Consumer Reports Loves the F-150 but Can’t Recommend It?

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2016 Ford F-150

There are numerous resources out there for researching your next truck buy. One of the biggest is Consumer Reports. It’s a magazine and online publication that prides itself on independent reporting.

Over the years, Consumer Reports hasn’t been so friendly to Ford products. MyFord Touch was a constant issue for the publication’s reporters. It was also an issue for customers. SYNC 3 replaced the system in the F-150 for the 2016 model year.

All should be well, right? Not so. The newest Ford F-150 dropped from Consumer Reports‘ “Recommended” list because of concerns about SYNC 3. Despite being new, respondents to Consumer Reports‘ survey cite issues with the new system.

Keep in mind, Consumer Reports praises SYNC 3 in its review: “Sync 3 touch-screen infotainment system is one of the best, with an easy-to-use interface and impressive voice command capability.”

The magazine’s review also calls the vehicle’s first-year reliability “above average…making it the most reliable domestic truck you can buy.”

So is the truck reliable or not? They like SYNC 3. They like the rest of the truck. What gives?

From our experience, SYNC 3 is a significant improvement over MyFord Touch. The system is fast and relatively intuitive, and the voice commands are better than ever.

Consumer Reports’ reliability data actually comes from owners who fill out surveys. The folks at the publication view inability to use the system and actual faults with the system in a similar light.

How many people do you know that can’t figure out how to use something then immediately declare it’s broken? We imagine those same people are filling out these surveys.

Every other metric improved from 2015 to 2016, including concerns about the body, rust, paint and repair. Yet, SYNC 3 survey results tanked the truck and is why it’s not recommended.


Consumer Reports likes the truck and rated it higher than the magazine’s recommended Toyota Tundra in testing. The 3.5L EcoBoost F-150 scored 17 points higher than the Tundra.

The EcoBoost also has better fuel economy. This is something Consumer Reports lists as a priority. Don’t forget that the 2016 Ford F-150 is also the safest pickup truck you can buy.

To make a long story short, they can’t recommend the Ford F-150 because the 2016 model addressed many of the concerns they had for 2015. Everything improved.

But because some people can’t figure out how to locate their local radio station on AM radio, or pair their TracPhone via Bluetooth to their system, they can’t recommend the truck.

They can, however, recommend a truck that “lacks the refinement, quietness and ride comfort of the more-modern competition.”

Got it.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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