$22,579 - $61,596

2017 Ford F-150 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Ford F-150 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.7

There are plenty of engine choices in the 2017 Ford F-150. The base engine is a solid performer, but the available turbocharged engines deliver the best power and performance. The F-150 has poised handling, and some think that it’s more agile than most other full-size trucks. It also has sharp steering, though the brakes are a tad too sensitive.

  • "Although Ford still can't match the diesel engine options on the Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan, the EcoBoost V6 and new 10-speed transmission deliver plenty of power for towing and hauling as well as respectable fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Considering the F-150 is the crown jewel of the Ford lineup and its most successful product, we doubt they'd launch it without full confidence in its reliability. And as far as the driving experience, prepare to be surprised. All of our expectations were exceeded behind the wheel. There are some real, tangible benefits to the 10-speed in real world use." -- Truck Trend
  • "For most general-use pickup buyers, the 2.7 EcoBoost is more than adequate and presumably the most fuel-efficient engine for those not completely leaden of foot. The 3.5 EcoBoost comes with the highest payload and tow ratings, but without pulling a big boat or something else heavy, you won't be blown away by the upgrade in thrust. And regardless of the acceleration rate, neither V6 turbo sounds as nice or revs as freely as the 5.0-liter V8." -- Autoweek (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The F-150’s base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 282 horsepower. With this engine, the F-150 is a decent all-around truck: It has enough power for daily driving, and it gets average fuel economy for the class, earning an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

There are several available engines: a 325-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6; a 375-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6; a 385-horsepower 5.0-liter V8; and in the Raptor, a high-output, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 450 horsepower. The turbocharged engines are the best choices for towing, and they also deliver excellent power and acceleration. The turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 also delivers the best fuel economy of any F-150, earning an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.

A responsive six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and a 10-speed automatic transmission – which is new for 2017 – is available with select engines. The six-speed transmission does its job well, but the new 10-speed easily finds the right gear and delivers quick, seamless shifts.

  • "While many skeptics doubted a small-displacement V6 could ever replace the pulling power and longevity of big V8, Ford's 2017 F-150 pickup has proved them all wrong." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although it obviously shifts more frequently than a six-speed transmission, the experience is not jarring or off-putting. It simply shuffles quickly through the gears, providing strong, seamless acceleration. Thankfully, the calibration is smart enough to know when it's towing or hauling and will hold the right gear as long as necessary. When towing a 9,900-pound trailer, the truck got up to speed and held third gear up the hill, providing the optimum ratio for the job at hand." -- Truck Trend
  • "Don't underestimate extra power, though. As one Ford engineer put it, the additional 50 lb-ft of maximum torque is great for foot-to-the-floor drag racing or towing, but it also means there's more off-peak torque at the lower engine speeds where many drivers spend most of their time. Should you want to poke a stick in the EcoBoost, though, the transmission is game to help provide maximum thrust. Floor the accelerator, and the transmission clicks off clean, firm shifts about 400 rpm shy of the indicated redline. … As for the engine itself, it feels pretty much exactly like the outgoing 3.5-liter EcoBoost, with more punch." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is available. The F-150 has reliable handling and a comfortable ride whether you’re towing, off-roading, or just cruising down the highway. Some test drivers think the F-150 has good agility for a full-size truck. They add that the sharp steering makes it easier to maneuver on winding roads. However, some critics think the brakes are a little too sensitive.

The F-150 is available with an off-road package that includes a locking rear differential, an off-road-tuned suspension, and hill-descent control. But if you really want to go off-roading, you should opt for the F-150 Raptor trim, which is designed to be a beast when you head off the pavement. It has the versatility to tackle any terrain, and it adds specialty off-roading features like beadlock wheels, which help increase grip in slippery conditions. It also has several driving modes to let you handle everything from everyday driving conditions to the most challenging terrain.

  • "Ford has worked some magic on the F-150's suspension, because this truck rides and handles more like a midsize-crossover SUV, although some of the editors commented on the touchy brakes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Another big benefit of the aluminum body is that the latest F-150 is surprisingly nimble for a large pickup." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "The steering is a touch on the light side yet accurate and responsive. Only the brake pedal, being touchy and failing to deliver any feedback, needs further improvement." -- Car and Driver (2015)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds and a max payload of 3,270 pounds. The F-150 is one of the best towing vehicles in the class, though its max towing capacity is a few hundred pounds short of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s.

There are available features that can make it easier to hook up and pull a trailer. Dynamic Hitch Assist works with the rearview camera to help you connect a trailer. Other features designed to help you tow a trailer include Trailer Backup Assist and a smart trailer tow connector. Trailer Sway Control helps keep the trailer in line while driving.

If you plan to do a lot of towing, you should spring for one of the turbocharged engines. Once the trailer is hooked up and you’re on the road, you’ll be impressed with how easily they can move the F-150, even if you’re pulling a heavy load. Reviewers note that the available features take the guesswork out of connecting and maneuvering a trailer.

  • "For the ever-critical towing aspect of trucking, the 10-speed doesn't disappoint. We drove a 2017 F-150-with a big dual-axle trailer that Ford claimed amounted to 9900 pounds of ballast-back to back with a 2016 model with the same load. Although we can't speak to the V-6's power advantage over its predecessor, the 10-speed holds a clear edge. Its extra ratios afford more options when downshifting, such as when descending a steep grade, and the shifts are even rev matched in Tow/Haul mode for maximum smoothness. The six-speed, by comparison, is slower to shift and feels lumpier when selecting a lower gear; it can also be caught out trying to choose among gears." -- Car and Driver
  • "It was a telling drag race up a hill with a 7 percent grade while towing a 9,900-pound trailer: a 2016 Ford F-150 with the original 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and six-speed transmission versus the 2017 F-150 with the second-gen V-6 and new 10-speed transmission. We don't have official test results, but suffice it to say, it was a rout. As it should be. The outgoing 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 for rear-drive vehicles has been available since 2011 and was getting long in the tooth. It benefits from lessons learned on subsequent EcoBoost engines, such as the 2.7-liter V-6 for the 2015 model year. The result is a 10-horsepower boost to 375 hp while torque increases by 50 lb-ft to 470 at 3,500 rpm-plenty of power for its 12,200-pound tow rating." -- Motor Trend
  • "Using a knob on the dash while watching via the rearview camera, the driver need only input left or right commands and the F-150 will do all the steering and braking. Guiding a boat trailer down a ramp or camper into a tight spot has never been so easy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

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