“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence

Once, there was a man who installed TVs for a living. He owned his own company and had his own employees. Business was good. Since he started his business, he worked out of a 1999 Ford E-150 in Gold. He did this for years. Always working, always installing. One day, he looks at his van and says, to no one in particular: “You know what? Business has been good! I think I need a new van.”

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The man then goes and buys a brand new Transit in White Gold. It’s fully loaded, with alloy wheels, a navigation system, and even leather. The man is happy. He feels accomplished. He works out of the van for a few weeks, with the new van being more than capable of handling the work of carrying TVs. That is until the van starts blowing hot air.

“What?” the man screams. “You can’t be blowing hot air! This is Texas! And it’s December! I can’t work like this!” he shouts.

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The man brings the Transit back to the dealer. He tells them the problem, the dealer replaces the compressor free of charge and sends him on his way. Not even a mile down the road from the dealership, the van starts blowing hot air. The man is enraged. He brings it back to the dealer and screams that they didn’t fix it. The dealer takes the van back, and sends the man home with a truck for the time being. They keep the van for a month. Finally, the dealer calls the man and says that they have fixed the A/C issue. The man is overjoyed. “Finally! I can work out of my new van again!”

The man retrieves the van and is sent on his merry way. The man starts driving away from the dealer and is elated. “It’s so good to have the van back! And blowing cold air! In February!”

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The van greets the man’s joy by responding with hot air.

The man stops. He starts turning red. His hands shake. And with almost a primal roar screams to the van: “THAT’S IT!”

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The man drives across town in the slight discomfort of the cool morning air and arrives at a cliff. The man says to the van “You deserve this.” before aiming the van at the cliff’s edge and putting a brick on the gas pedal. He jumps out and watches as the van careens off the cliff into the wilderness below. Satisfied, the man begins to call a taxi when he realizes, he didn’t hear the van collide with the bottom. He peers over the cliff and finds no trace of the van.

“Huh?” the man says. He’s puzzled. There’s no wreckage. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Regardless, the man shrugs his shoulders, and waits for his taxi.

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(Full Disclosure: Ford wanted me to drive this truck so bad that I asked my dad to borrow his truck for this review. I don’t get press cars. It has almost 20,000 miles on it and is used as a work and personal vehicle.)

What is it?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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The F150 King Ranch is one of the 3 top-of-the-line F150s you can purchase besides the Raptor. The others being the Platinum and Limited. So what do you get vs your regular proletariat F-150? Why you get heated, cooled and massaging leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree camera, an 8-inch display that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, motorized running boards, stitched soft plastic on the dash, and a panoramic sunroof among other things. It’s the fully loaded baked potato you’re imagining.

What’s it like to drive?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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It drives like a truck. Despite the fucking thing being almost 70,000 dollars, it doesn’t have fancy air suspension or even coil springs in the back. It has a regular independent front suspension set up out front and leaf springs in the back. It’s alright. It’ll do what you ask it to do.

The engine, however, is a little more special. You can get your F150 in multiple flavors: a naturally aspirated V6, 2 turbo V6s, a turbodiesel V6, or a dual overhead cam V8. This particular F150 has the 3.5L twin-turbo V6. Does it get better gas mileage than the V8? At a combined 18 miles per gallon, no. Not particularly. But it makes fun woosh noises when you press the go pedal! And it’s decently quick: 60 miles per hour from a dead stop arrives in the mid to low 6 second range. That’s pretty fast for a truck that weighs around 5000 pounds.

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Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence

Speaking of speed, if you get the V8, the 3.5L V6 Turbo, or the Turbo Diesel, you get the 10 speed automatic. Which is alright. It’s fine. It has multiple modes to choose from, like Normal, Tow, Snow/Wet, Sport, and Eco. Personally, I’ve felt the need to have the truck in sport all the time because the transmission can’t make up its mind about what gear it wants to be in otherwise. Does it want to be in 8th? 7th? 9th? 8th again? Who knows.

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Now, does it waste gas to be in sport mode all the time? Sure. But let’s be honest: you were never gonna see good gas mileage anyway.

Is it a good daily?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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Yes. Undoubtedly, indubitably, yes. It’s comfortable, dependable, and practical.

If you get the crew cab it’ll fit anyone without question. The trunk can be optioned with a cover so it can swallow tons of stuff and keep it from prying eyes. There’s a reason it’s one of, if not the best selling car in America. It’s good at what it does.

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Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence

Is it particularly fun? No. Not really. But that’s not the point. It’s an unabashedly American car for the American people. And sometimes you don’t need fun. Sometimes you just need something that’s comfortable that gets you to work every morning. And that’s fine.

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Is it a good work truck?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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It really depends on what you do for work. I can only offer my experience which is: no. It’s not. I work with TVs for a living. I install them and I repair them. I’ve been doing it for years. My father used to own a van. But he replaced it with this. And I miss that van every damn day.

We used to be able to fit 80 inch TVs in the back no problem. It did its job very well. But this truck can’t. It can barely fit a 60 inch. So he had to hire another employee with a vehicle that could fit 80 inch TVs in the back. Now some of you might say “Why didn’t he get the 6 foot bed instead of the 5 foot?” And that’s a very good point! He could have! But he didn’t.

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He replaced a perfectly good van for a 70,000 dollar truck that can’t get the job done.

