is very difficult to even access tone controls while in the carplay mode. Very poor design. The GM carplay integration is much better.

These are some pretty cheesy, weak, gingerbread "should haves".

V8
4X4
20's or bigger
Tint

Every pick-up should have the powerful and effecient 6.2 liter with DOD, direct injection, variable valve timing small block Chevy V8 engine. If Diesel is required, then nothing less than the segment leading Druramax will do.

Damn! 115V at 400 Amps, you can run some serious tools on that! LOL

I will substitute the tailgate drop feature for the surround view cameras. Sat in the 2019 Ram 1500 at a local car show and was surprised that almost all of the features were working. The surround view helps eliminate blind spots AND allows you to see cross traffic both in front and behind the truck. No more inching out into cross traffic to see if you can make it!

I think I'd also take some sort of leveling suspension (even if it's just in the rear) to compensate for heavier loads without having stone-stiff springs. I'd swap this feature out with the drive modes mentioned above.

@woopud
That was the funniest thing I read in days!!!
I think they mean 400 watts which according to Ohm would give you 3.47 amps :) too funny. Be cool if it really was 400 amps tho

Damn! 115V at 400 Amps, you can run some serious tools on that! LOL
--------

500kcmil copper wire in the dash to feed the plug. That will add some weight.

A question for Mark. Since this all related to the Ford, and excellent features at that, would it be possible to list the trucks that have these features currently? Or is it just Ford?

-CT

You know, for every one of us who don't want some of those nonsense features, there's 100 saps out there who does. Sucks for us.

You know, for every one of us who don't want some of those nonsense features, there's 100 saps out there who does. Sucks for us.

Stop-start is here and your cars/trucks in the future will have it. If you live out past the end of the paved roads, you'll probably not appreciate it as much as we do in the suburbs.

I find it annoying even though it's seamless and brilliantly designed, in my wife's BMW anyway. I always switch it off and it stays off, till she drives it again. It does not seem to bother her.

On her SUV, you lift your foot off the brake and before you hit the gas pedal the engine has already started and away you go!

I can't wait for trucks to have tailgate drop as standard equipment. I can't believe we lived without it so long. Just makes sense.

I never thought I’d ever use the 115 plugs in my truck - but it actually is super handy for charging cordless tools when you have no other power.

Soon, backup camera's will be standard. I suppose that's why it didn't make the list.

The "Demon's in every corner" side mirror warning on new cars is annoying. Simple mirror adjustment can fix a blind-spot.

If more than one driver uses a vehicle, the driver 1 & 2 button is a must for seat, mirror and peddle settings.

Whatever happened to just the plain accessories we used to get in the trucks? Nowadays the trucks are more like luxury cars/SUV's, etc. I don't require 10 USB ports, plugs, etc in my truck.

As per fuel economy, sure it's good for trailering, hauling, etc. But I'd rather have good old torque and HP for my needs. The population today is getting to spolied and want everything in these trucks, enough is enough.

K.I.S.S. = KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID LOL. Let's go back to basics.

You know what's not standard on the F150, tailgate assist. I open the tailgate like I usually do expecting a nice quiet drop... Nope... it dropped with authority... I'm like wth... 2018 and it's not standard...

"That said, what we like about Ford's stop-start feature is that owners can turn it off."

This is a strange reason to like something. You could have mentioned the possible fuel savings, reduced pollution in town from idling, the extra heavy duty starter and ring gear to handle the extra starts, the increased wear resistance of the internal parts so that the extra starts don't cause extra wear, etc. Actually, most people that I know that have it find it annoying and frequently turn it off. It may grow on them with time.

My two favorite features for the cost on my Lariet are the auto-dimming headlights and the automatic wipers. I feel like those two features really help me to be a safer driver. And by cost, I mean what it cost Ford, not what they sell it for. I feel sure that the sensors for those two items can't be more than a few dollars each. Everything else is already in the vehicle anyway.

For all of you that want cheap trucks, Ford still builds XLs and has some pretty good promotions going on them right now.

I know what EVERY truck should have.............$20,000 off the window sticker!

And I can open my own tailgate!

"Every pick-up should have the powerful and effecient 6.2 liter with DOD, direct injection, variable valve timing small block Chevy V8 engine."

