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When Ford Philippines announced a few weeks ago that they would be introducing an F150 model to the local market, many suspected that it would still be the previous model as an all-new generation F150 was slated to be unveiled a few days after the local unveiling. It didn’t make sense for the Philippines to get an all-new model unveiling ahead of the global launch. And the hunch was correct.

In fairness to Ford PH, the local launch was long-delayed as it was supposed to take prime spot at the cancelled MIAS (Manila International Auto Show) 2020 at World Trade Centre. Of course we all know COVID19 happened and this threw a spanner in the well-oiled plans of Ford PH. 

Latest or not, the F150 they’re offering is a very impressive piece of kit. Yes, I’ll be honest to say it is simply massive: at 5,890mm in length, 2,029mm wide,  1,960mm tall and with a wheelbase of 3,683mm, the F150 might as well be a 6-wheeled Asian medium duty fleet delivery truck requiring a Professional Driver’s License. Actually, it might be even bigger. The rest of the numbers are staggering, particularly the towing capacity of 5,987kg (13,200lbs), the 375hp output from the 3.5 liter twin turbo EcoBoost V6 together with 637 Newton-Meters of torque, driving the rear wheels (or all, for the Platinum variant) through a 10-speed automatic transmission with buttery smooth shifts on cruise, the F150 has what it takes to win the Top Trumps card game, pick-up edition in the Philippines. The only thing modest is it’s surprisingly low bed payload capacity of 1,048kg, comparable to the smaller Ranger and its Asian pick-up competitors. It actually looks good too, the slab sides conveying a real feeling of strength and stability coupled with that in-yer-face, uhm, face. That bold fascia is excusable and is perfectly in keeping with the F150’s cowboy character  

The F150 is also a very safe truck. It comes with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360, a suite of active driver assistance safety systems which include Pre-Collision Assistant with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keeping Assist and Automatic High Beam Adjustment. Of course you also get ABS brakes, Advance-Trac traction / stability control and roll-over stability control and mitigation. Six dual-stage airbags come as standard, and the Platinum 4X4 variant even comes with inflating rear seatbelts which add a further layer of crash protection. 

Inside, you get Ford’s latest Sync3 mobile telephony / integration with Apple CarPlay making phone syncing easy as connecting the plug. Spotify and Waze are a breeze, making driving even more pleasant. The seats adjust 12-ways for the driver, there’s reach and rake steering wheel adjustment and the pedal box assembly moves fore and aft, giving you a very wide range of seating adjustment. Anyone from a 5-foot tall Asian woman to a 7-foot tall 300lbs UFC heavyweight fighter can easily find a comfortable and ideal driving position in the F150. Multi-Zone A/C, numerous cupholders, multiple USB sockets, a large LCD screen which displays a bird’s eye-view, plus dedicated front and rear camera angles, all covered in leather and soft-touch plastics with chrome contrasting accents means the F150 feels very luxurious.   

In city driving, you have no choice but to constantly yield to other vehicles, motorcyclists and bicyclists as the F150 seems to spill out of its lane, making progress slow and tedious. A city car this most definitely is not. Patience is rewarded when open roads beckon. The F150 feels right at home on the expressways, bereft of such motorcycles, pedestrians and bicyclists. You slowly feel comfortable and start trusting the F150;s surprisingly athletic prowess. The twin Borg-Warner KO3 equipped 3.5 V6 EcoBoost, mated to the 10-speed automatic transmission makes for a very responsive truck, you’ll be caught out by surprise! It feels like a massive jumbo jet suddenly opening the taps and unleashing full thrust, you have to be confident you’re ready to tame this beast!

Thankfully, the electric power steering, though light, is a good match. It’s not brimming with feel, to be honest, but accurate enough for you to place your faith in, knowing what the wheels and tires are doing. The brakes are equally capable of retarding massive speed (and mass) consistently, and the well-sorted suspension manages weight transfer well. Twenty years ago, these things would have been nigh impossible when the first F150’s landed in the country. Technology does indeed improve the breed. Fuel economy in the city was an expectable but still decent 4.2 kilometer per liter through heavy traffic. On the highway, I got just a shade under 10km/liter, the engine humming gently at 1,200-1,300rpm while cruising at 100km/h. With more miles, these figures should improve.

I posted some photos of the F150 on social media and people took interest, particularly friends in the US aftermarket / car tuning and modifying scene. A few of them drive the same F150 for towing race cars and hauling car parts. A few of them are modified, and a close friend says he has tuned one to almost 500hp. That is just amazing.

The F150 is definitely not for everyone, is not suited for everyone, and most rational people will balk at the fuel consumption, especially since diesel pick-ups cost far less, and can haul the same cargo capacity with a smaller over-all footprint. But buying the F150 here in the Philippines is about passion, about having a predilection for all things big and American and enjoying the open country while carrying / bringing everything imaginable and everyone in the family with you. Size aside, the F150 is very capable, very comfortable, very versatile and is packed with technology that makes even luxury brands seem under-spec’d. Nothing else represents the conservative American working-class values, filled with great value-for-money than the F150.