2020 Ford F-150 Review & Buying Guide | Well-rounded diversity

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Need a new work truck for your business? Want a feature-filled, leather-lined luxury truck for whatever you damn well please? How about something in the middle? The 2020 Ford F-150 most definitely has you covered as America's best-selling vehicle returns with the same deep bench of players this year. Particular strong points are its burly-yet-smooth turbo V6 engines, ease of towing, user-friendly tech, and diverse luxury truck offerings. Oh, and there's also the unmatched Raptor for those looking for a truck that can jump the nearby gorge (not recommended).

While the Ram 1500 generally gets our stronger recommendation, the F-150 is a close No. 2 pick. It's hard to imagine being disappointed in a truck that finds oh-so-many happy homes and work sites every year.

What's new for 2020?

Just some minor features availability updates for 2020. The diesel V6 engine is now available on the XLT, while the Ford Co-Pilot360 driver assistance tech now comes standard on the Lariat and other higher F-150 trim levels. An STX Sport Appearance package debuts on the XL, while a Black Appearance package becomes available on the XLT and Lariat.

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What's the interior and in-car technology like?

The 2020 Ford F-150 interior ranges broadly in materials and technology throughout its many trims. Straight lines and angles remain all the way to the expensive Limited trim, so the general look is constant — it's just a matter of how much leather and wood (if any) cover up the common plastics. The range-topping King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and Raptor also include special badging inside. Frankly, however, there's only so much luxury you can apply to an F-150 — it's never a Lincoln inside.

While Ford can't match the Ram's optional 12-inch screen, all but the base XL comes standard with a responsive 8-inch touchscreen running the Sync 3 tech interface that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It works well enough, and is probably one of the simpler and cleaner infotainment interfaces out there. It's a big reason to step up to the XLT as the base system of buttons and small screen can be difficult to use.

There's tech beyond infotainment. If you plan on towing, then you'll enjoy the F-150's Trailer Backup Assist that allows you to travel in reverse with a trailer through a simple knob interface on the dash. No more figuring out which way to counterintuitively turn the steering wheel.

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How big is it?

Ford makes the F-150 in three body styles: Regular cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew. The SuperCab with an 8-foot bed is the longest F-150 you can buy, measuring in at 250.5 inches. You'll be sacrificing interior space that way — as in other extended cabs, the back seat's cramped legroom and upright backrest is best suited for occasional short trips. The F-150 SuperCab also utilizes annoying clamshell doors rather than the regular front-hinged doors found on rival extended-cab trucks.

The SuperCrew does have regular doors and obviously provides the most interior room. And like every other full-size pickup, the back seat is immense. If you need more legroom back there, we'll just go ahead and wish your kids' good luck on their basketball careers. The seat itself doesn't have the option of reclining, though, which is an indulgence offered by Ram and the Toyota Tundra.

A full 8-foot bed is available on both the Regular Cab and SuperCab, but a 6.5-foot bed is the largest you can option on the SuperCrew. Ford also boasts the distinctive tailgate assist step (derisively dubbed the "man step" in GM advertisements), which makes getting up and down from the bed an exponentially easier experience — especially if doing so repeatedly. GM and Ram have recently introduced their own tailgate-assistance features, but Ford's remains a good solution.

2019 Ford F-150 Limited
2019 Ford F-150 Limited
2019 Ford F-150 Limited
2019 Ford F-150 Limited

What's the performance and fuel economy?

There is a diverse array of engines available on the 2020 Ford F0150, most of which distinctively rely on turbocharging — or as Ford calls it, "EcoBoost." Nearly every engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The exception is the six-speed auto paired with the base 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Then Ford offers a pair of turbocharged V6s as upgrades. First is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, good for 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Upgrade from that and you get the 3.5-liter EcoBoost that produces 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Raptor and Limited features the high-output 3.5-liter V6 and its whopping 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque.

