By Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
Once upon a time pickup trucks were made pretty much exclusively for working class folks.
They were functional. They were basic. They were, for the most part, inexpensive.
Only the functional part is true in the world we live in today.
My recent test drive was the 2016 Ford F-150 Lariat 4×4 Supercrew full-size pickup truck. Phew! Almost ran out of breath.
It reminded me of a he-man (or woman) – I’m with it – luxury vehicle. It had all the bells and whistles one would expect, and also the price tag: $61,145. You could buy a nice Mercedes, Audi or BMW for that cash.
And the Lariat is only in the middle of the F-150 trim level line-up. There are three additional grades – King Ranch, Platinum and Limited – all positioned and priced above it. What is this world coming to?
Am I reminding you of the grumpy-old-man type yet? “The F-150 Limited sets a new bar for what discerning customers should expect in a high-end truck,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “We’re adding segment-exclusive technology, and features that improve productivity, convenience and capability with distinctive style.”
Lariat comes loaded with top-line features and creature comforts including a voice-activated navigation system, rear-view camera, push-button and remote start, heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats, high-def radio, Bluetooth and lots, lots more.
On the functional side of the equation, the F-150 includes a 110-volt outlet in the dash to plug in power tools, spotlights built into the side mirrors, Pro-Trailer backup assist that makes reversing with a trailer as simple as turning a knob, stowable loading ramps, short bed with spray-in liner, and a finger-touch rear tailgate.
My tester was powered by a 3.6-liter V6 Ecoboost engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination allows for towing of up to 10,100 pounds when properly equipped and generates 365 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.
It was also equipped with two-speed automatic four-wheel drive that automatically shifts between two-wheel and four-wheel drive depending on driving surface traction conditions.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when the gauge read: 616 miles range. How could that be possible? Well, thanks to 36-gallon, extended range fuel tank, it was.
The Supercrew cab was large enough to transport up to five adults with plenty of room to spare. And the EPA rates the F-150 fuel economy at 16 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving. My real-world experience was slightly less.
Exterior highlights included a Lithium Gray coat of paint that disturbingly reminded me of WSU helmets, fog lamps, power sliding rear window, tow hooks, 20- inch tarnished dark-painted wheels, LED box lighting, and a spare tire and wheel lock.
Other goodies worthy of note were running boards that made it easy for the wife to climb into and out of the cabin, Sony 10-speaker audio system with USB port for iPods and CD players for old farts like me.
2016 FORD F-150
BASE PRICE: $46,925
AS TESTED: $61,145
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.