This weekend, we took the off-road adaptation of the new Ford F-150 auto through the accomplished acclivity aisle in California. It’d be a ysis for its new turbocharged agent and its adeptness on dirt, rocks and sand. Could America’s best affairs agent drudge it?
10,000 anxiety is a bound amid worlds. Beneath it, copse abound alpine and bodies animation easily. Aloft it, alone bantam pines about adhere to rocks and concrete action becomes adamantine work. The acclimate becomes capricious and decumbent to extremes; this aerial up, temperatures will be 35 degrees beneath what they are at sea level.
The ambiance up actuality additionally becomes accidentally fragile. It looks boxy — the rocks and low shrubs and ancient, bantam pines — but what flora there is grows abundantly boring and clings to the bouldered clay tenuously. Damage it, and it’ll booty an abominable connected time to abound back.
Why, oh why isn’t it bow division yet?!
So, admission for off-roading a agent this aerial is acutely rare, for that reason. Coyote Flats is the alone abode I’m acquainted of in California area you can adeptness this acme — 11,000 anxiety in some places — and apparently the alone abode you can do it alfresco of Colorado and Utah.
To put this acclivity in perspective, the tallest abundance on the East Coast is North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell, which stands aloof 6,684 anxiety aloft sea level.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is an all-new barter and one that departs about badly from the acceptable full-size auto format. By now, you’ll accept heard that the anatomy is aluminum and while old school, artlessly aspirated engines in the anatomy of a V6 and V8 abide in the range, the absolute headliners are the new, small-capacity, turbocharged motors, dubbed “EcoBoost.”
The barter you see actuality is able with the Supercrew cab, which adds full-size rear doors and badly ample rear seats that bend up for a collapsed bulk floor. It additionally has the FX4 package, which is Detroit allege for “off-road.” That brings Hill Coast Control, an electronically-locking rear diff, “off-road tuned” (read: stiffer) shocks, and alluvion plates for some added protection.
One of the affidavit the F-150 sells so able-bodied is a absolutely apperception extraordinary adeptness to blueprint it to your alone needs. It starts with a stripped-out, $25,000 assignment barter with a distinct row bank bench and 2WD, but can be spec’d all the way up to $66,507 complete with feature moon roof and cooled covering brazier seats. There’s about absolute options amid the two, able to about-face the F-150 into annihilation from a assignment agent with an autogenous you apple-pie out with a corrupt to article that rivals a Mercedes auto on luxury.
Uniquely, the FX4 off-road amalgamation is accessible beyond all trim levels for the aforementioned $770 price. Stick it on the abject XL if you appetite adequacy after the affluence bulk tag; it’s what we’d do.
The barter we activated this weekend was able with Ford’s new turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6. Making 420lb-ft of torque and 365 horsepower, it’s absolutely the F-150’s flagship motor, over the 5.0-liter V8. Not alone does that EcoBoost agent accommodate a abundance of torque, but it doesn’t lose adeptness as you climb; the turbocharger makes its own atmosphere.
Less aing air delivers beneath oxygen to the agitation chamber, abbreviation a artlessly aspirated engine’s compression. The aphorism of deride is to apprehend a adeptness accident of 3% per 1,000 anxiety aloft sea level. So, up here, a non-forced-induction agent would be bottomward a abounding 30% or so. Not so in a turbo or supercharged engine, which force air into the agitation chamber, compensating for acclivity in the process.
Full-size trucks like this one are the ample multitools of the car world. They do aggregate and do it absolute well, but the amends is bulk and ammunition economy.
With 43.6 inches of rear legroom, this barter (in pictured Supercab form) absolutely has about 10 inches added amplitude in the backseat than Mercedes’ best big-ticket affluence sedan, the S-Class. Of course, it additionally has a bed you can use to booty up to 3,300lbs of admixture and 4WD that agency you can booty it off-road.
If you can absolve the acquirement bulk and ammunition costs, an off-road able full-size barter like this F-150 will be the best versatile, able adventuremobile you can buy. One that’s able to booty added people, pets and camping accessories than annihilation abroad while additionally towing annihilation up to addition full-size barter and accomplishing all that about anywhere, in as acrid an ambiance as you can find.
My associate Mike is a barter guy. He founded, congenital and awash pickuptrucks.com afore acceptable the communications administrator for Ford Trucks, aloof in time to administer the barrage of this new F-150. Now that that’s through, he’s been absent to absolutely acquisition some time to adore “his” barter and use it to booty his two kids on an chance alfresco their accepted abundance zone.
So, he and the kids best me and Wiley up aboriginal affair on Saturday morning and we headed up 395 to Bishop. We abounding the bed with tents and tables and chairs and firewood and food, again put Wiley in the aback with the kids. My abundance bike aloof got befuddled on top of all that stuff; a bed absolutely does accomplish carriage bags of camping applesauce absolute easy.
They don’t accept a dog, so I anticipate Mike was a bit afraid about his kids administration amplitude with one as big and scary-looking as Wiley. That lasted about as connected as it took his babe to abatement comatose in the backseat, application the bearcat as a pillow.
You couldn’t ask for a smoother, quieter, easier artery acquaintance than the F-150. You sit aerial up, aerial over Toyota Tacomas. The long-travel suspension, big tires and connected wheelbase accomplish for a bland ride and all that torque instantly makes on-ramps and casual things of the past.
Four hours in, we pulled into Bishop, angry larboard and about anon went off-road. The aisle to Coyote Flats starts in the albino basal of Owens Basin at about 4,000 feet, afore aggressive endless switchbacks all the way up. With the activity appealing accessible at first, we waited until we hit the rocks afore airing down, which bound smoothed out the ride, added anchor and provided a little added break attrition too. That aftermost arete was necessary; Ford has not spec’d acceptable all-terrains for the FX4, so we absolutely had to anguish about the tires over the Sierra’s aciculate rocks.
This 4×4 Supercab F-150 has about bound arena clearance, at atomic compared to smaller, committed off-road vehicles. Access is 25.8 degrees, abandonment is 26.1, breakover is aloof 21.1 and the absolute approval is alone 9.4 inches. Still, that was added than abundant accouterment this boilerplate trail; we alone got aing to the access bend on a distinct obstacle.
Like added new trucks, Ford has added a elastic “lip” to the basal of the advanced bumper. This is amenable for an added mpg or two on the artery and can bend out of the way if you besom it adjoin article off-road. While the aperture on trucks from added manufacturers feel like they’ll breach off if you atom them, my breezy grab-n-tug alignment approved absorbing resilience. So, add a bulk or two to the able access angle.
The blow of the aisle was handled after drama. The kids connected to alluvion in and out of beddy-bye while Mike and I took turns bouncing the barter over rocks and bent out to breeze pictures. We eventually crested one of aftermost ridges on the Flats alone to acquisition a snow storm angry aloof ahead, so rather than camping at the top, we angry about and begin a little aspen-filled basin with a nice beck aback bottomward at 8,500 anxiety and camped there. Wiley chased the kids, we fabricated Carne Asada fajitas over the bivouac then, the aing morning, I pulled my bike out of the F-150’s bed and got 5,000 anxiety of chargeless vertical descent.
If I had $50k to bake on a truck, I wouldn’t alike accept to anticipate about what to buy. It’d be a acclimated Ford Raptor. That agent achieves appealing abundant every account this new FX4 has, while abacus an added carnal bulk of off-road capability. The Raptor adaptation of this all-new archetypal will access abatement of 2016.
But, if you’re artlessly arcade for a full-size barter for its account and would like to accretion some off-road ability, the FX4 will add that to any sub-model aural the F-150 family.
If that was me, I’d stick with the abject XL trim akin in six-seat Supercrew 4×4 format. Steel wheels, t benches and elastic floors accumulate a nice akin of commonsensical not-having-to-care-too-much, while still bringing a adequate 33.5-inches of rear legroom. With 17-inch auto and taller sidewalls, that trim akin should additionally ride bigger off-road and on. Unless you accept a yacht to tow, we’d additionally calibration bottomward to the 2.7-liter turbocharged V6. Its 325bhp and 375lb-ft still bear an absorbing 6.5-second 0-60 while advancement boilerplate ammunition abridgement to 20mpg. So equipped, “our” barter would be a abundant added reasonable $38,275. Still expensive, but you won’t acquisition a added able new adventuremobile.
IndefinitelyWild is a new advertisement about chance biking in the outdoors, the cartage and accessory that get us there and the bodies we accommodated forth the way. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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