Part Two of Horsepower & Heels’ Ford F-150 Adventure Series
The F-150 has been put through its paces from concept through production, along with an impressive several million mile road testing across the country in all of the elements.
As part of my special media launch, we were invited to test the new F-150 against the competition: Toyota’s Tundra, Chevrolet’s Silverado, Dodge’s Ram. Ford set up 4 of their testing sites for us to drive not only the new F-150, but also each of the competition’s vehicles.
We first watched a demo of the grueling Silver Creek 1 by one of the professional drivers. The course is so punishing that drivers can only attempt the course 4 times in a work day because of the physical beatings taken. Videos played before the demo showed the F-150 along side of each of the competitors. Its amazing what the films showed in slow motion: the amount of frame and body flex in the beds, the movement laterally by the axles bouncing, the handling and control (or lack thereof) in each truck.
My first test vehicle on this event was the Toyota Tundra. The amount of flex in the C-style frame versus Ford’s Boxed Frame is very noticeable in the course. The whole truck was difficult to control, and performed the worst of this test. My 2nd vehicle was the Silverado. Though it did not handle as smooth as the F-150, it was at least in control and not as severe in frame vibration and flexing. Driving the F-150, you can tell the amount of refinement that went into the truck helps immensely in driver comfort through such a test, as well as its very controlled, straight on track handling of the conditions. Leaving off with the Dodge, who challenges the tried and true leaf-spring suspension with coil springs, it is surprising the lack of control in the situation. Ford 150 takes the win here, with Dodge Ram getting the low grade.
All bias aside, it is clear why Ford is leader in the class on the light duty pickup with F-150. It outshines its competitors not only in utility and safety, but also in refinement and durability. The 2009 has been nicknamed the “Toughest Truck” as a progression from the previous models of “tough” and “tougher”. Its easy to see why Ford enthusiasts are loyal to their trucks. Driving the competition against the truck, you could really see its strengths, I only wish they offered these testing events nearby dealerships, so you could really make an informed decision before you buy.