That is a good engine. It is a shame that GM doesn't make it more available.

As usual ford leading the pack on technology and the others just follow. FORD IS THE BEST AND THE BEST NEVER REST!!!! Keep crashing the competition.

As usual ford leading the pack on technology and the others just follow. FORD IS THE BEST AND THE BEST NEVER REST!!!! Keep crashing the competition.

My top 5 list is simple: Posted by: oxi | Feb 21, 2018

1) We need less gears! More gears means less long-term reliability and more problems. Keep it simple should apply here!
---- Disagree. More gears means a smaller engine can do the same amount of work as a larger one, albeit more slowly under load unless it's a turbo. More gears also means less dipping into that turbo for better fuel mileage. (more on that later.)

2) We need more manual transmissions! Drivers in this nation are getting lazier and lazier! This leads to bad habits and inattentive driving and deadlier wrecks! We still kill over 35,000 a year on government roads!
---- Disagree. Manual transmissions are a sport niche today, less effective for managing heavy loads and towing and tendency to "sport around", driving in a negligent and hazardous manner, especially when partnered with high-horsepower engines.

3) Less focus on technology that only benefits urbanites! I am sure business owners may gripe about this but the fact remains, we are not driving a sedan and a truck like any vehicle should not be an extension of the home or business. Bluetooth works just fine, you do not need to run quicken books while you drive! That is how you do not pay attention and kill others! The price would drop nicely!
---- The ONE thing I agree with. However, you ruined your argument's relevance with the mention of Quickbooks. As you stated earlier, keep it simple...

4) Fuel economy is important, but should never be the top focus or the focus at all. Trucks are meant to do work or go off-road and that means less fuel economy sad to say! If you want fuel economy, buy a Prius or some other small car! I cannot believe how the pickup truck forum talk and water cooler talk has been hijacked by car fuel economy! I do not buy a truck for fuel economy, nor should you! Buy a truck for what you want to do with it or have to!
---- I'm glad you don't care that you have to pay $80-$100 for each tank of gas on a weekly basis. I happen to enjoy paying less than $20/week for fuel because of my better fuel economy.

5) Buy a truck you are going to use and understand its dimensions while driving and parking! Too many people out there buy a full-size truck and never use it for what it is supposed to be used for. These are the folks that drive up the prices demanding stupid shyt and creature comforts instead of practical truck innovations! They want a Camry for a truck!
---- Ok, I was wrong; you've now listed TWO things I agree with. Most people don't come anywhere near needing as much truck as they buy. A 25% smaller truck would serve all but the professionals' purposes up to and including towing a decent, family-sized camper. You don't have to buy the biggest and most expensive unless you're just passing airs (and I don't mean passing gas.) Sure, those big, fancy rigs look nice but they are far too large for 99% of typical usage.

Think about it, keep it simple folks!

The plug in is a must. We use it every day to charge batteries while building houses. The stop start in my Ford escape caused it to throw a code and go into limp mode at 5k miles. It did not completely kill the engine before I took off and it sent a crank shaft senor code. Takes longer to take off also because it revs up higher than idle when coming back on.

Well I for one love my remote start...where I live it can get cold on enough winter days to heat my seat/back/mirrors, help clear the windshield and the summers can get quite hot here so nice to have it a bit cool before I get in. Just wish sometimes the steering wheel was heated but no big deal. Gotta love the Okanagan.

I would like F-150 to have a special tone horn just for the Eco-Boost so when we blow the horn everybody will know we have the best

Oxi, you are wrong. It's called capitalism! Make a better widget, sell more, charge more.
No. 1, transmissions are complex but to say needing to be more long term reliable, they have continued to get better decade after decade. It's called advancement.
No. 2, show me how a manual trans will save lives. You can't! If anything it's another reason to take eyes off the road.
3) Less focus on technology that only benefits urbanites!
You must be kidding, you have socialist views...... Don't make things better for everyone, just me!
No.4, it's up to the owner of the vehicle, not you, to determine what is a priority. It CAN be for off road pursuits, not it's made for it! If you buy it use It anyway you like. Again a socialist view from you.
No. 5, understand your vehicle, yes. Use it the way Oxi says it 'Should be used' , wrong!!!!!
So keep it simple, try and do what you want with your money. Don't tell anyone what to do with their money!

I want my truck to have these features

https://workhorse.com/pickup/

POWER and RANGE
460 horsepower
0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds
All-Electric Range
80 miles
Hybrid Range
Unlimited (310 miles per tank)
FUEL ECONOMY
MPGe All Electric Miles
75
MPG with Range-Extender
28 highway, 32 city
SAFETY / COLLISION AVOIDANCE
Extra large front crumple zone
Low center of gravity for improved handling
True all-wheel drive (AWD)
Lane departure warning

If GM dont build it Im buying Workhorse or Tesla

@ecoboost rules

one of my neighbors recently put some real loud hot-rod mufflers on his 2017 F150 ecoboost. Now it sounds like a sewing machine with the volume turned all the way up.

FORD NEED TO CONCENTRATE BUILD A BETTER TRUCK,, AND LESS GADGET

Microsoft stops supporting “outdated” operating systems after a certain period of time. XD, 2000, etc.
think it will be any different with your SYNC system?
The last 5 corporate cars with SYNC have each required multiple reflashes.

@oxi--Agree with 2) and 5) but I might be in the minority. Trucks have become more luxo barges. I have 2 trucks and the one with the roll down windows and the manual transmission gets driven the most.

Wow! if you need an auto tailgate drop you dont need a truck.lol
Who is gunna load your truck for you? The illegal you picked up from home depot. Pathetic

Ford may want to try and reduce its recalls rather than adding more electrical to catch on fire like so many Fords are known for.

The one thing I think every truck should have is the option to not have all this crap. I don't want any of those things on my truck, but I don't mind others having them if that is what they want.

My Favorite option on my truck is easily the 35 gallon tank. Makes it so nice having to stop for gas less often. I'm surprised more people don't mention how nice the larger fuel tanks are.

I have also really been impressed with the tailgate step. I didn't want it on my truck and thought it was a dumb idea but it came with the truck I wanted., Now I definitely wouldn't want a truck without it. I use mine all the time. It really makes loading and unloading the bed SO much easier even for a tall athletic guy like me. Chevy and Ram need to just suck it up and copy Ford already on this one. The Chevy step just isn't nearly as easy to use, but Chevy blew it with the Howie long commercial making fun of it. Eventually they are going to just have to eat crow on that one. It really is a nice feature for those that load the bed regularly.

Guys that use their Ford tailgate step look like little Nancy's. GM's bumper step is 10 times more useful, with zero moving parts, and works with the tailgate up or down as well as with a trailer attached. Face it, Ford looked like a bunch of clowns after they spent ten of millions of dollars to develop that over-engineered man-step, only to get completely embarrassed by a simple plastic step molded into the bumper.

The last thing manufacturers need to read is that pickups need MORE standard features. Consider this...Ford's F- Series average ticket price was announced last Fall, and Ford was braging to their investors that it was at or about $44,000; F150 tops out around $65K and Super Duty, around $100K. However, even before considering any available incentives, one can purchase an F150 for around $29K. Super Duty starts less than $35K. So most of the must-have list on here has little to do with making a truck a better or more usable tool, but every item on here would certainly raise that base price, and every item listed on here would bring in higher margin for the manufacturer and the dealer, therefore less value for the customer. In 2015, I purchased a brand new F150 that has a twin turbo, 375 peak ft- lb torque, six speed transmission with cruise control, pwr glass, and a few other features like rear camera that are totally unnecessary but came with the lowest package or were standard features. So even as value-laden as my truck was at $27.8K, imagine if all these useless features were added to my great work truck that has plenty of performance and utility and reasonable comfort better mpg than most truck brands of even smaller trucks; and absolutely the segment leader with respect to full size category. What other full size truck can one drive with full size duty and 24 real world mpg commuting? Articles like these in other areas is why one now has to now pay to watch television. Please don't mess up value in the truck market with stupid request for stupid stuff.

