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One can't help noticing that the front ends of all new vehicles are made to look big and imposing in your rear view mirror. It takes material and weight to do that. Can we quit pushing each other around on the road and drive better vehicles? I had a 1996 F150. It had low sides so I could load it from the side. It had a smaller nose and cab and was made of more steel an less plastic. Then I got a 2005 F150 and got less payload capacity because the cargo sides and cab got huge. Also, I had to go from an inline 6 to a V6. All in all the 2005 was about half the truck that the 1996 was.
Given how much more intimidating the new Ford trucks are than the 2005's, I gotta say they are more bluff than truck. I suspect the2014 F150 is half the 2005 F150 and a quarter of the 1996 F150.
It sure ain't what I need in a truck.
I have seen 3-wheeled trucks that are 10 times the truck that the new buck is.
Ford, here is one user that wants more guts and a whole lot less bluff.
No need to copy the fluff that Chevy and Dodge build.
Many of us are big enough in real life, completely secure about who we are. We don't need an imposing vehicle to impress anyone.
How about a pickup built for milage and utility with a bit of off-road clearance that looks like a pickup truck instead of a Freightliner?
I am trying to get Ford to build a working truck.
More horsepower is not the best.
No need to command the highway or pass at 80 MPH.
120 HP and the ability to haul 2000 pounds without sagging under the weight would be good.
Good milage unloaded but still can still work when needed.
Must go at least 250,000 miles reliably.
Nothing flashy, more John Deer and less luxury SUV.
A truck for actual farmers and carpenters.
An XL with the heavy payload package sounds like exactly what you're looking for. A bare minimum truck built to haul and tow.
You don't usually see them on dealer lots, as half ton trucks are seen as lifestyle vehicles nowadays, most people want the soft sprung luxury models and are willing to pay extra for those features. To get a stripped work truck you would likely have to order it that way.
I had a '96 plain jane F150 with the 300/6 also. It also was the most favorite of all the trucks I've had. Not that it was any more/less capable than what I've had since, but because of its simplicity. It was 100% work truck. I agree with the others that as years have progressed, trucks have been loaded with more frills but not cut down as to capacities and capabilities. My 96 couldn't possibly have safely towed 11000#. I had 2000# in the box a few times but it definitely sagged and wobbled a lot more than my 2011 F150 did. The marked has changed, people are getting softer and want more conveniences.
As for the low box sides vs high box sides, I actually liked the high box sides of the '04-current F150's. As a contractor I would like to take tools in the box sometimes rather than hauling the trailer everywhere. In the newer F150's I could get any of my tools in the box and close the tonneau cover. Pre 2004 that was not possible. Even in my 2014 F350 I get annoyed with the low box sides though I know they are low for 5th wheel towing purposes.
Another reason I like the high box sides and lack of accessibility from the side is it reduces the scratches and damage from people who can't seem to use the tailgate for loading...
Demographics are changing... In these parts, the number of farmers and carpenters who drive plain jane trucks are a minority...most of them are driving luxury vehicles.
My father-in-law many years ago had a 1985 F-150 XL 4 speed stick. It was a bare bones work truck with a 300 inline 6, that with the "granny geared" 1st gear, felt as though it could pull a house off of it's foundation. He later bought a 1996 Bronco, and that truck seemed like a luxury truck, even though it was a special order XL with a 5.0 V8 and 5 speed stick. I've owned F-150's from 2000, '02, '05, '10 and my now '13, and from my '05 on up, my trucks has better rides, handled bed loads better, towed better, and felt more substantial than my older ones. I know the '04's on up are a lot more crash worthy than any Ford truck that came before also. Ford still makes bare bones XL work trucks with high payloads and towing capabilities, but are now far better tucks than the proverbial "good ol' days". Just my 2 cents.
2013 Keystone Outback 33' Travel Trailer
2013 F-150 Max Tow Ecoboost Lariat
2014 Ford Fusion SE Ecoboost
I do see a few good crashes in my line of business, but maybe only one newer pickup crash I can remember. Then another that was train vs van (guess who won). From that I just don't have enough experience to judge whether new trucks are more crashworthy. I doubt that anyone here has the chops to comment on it either. All you can quote is someone else's marginal crash tests.
I know cars and pickups are just four-wheelers. So I both chuckle and wince when I see some looser trying to push a granny out of the left lane by intimidating her with his big plastic grill just 2 feet from her bumper. The problem is this is so pervasive nowadays that the automakers are cashing in by offering massive plastic grills on every car, not just pickups. Why do Ford and others offer vehicles that encourage people to road-rage? Why do people want vehicles that make them bullys on the public right of way?