Ford still offers the 5.0-liter V8 as an engine upgrade for 2020, so those with traditional truck tastes can still opt for max displacement. It produces 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, and comes with automatic stop/start to save fuel. There's also the 3.0-liter V6 "Power Stroke" turbodiesel option that makes 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel economy varies by style, so we'll break it out for you here with some ranges.

  • 3.3-liter V6: 22 mpg (RWD) or 20 mpg (4WD) combined.

  • 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6: 22 mpg (RWD) or 20 mpg (4WD) combined

  • 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6: 19 mpg (RWD) or 18 mpg (4WD) combined

  • HO 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6: 19 mpg (Limited) or 16 mpg (Raptor) combined

  • 5.0-liter V8: 17-19 mpg combined depending on trim and payload option

  • 3.0-liter V6 diesel: 22-25 mpg combined depending on trim and payload option

Towing and payload ratings also vary widely, but the maximum towing capacity is 13,200 pounds (with 3.5-liter EcoBoost), while payload tops out at 3,270 pounds (with 5.0-liter V8).

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What's it like to drive?

The answer to this question changes drastically depending on which F-150 you buy. It could be slow and boring as a 3.3-liter V6 work truck, or have the heart and soul of a Baja racer as the F-150 Raptor.

The ride and handling have been consistently praised since it was last redesigned for 2015. That said, the slow steering is a bit more traditionally truckish than what's in the Ram and Chevrolet Silverado. The ride quality also isn't quite as smooth and controlled as the Ram, which has a class-leading ride. We would specifically urge you to avoid the available 22-inch wheels that make the ride intolerably jarring (though sadly, they're standard on the F-150 Limited).

The F-150's 10-speed automatic shines, downshifting smartly without drawing much attention to itself. The regular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is arguably the engine to get given its smooth, effortless low-end power and impressive towing capability. The high-output version of that engine, though, moves well beyond "capability" into the realm of indulgence and adds a wicked snarl from the unique dual exhaust. It has a profound acceleration advantage over the most powerful Ram 1500. We dig it, but wish it wasn't exclusive to the Raptor and Limited. On the other end of the turbocharged spectrum, the 2.7-liter is surprisingly capable given its small displacement, but its fuel economy has typically disappointed.

As for the diesel option, its power comes on smooth and low, only falling off slightly towards the top of the rev range. It's also impressively quiet. However, its price, so-so fuel economy and lower payload make it a less desirable choice.  

What more can I read about the Ford F-150?

2019 Ford F-150 Limited Review

Our most-recent time in an F-150, we sampled the priciest, swankiest version: the Limited trim. True to bougie form, we took it skiing.

2019 Ford F-150 Limited
2019 Ford F-150 Limited

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor Second Drive Review

Same engine, WAY different character. We also sampled the Raptor last year. 

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2018 Ford F-150 King Ranch Power Stroke Diesel Second Drive 

We put the F-150 and its diesel engine to the test by filling its bed with river rock. You can also read more about the Power Stroke V6 in its first drive review.

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2018 Ford F-150 First Drive 

The F-150 was most recently refreshed for 2018. This highlights the many subtle changes. 

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What features are available and what's the price?

Pricing for the 2020 Ford F-150 starts at $30,090 for a base XL Regular Cab, including the $1,595 destination charge. From there, things can approach $75,000.

To see what extra features come on the XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and Raptor, check out this breakdown of features, specs and local pricing here on Autoblog.

What are its safety equipment and crash ratings?

The 2020 F-150 comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, in addition to its front-side and full-length side curtain airbags. The standard rearview camera also comes with hitch-up assist feature. The Lariat and all the luxury trims add the Ford Co-Pilot360 of safety and driver assistance tech that includes pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning (optional on XLT), and automatic high beams. Adaptive Cruise control is optional on the King Ranch and Platinum, but standard on the Limited.

In government crash tests, the F-150 SuperCrew received the best-possible five-star rating for overall, frontal and side crash tests. The Regular cab and SuperCab got four-star overall and frontal scores, but kept the five-star side crash score. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the F-150 SuperCab and SuperCrew got the best-possible score in all crash tests and for its forward collision prevention system. Its headlights got a "Poor" rating.

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