I have a confession. As an automotive journalist, for over ten years now, I didn’t fully appreciate trucks. I have never ‘needed’ one. I borrowed one from a friend when I had to move, but that was about it.
This summer, though, that all changed. I bought myself a travel trailer. In order to get the most enjoyment out of it, I have been forced to look more deeply into the world of trucks.
And by no means is this a bad thing. In fact, it is quite the opposite! I have a solid understanding of what the numbers mean and how they all work together: payload, towing capacity, GVWR, horsepower etc. However, until I actually put these vehicles to work, the numbers are just numbers.
Towing’s also about the feeling you get while behind the wheel.
Being in this industry has given me the foundation needed to pursue the RV lifestyle. However, after reading blogs, joining Facebook groups and reading posts in several truck forums I have realized that trucks are a segment all to their own.
Truck guys love their trucks and are not afraid to let people know. For a lot of owners, your vehicle is your entire life. The truck you need for work also has to act as a family vehicle when the day is over. It has to be comfortable for everyone inside and capable of handling some big tasks.
If you are one of the lucky ones that also has a boat or recreational vehicle, it needs to be all these things 24/7 – 365 days a year.
The best selling vehicle in Canada is a truck. Not a car or SUV. A truck. Something that should have been more on my radar when I’d been reviewing vehicles for work the last ten years.
I am happy to say that my first tow vehicle is going to be a Ford F-150. This is the truck that has been the best selling vehicle in Canada for as long I have been reviewing vehicles. I am really looking forward to fully understanding what all the fuss is about. I pick up my trailer and head out to a local RV park for a bit of a getaway. This is my first trip out!
The first official tow vehicle for my RV is the 13th generation F-150. If you don’t already know, the F-series trucks have been in production since 1948. It gives me great joy to know I am finally going to use this truck as it was intended to be used.
A 2019 Pace Red F-150 Supercrew in the Lariat trim, it has the 20-inch wheels and looks incredible. It is the familiar Ford grille painted in the same colour as the body that gives it such an imposing appearance.
Getting away from the chrome cladding is unique. And, with so many of these trucks on the road, this is a good thing. This red makes it pop. If you want something more subdued, there are several more color choices ranging from shades of grey as well as additional hues of red and blue.
I would like to see better use of materials inside the cabin. Ford uses a lot of inexpensive looking hard plastic and it is not very appealing. However, I realize that durability might be more important for some people who are looking at a vehicle like this.
Guys who mostly just work with their truck won’t care too much. Functionality will beat out aesthetics. If you also use your vehicle for family fun on top of being a workhorse; this is something to keep in mind.
While I parked it next to my travel trailer, this truck got a lot of attention. I thought it was because of its bright red paint, but I was wrong. Most people approached me to inquire about its performance and capability.
You see, this Ford F-150 is equipped with the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 engine. An engine that has been designed to be both capable and efficient. This type of technology has been around for many years. So I am surprised to learn that words like ‘rugged’, ‘payload’, ‘max towing’ are still not synonymous with words like efficient.
Pick up trucks in the past rely heavily on bigger V6 and V8 engines. Loud, aggressive gas-guzzlers. The truck guys in this RV park are old school; large displacement engines line the driveways.
Times are changing. This industry as a whole is changing. I am quick to tell them not to judge a book by its cover. More specifically, don’t judge an engine just by its label alone. This engine has 325hp and 400lb-ft of torque. Depending on the cab configuration, rear axle ratio, and towing package, it is rated to tow 7,500-9,000lbs.
Ford includes the concept of “specific output” as an important attribute when looking at getting into a truck. Simply put, divide the horsepower by the displacement to get the specific output for an engine.
Take a look at Fords 5.0L naturally aspirated V8. It has a specific output of only 78hp per litre. Compare that number to this heavily revised 2.7L twin turbo Ecoboost V6. Weighing in with an impressive output of 121hp/L.
Towing my RV, I now know first hand the importance of torque when it comes to this task. With 325hp and 400lb-ft torque, the numbers are impressive. Peak torque with this engine is reached at 2,750rpm. This is the same peak torque found in Fords new 5.0L V8 and it’s more torque than the GMs 5.3L V8.
This F-150 Supercrew has the 3.55 rear axle and the tow package. It is rated to tow up to 7600lbs. I stopped at a truck scale to make sure I was not overweight with my trailer. Fully loaded, even with liquids, she sits at 6,330lb. I am a solo traveler, unless you count my small dog Jasper. When it comes to adding weight and looking at payload, I don’t personally have much else that will affect these numbers.
In the cab of the truck is Jasper, myself, and a cooler with food. Having your family along and possibly other toys in the truck bed will make numbers a lot tighter.
Pushing a truck to its limit is a huge no go. You don’t want to put your family at risk or damage any part of your vehicle.
And keep in mind as well, even if it is safely within the number, maxing out your truck means the engine will end up working harder. A harder working vehicle goes against the idea of being efficient.
Second to its capability, I need my truck to be comfortable. My love for adventure and road trips will have me spending six plus hours behind the wheel. It is important for me to have more than just the basic creature comforts.
This truck, in the Lariat trim, has some attractive features like heated, leather seats front and rear, voice activated navigation, and Pro Trailer Back Up Assist.
Speaking of comfort, the seat bottoms on this truck are firm and too short for me. After only a few hours behind the wheel I was sore and my lower back was aching, even though I had power adjustable seats and pedals. I could not manage to find the sweet spot for my body.
Most people are not towing 24/7 so you need to decide what is priority. Taking this truck to work and running errands on the weekend, a capable and efficient engine like this 2.7L will perform perfectly.
After several debates and strong opinions from other truck guys. I stand by my opinion that this engine is enough to get the job that I personally need it to do done.
I hear you when you when you say a one-ton could be a better choice. But that means getting into a higher price range on a truck that could possible end up being more truck than you need for your daily driver.
The F150 in the Lariat trim is close to $41,500 and the 350 in the same trim is just over $59,000.
It is important to match the truck and the engine not just to the item you are towing but to your driving routine. If you are only taking your toys out a few times a year, then day-to-day functionality and efficiency takes priority.
If I didn’t mention it earlier, the personal intention for my RV is to live in it for more than half the year. I would like to plan to move around every few weeks. With that possible reality for me in the future; if I had to purchase a truck, a Ford Super Duty could be a better choice.
I have a tough job, I know. I am going to reach out to Ford and request to check out another truck next year.
For now, to get my trailer out for a fun weekend; this is the perfect configuration for me. The numbers don’t lie and the engine output on this vehicle is impressive.
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