Guys that use their Ford tailgate step look like little Nancy's. GM's bumper step is 10 times more useful, with zero moving parts, and works with the tailgate up or down as well as with a trailer attached. Face it, Ford looked like a bunch of clowns after they spent ten of millions of dollars to develop that over-engineered man-step, only to get completely embarrassed by a simple plastic step molded into the bumper.
Posted by: HD RamKing

Personally, I am in my mid-fifties with short legs and bad knees. I find the in bumper step to be nearly useless. However, if I could get a truck built the exactly the way I like it the truck would feature the Ford's tailgate step, Chevy's bumper step and Ram's air suspension with the lowering feature. Why is that not possible? Ford should offer the bumper steps as they probably cost nearly nothing and offer a useful option when the tailgate step cannot be deployed.

"I want my truck to have these features

https://workhorse.com/pickup/

POWER and RANGE
460 horsepower
0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds
If GM dont build it Im buying Workhorse or Tesla
Posted by: Chevrolet builds a better way to see the USA

That is a good option if you don't pull a heavy trailer. If someone figures out how build an affordable truck like this with a 12,000lb tow rating I will take a good look at it.

This all goes back to the previous article and how I stated that TRUCKS aren't being used as TRUCKS anymore, but more as family haulers!!! So many urban dwellers are buying crew cab trucks bc of all these features, which has killed the consumer bc the prices have sky rocketed and the companies are cashing in!!! I can't tell you how many soccer moms I see driving Denali's, Limited/Platinum crew cabs in good old suburbia Midwest.

Its the same thing for minivans....no one buys minivans anymore bc the Full size SUV's and crossovers have taken over the market. have any of you seen the prices of an Escalade $100K, Denali $85K, Navigator $85k and Suburban $75K and New Expedition $65K....Now those are the top tier but still, this is getting completely out of hand. I bought my wife a fully loaded SLT Terrain, and I got fully loaded SLT premium plus Sierra for less money than a Yukon Denali XL that we wanted to buy, until I saw the price tag! Absolutely absurd!!!

@hdram king
I find the step very handy on my 18 SD which I swear is 4ft off the ground. Agree it cannot be used when my TT is hooked up. Is the name calling really necessary or are you just a kid? Adults don’t typically behave that way unless there is an underlying inferiority complex.

It seems very likely to me that eventually all truck manufacturers will have a tailgate step option similar to what Ford has. If you don't think it is a good idea it is simply because you haven't had one available to use very much or you don't put things in your bed very much. It took me a while to start using mine and now I use it at least on a weekly basis, but I do load my bed a lot more than most. I'm sure there are a lot of truck people now that see it as a major selling point, and there will only be more as more people experience using it.

A few weeks ago I sold some metal parts to a guy. He backed up to my shop and immediately put his tailgate step down. He mentioned how much he loves the step and would never own a truck without it. The thing that has surprised me is how strong and sturdy it is and how easily you can deploy it. Literally takes about two seconds. I have a dog that is 12 years old and he can't get in the truck without the step.

The ridiculous thing was that Chevy reacted the way HDramking did. Making a commercial to make fun of the man step looks childish and it also makes anybody that has used it feel like Chevy is totally out of touch with what people actually need on their truck. That commercial probably did more harm than good for Chevy.

Ram need to just suck it up and copy Ford"
Posted by: Beebe | Feb 22, 2018 1:28:40 AM

RAM as already had a step. Your not gunna find it in your Ford brochure. lol

https://moparonlineparts.com/1500-step-p-2667.html

@ Beebe

The step that Ford has is nice in the tailgate, but I think your missing the point that some are saying. It is useless if you have a trailer!! The Step GM has in each side of the bumper is a better innovation because it can used with or without a trailer. Plus, there are no moving parts, which means nothing will wear down!

To me the should haves:
Auto or electronically adjustable headlights, unless there's rear air suspension;
Available full-time AWD systems- not some wonky auto-4 garbage. Every t-case vendor offers one.
Available power tailgate lock and connection for truck-cap lock.
Spare 1-DIN slot with 12VDC power for adding 2-way radios.
Optional upfitter switches-

Actually owning a Ford with a tailgate step it is handy, appears well made - I get it - a step in the bumper is simpler - but then you have - a step in the bumper which I know some GM guys don’t like. When my trailer is hooked up I step on the hitch so it’s not really that big a deal. The current generation step is better than Fords first generation - everting is hidden in the gate. Another downside - the gate is heavy. If you don’t have or add the cushioned opening it can slam open. It’s it as simple as GM - no. Is it better and worse - yes and yes. I personally like it



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