I guess it is just a fact of life that everyone wants bigger and flashier and no one understands that crash force is proportional to mass times speed squared. That means that a crash at 70 mph roughly doubles the force from a crash at 50 mph. That means crash test data is sort of meaningless. Crash test dummies drive at safe speeds. Us people drive like idiots.
I don't want a race car V10 in my pickup. A V8 isn't really all that desirable. I don't need to pass the driver that is already 10 over the limit. I just want to cruise at the speed limit and don't need to get to cruise speed in any particular hurry. I sure hope the nut-jobs in Detroit don't have a V12 on the drawing board!
Air conditioning and a good heater are mandatory. Legislated safety features must be present. A sound system is nice. Can we disable the seat-belt beeper while driving around the ranch? Can we disable the annoying LEDs and lights when we want to enjoy the darkness in a national park? Can I please lock my doors while the engine is running?
So all us ardent fans of flash should wise up and demand sensible styling and sensible utility from Ford.
Talking with some engineers from another manufacturer, there are actually some reasons for why front ends have gotten larger on trucks and cars, outside of styling alone.
First, trucks and cars today require a larger radiator surface, as the engines are more powerful, more complex, and the modern coolants less efficient.
Second, a flatter evenly sculpted front end is better for pedestrian impact testing, as it better distributes the impact on a body.
Finally, if you look at the front end of a new truck next to an older one, you'll notice the bumper extends significantly lower and the air diffuser extends extremely low below that (which is where a lot of the oversize look comes from) . That's both for aerodynamics and so the bumper of the truck is more likely to match heights with the bumper and side impact beams of a car.
That's apparently a major problem, as truck bumpers tend to ride over car bumpers, which creates worse crashes, as the truck loses most of its braking ability from having the front end lifted and neither vehicle ends up properly engaging their crumple zones. The end result is a greater propensity towards injury or death.
I have to agree about new trucks being built way too high. All trucks and cars are tools to carry a load or perform a job and that is it. Make the tool if it a truck user friendly by allowing it to be loaded easier.
No need at all to have a tall full size pickup, you are not going to take it off road on serious jeep trails (too long of a wheelbase and way too long of a wheelbase), and other than to psychologically make up for a lacking of a certain part of a male's autonomy on certain people, I can't see any logical reason for a tall full size pickup that is actually used as a "tool" to get a job done.
__________________ 90 F250 7.5L E4OD, 03 F350 SD auto with the infamous diesel 6.0 for work, 70 C600 330 MT40 & 72 IH Fleetstar 6V-53 MT41 - dump trucks - both are AUTOMATICS! O2 Oldsmobile Bravada, Kubota L3200, Hustler Super Z mower, all Hydrostatics, 85 Honda Elite 250 & 150 scooter CVT - Nary a manual in the fleet!
Oh yes, the engineers need a bigger grill for more radiator. That's a real doozie. The smaller grills did just fine for V8s decades.
Beware of the customer that drinks the company cool aide.
No Kool-Aide here. The V8s of yore didn't have anywhere near the power that modern engines are making. My wife's 2011 Sienna minivan's V6 made much more power and nearly as much torque as my '97 Lincoln Town Car's V8 does. In fact it did a better job pulling the boat than my V8-powered car does. That increased power means you need a bigger radiator.
My last F150 was rated to tow 11,200 lbs from a 365 HP turbocharged V6. In fact cooling was an issue even with the "huge" grill and radiator up front. One time my coolant temps hit 243 degrees trying to muscle up a hill. The truck did fine, but a smaller radiator wouldn't have done well at all. In fact we've seen more than a few people with that same engine having problems overheating towing campers up mountain grades on the freeway. It may not be a V8, but it's a modern powerplant that makes far more power than just about anything on the road 30 years ago. Heat output is directly related to horsepower output. You may not need a huge radiator cruising unloaded on the freeway, but hook up something heavy and go up some hills and you just might.
The truck purists were coming out of the woodwork and raising all kinds of sand when Ford drastically changed the F-series from the '79 to the 1980 bodies. The current gen GM twins are a direct and modern throwback to the '73-'79 models.
My old '88 was considered as a cheap POS by the people who wouldn't let go of the past. Now it's revered as a well built tank. Got news for ya, it wasn't all that. In fact, it was a high maintenance pig, but at the time it was normal and accepted.
My dad's '76 F-150 was perhaps the best truck he ever had. Solid, well built and beautiful. It had a handful of issues though. 12 MPG's highway for starters and very limited payload / tow rating as compared to todays trucks. It literally had just one half of the towing and MPG's of my 2011 truck.
Ford builds a truck for every purpose and most every budget.
__________________ Tim SCPO United States Coast Guard Retired
2011 F-150 XLT 4x4 Ecoboost
2010 Ford Focus
2004 Expedition XLT 4x2 FTE Guidelines
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