Harrison F-Trucks Ford F-150 King Ranch road test and review
AMERICA doesn't really do small.
Take Ford's F-150 pick-up truck. It's the smallest F-Truck offered in its range, yet to consider it anything but a colossus seems ludicrous.
After all, this dual cab offers seating for five very large humans, is 5.3-metres in length, nearly 2 metres tall and has enough chrome to dazzle a packed MCG.
If you need to tow over 3500kg in Australia your only option is to buy an American giant like a Ford F-Truck.
They're not officially imported by Ford Australia, so you need an importer and right-hand drive conversion specialist like Harrison F-Trucks QLD.
I was offered a MY15 F-150 King Ranch variant by the Maroochydore-based company for a day's test drive, this model being nearer the top of the F-150 range and fully loaded with luxury and convenience goodies.
At $155,897 before on-roads it's no cheapie, but our market typically chooses the higher spec American pick-ups as buyers are those who are either very financially secure or will be practically living inside one as they tour the country.
Heavy horse float, caravan or boat? You're going to need something like this.
The maximum Australian vehicle standards has rated this F-150 to a 4000kg towing capacity, while its payload is 1045kg.
As previously mentioned the F-150 is the baby of the truck line-up, with Harrison also offering the larger F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 behemoths should you need to move up the size and lugging capacity scale.
These days we have a large range of American truck brands to choose from through various importers, but it's the F-Trucks which have the largest American seal of approval. How?
Ford's F-Trucks have been the best-selling vehicles in the country for the last 34 years. And that's not just best-selling truck, but best-selling anything.
Over 780,000 F-Trucks were sold in the USA in 2015, while its top-selling passenger car the same year was Toyota's Camry with some 350,000 fewer units shifted. These big Fords dominate American roads.
Ford's current F-150s have their body and tray beds constructed of aluminium, helping them weigh 300kg less than its predecessor, doing no harm to the fuel economy figure.
Speaking of which, although a 5.0-litre V8 is available in these trucks, my test F-150 used Ford's 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol motor.
It may not have the ludicrous four-figure torque figure some F-Truck engines deliver, but the 272kW and 569Nm as tested should never labour with that four-tonnes out back.
My test was unladen and non-towing only, so the 3.5-litre hauled the truck along at remarkable pace when the turbos kicked in. Highway cruising - where these trucks are most at home - was surprisingly relaxed.
There was next to no noise from the engine, cruising at 110kmh saw only 1700rpm registering and ride comfort was superb, despite no load out back.
Around town and twisty roads the F-150's steering is incredibly light, but naturally takes some work to keep it between the lanes.
The ride is obviously a bit bouncy with its variable rate leaf sprung rear and your turning circle is quite vast. But as mentioned, an F-150's proper home is the highway.
And you'd be happy to traverse either Australia or America in one of these. The cabin is indeed vast (the rear seating has limousine-esque space), and in this King Ranch is dripping in leather.
The right-hand drive conversion looked of high quality to my eyes with little to suggest it didn't come from Ford's factory this way.
What really blew me away was the spec however. Yes, it's an expensive toy, but the inclusions and options on the King Ranch could fill a newspaper. Highlights for me?
Heated and cooling seats (heated rears too), active park assist and cruise control, lane keep assist, 360-degree camera, ambient lighting, giant moon roof, and a central cargo bin your kids could bathe in.
On my test F-150 the tailgate could be dropped and the engine started with a press on the key fob, or open any door and the running boards automatically drop down.
The options list is such on these F-Trucks you can bespoke build your heavy duty hauler to your exacting needs; vital for those shopping in this market.
My day-long test returned a decent 12-litres/100km (towing decent weight will of course bump this up), and the package - impressively converted by Harrison F-Trucks - does justice to America's favourite vehicle.
Model: MY2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch 4x4.
Details: American-imported and right-hand-drive converted large 4x4 double cab pick-up truck.
Engine: 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol generating maximum power of 272kW @ 5000rpm and peak torque of 569Nm @ 2500rpm.
Transmission: 6-speed SelectShift automatic with tow haul and sports mode.
Towing capacity: Restricted to 4000kg by Australian vehicle standards.
Economy: 12-litres/100km (as tested).
Bottom line: $155,897 as tested (before on-road costs) from Harrison F-Trucks QLD, 100 Maroochydore Rd, Maroochydore, harrisonftrucks.com.au, 5443 5550.