FTE REVIEW: 2017 Ford F-150 Platinum, a Primo Hunting Rig
Ford’s range-topping F-150 shows us what happens when luxury and hunting collide.
Years ago, a “hunting rig” was merely an old truck with a bare-bones interior, rough ride, and very little in terms of comfort. Flash forward to 2017, and hunting in a pickup like the 2017 Ford F-150 Platinum is a wholly different animal.
During our week-long test, we took the F-150 Platinum snow-goose hunting in Eastern Wyoming, amongst other things. This meant several early morning drives with temperatures hovering around freezing while trying to spot flocks of prey. It also meant utilizing all the creature comforts the Platinum trim had to offer. And boy, there were many.
Before we discuss the interior, we should first talk about the impressive exterior of the 2017 F-150, especially in Ruby Red metallic, and with 20” polished aluminum wheels. Plus, unlike its competitors these days, the chrome grille isn’t so incredibly bold as to scare off circling birds. The truck has the right touch of chrome without being flashy.
We may not have dumped concrete blocks in the bed of our test truck, but we did put it to good use. Decoys are light-weight things, yet they can be tough to get to inside truck beds thanks to the high sides every truck seems to come with nowadays. With the bed step deployed, the decoys are easy to grab since entry and exit is pretty simple — and easy on the joints. In addition, cleaning out the bed is much easier thanks to this clever invention.
We didn’t have much use for the built-in LED bed lighting on the field, but it came in handy when putting the decoys away in storage after a long day of hunting. Again, this is another smart bed feature by Ford that can really come in handy in the real world.
The interior is truly where this pricey trim shines. The F-150 Platinum’s seating accommodations are very comfortable, but the front seats take the cake. The supple leather is heated and cooled, offering folks the utmost comfort regardless of the elements, while the 10-way power seats offer an infinite amount of adjustments between the power steering wheel column, and adjustable pedals. Furthermore, the Platinum trim takes things to another level with a heated steering wheel, and massaging driver and passenger seats. Yes, massaging seats. Needless to say, road stress just melts away.
Lastly, the genuine wood accents offsetting the colored interior are easy on the eyes, and the 8” screen with SYNC3 offers technology features such as GPS, XM Radio, and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming capabilities.
On the Trail
Behind the wheel, the 3.5L EcoBoost engine mated to Ford’s new 10-speed transmission works in perfect harmony, making the truck feel powerful and refined. We drove on the highway, city roads and even did light off-roading, and still achieved the EPA estimated 17/23/20 city/highway/combined mpg. In all cases, the truck was far more capable than the driving situations we put it through.
The new 10-speed is especially well tuned, and we never felt like it was hunting for gears (see what we did there?). Our only beef was with the transmission shift knob, which doesn’t offer an off-set path for manual gear selection. It is far too easy to put it in manual mode when trying to shift into drive. This system is an annoyance at best, and dangerous at worst.
Another item causing some concern these days is the auto start/stop. This system turns off the engine when stopped at red lights, or while sitting in traffic. The engine then restarts when the driver removes his or her foot off the brake. While some reviews bemoan the speed at which the engine restarts, we found a unique benefit to it — it helped not scare off the birds! While driving around and scouting the open country, we routinely came across large flocks of birds. Auto start/stop allowed us to watch without having to stop, shift into park, and then shut off the engine. Then, we could easily move on with the simple removal of our foot from the brake. This was quite an unforeseen benefit of this system.
In the end, the 2017 Ford F-150 Platinum is clearly much nicer than the average hunting rig, but there is no denying how much more enjoyable it makes getting to and from the field. Plus, unlike other hunting rigs, you can treat this $62,955 truck to a nice wash before a fancy night out on the town.