Here’s the window sticker showing just how many unnecessary things were added
Here’s the window sticker showing just how many unnecessary things were added
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And for what? Massaging seats that are never used? 4 wheel drive that has never been engaged apart from when I put the truck in 4 low in some gravel just for the heck of it? A heavy duty towing package even though we’ve never needed to tow anything? A panoramic sunroof that never gets opened up? An off road package complete with skid plates even though the most the truck has seen or probably will see is some light gravel?

Here’s a nice off road trail that this truck has never touched
Here’s a nice off road trail that this truck has never touched
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I’m very sure that in other applications this truck would actually fair very well vs a van. Hell, an extended cab or regular cab with a long bed and a topper could have done this job just fine. But this truck isn’t any of those. This truck barely manages to do the thing it was created for: work. And that’s a damn waste.

Community questions

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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Now, I asked a lot of you what questions you’d like answered for this review, and ya’ll delivered. Here are some of your questions, answered.

Does it make you feel like the king of a ranch? How’s the Ecoboost? I’ve heard they can get good fuel economy, but it’s so easy and addicting to get into boost that it doesn’t happen in reality.

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Correct. Over the course of driving this truck for work and some personal use I’ve only managed to eek out around 19 mpg combined. I’m sure that if you kept off boost you could get way better MPG, but your mileage may vary.

And it depends on how you would use this truck. As a daily driver? Oh yeah, sure: You feel like a big man. But when I try and work out of this thing, it makes me feel like a newbie who brought the wrong tool for the job.

Are the headlights any good? an XLT I rented had horrible lights.

These are the upgraded headlights so they light up the road well enough, but unfortunately they create excessive glare and aren’t great around corners, per the IIHS:

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(Thank you to commenter 7:07 for the source!)

Why is it so big? Or, rather, with a hood line that comes up to my nipples, do you have problems seeing thing like parking poles, other cars, children, adults, aircraft carriers, or small moons?

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American tastes along with vehicle safety standards have changed over time and has resulted in vehicles becoming much bigger than yesteryear. And yes, in some parking scenarios, the 360-degree camera becomes mandatory to steer this beast in.

Does it still feel like a $30k truck?

Yes. Even with all the fancy leather and bells and whistles, this thing still feels like a $30K truck with $40K worth of add ons. It may be quiet and the leather may be comfortable, but there’s still plenty of plastic around the cabin and the back still bounces with the bed unladen. For 70K, there’s plenty of other vehicles out there that feel like they’re worth every penny.

How many frozen burritos fit in the glove box?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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At least 12.

Is the King Ranch the best trim level (Raptor excluded)? I tend to think so.

Actually, I’d tend to give that title to the Limited trim, since it’s the only trim among the normal F-150s that can equip the Raptor’s High Output 3.5L V6 that’s good for 450 horsepower and 500 pounds of torque. If you don’t count that particular little detail, then the Platinum, King Ranch and Limited are very similar, and I couldn’t really pick one as “the best.”

Do you prefer it to the King Italian or King Thousand Island?

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence
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Yes.

Is it worth it?

It really, really depends on you want to accomplish with this truck. If you’re just a supervisor going around a job site and doing some occasional things, or perhaps you’re a father or mother and work for a living. Then sure. By all means, it’s a great truck. But my own experience, it’s nothing but a reminder that sometimes, things that are expensive are worse.

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And that reminds me of a joke.

3 men are standing in line at the pearly gates. In front of the gates is a large desk, a executive’s chair behind it and a humble wooden seat in front. Seemingly out of nowhere, God appears in front of the 3 men and exasperatedly sighs to the first man: “Take a seat.”

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The first man takes a seat in front of God. God pulls up a briefcase and pulls out a small manilla folder. “So Brett, what have you done with my gift of life?” asks God. “I used my gift and killed a family in a street race.” says the first man. “Holy shit, are you serious?” God says. “Nope, you don’t even deserve further review. Get out of my sight.” And with a snap of his fingers, the first man is gone; Sent straight to hell.

“Next.” God sighs. He pulls out another manilla folder. The second man walks up. “And what have you done with my gift of life?” Gods asks the second man. The second man says to God: “I’m the man who started the crossover craze.”

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“Woah, that’s a lot. You don’t deserve hell, but you deserve to think about what you’ve done for a long time.” And with a snap of his fingers, God sends the second man to Purgatory.

It’s almost the end of the day. Last one. “Next.” says God. The third man walks up snd takes a seat. God rests his face on his hand and asks “So what have you done?”

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The third man beams. “Well, I started a family, and I ran a successful business. I left my children and wife well taken care of. I think I’ve done some good in my life.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.” God says firmly. He goes to pull out the man’s folder but, to his surprise, pulls up nothing. “Huh. Um. I’m sorry, this almost never happens. I don’t appear to have your folder. I don’t know who you are.”

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The third man smiles.

“Who are you?” God asks.

“I’m the man who threw the van off the cliff.” the third man replies.

Suddenly, there’s a sound. A sound of something falling. God looks up to see a White Gold Ford Transit barreling towards him. Before he has a chance to process what he’s seeing, it’s too late. God is crushed. End of the line. Game over. God is dead. And where does God go when he dies? Straight to Hell.

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Have a good week.

Illustration for article titled The F-150 King Ranch Is A Harsh Lesson In Opulence

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