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F-150 ups bar with engine upgrades, advanced tech

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Because of their ability to tow and haul, full-size trucks are a necessity for those who need a capable vehicle for work or towing. Today’s breed of full-size trucks offer a more comfortable ride, available ultra-luxurious amenities and advanced technologies.

Full-size trucks are so desirable, many consumers choose one over a car, wagon or SUV. Full-size trucks have been outselling cars, and the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 35 years has been the Ford F-Series. Nearly 900,000 units were sold last year, and just over 451,000 units have been sold during the first half of 2018.

Most Popular

Popularity of the F-Series is the result of an excellent reputation, awesome towing and hauling capabilities, attractive styling, wide range of cab and bed configurations, impressive engine choices, variety of trim levels, available luxuries and advanced technologies.

Whether you need a basic work truck, or desire an ultra-luxurious family hauler with all the bells and whistles, the 2018 Ford F-150 has it covered. The F-150 can comfortably accommodate 3 to 6 passengers, depending on which cab you choose. Cab choices include the Regular Cab, SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (crew cab).

Choices Abound

The list of choices also includes three different bed lengths, seven different trim levels, six different engines and two separate automatic transmissions. However, it should be noted that not all cab configurations can be teamed with any bed length, and not all trim levels are offered in every cab or bed configuration.

The F-150 underwent a major redo for the 2015 model year. For 2018, the F-150 gets revised front and rear styling to provide a bolder design theme, an all-new more powerful and fuel-efficient base engine, revisions to improve power and fuel economy from the 2.7-liter V6 and 5.0-L V8 engines, an all-new 3.0-L diesel engine, wider availability of the 10-speed automatic transmission, an all-new B&O Play premium audio system and improvements to its available forward collision mitigation system.

High Tech

The 2018 Ford F-150 can be had with advanced technologies like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, 4G Wi-Fi hot spot for up to 10 mobile devices, SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 360-degree camera, lane-keeping system, a blind-spot system that can account for a trailer up to 33-feet in length, and a clever trailer backup assist system that lets the driver backup a trailer like a pro by simply twisting a dash-mounted rotary switch left or right in the direction they want the trailer to go.

Platinum Plush

I recently tested a well-equipped 2018 Ford F-150 4×4 SuperCrew Platinum. The Platinum is actually one trim level below the top-of-the-line Limited model, but it is quite plush and luxurious.

The SuperCrew cab is spacious up front and in the rear. Rear seat passengers can really stretch their legs out. Other than the step up/down and the challenge when parking this rig, it feels more car-like than you might imagine.

My tester’s 5.0-L V8 engine provided plenty of power, yet it was rated for 22 mpg on the highway. The 10-speed automatic transmission provides several drive modes (normal, tow/haul, snow/wet, eco-select and sport) but its upshifting and downshifting was more noticeable at boulevard speeds than I prefer.

When properly equipped, the F-150 is capable of towing up to 13,200-lbs. and offers a maximum payload capacity of 3,270-lbs. The F-150 is quite capable and extremely likable. Take one for a drive and you are likely to appreciate why it is so popular.

Pricing for the 2018 Ford F-150 starts at about $28,000 for a basic Regular Cab model, while a top-of-the-line SuperCrew Cab Limited edition costs north of $60,000.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication