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
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
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
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
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
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