MOTORING

It’s big, takes up every inch of the road and best of all, is un­apolo­get­i­cally a hard-as­nails truck – meet the F-150 Limited.

Friday - - CONTENTS - PHO­TOS BY STE­FAN LIN­D­EQUE

Ever won­dered what the best­selling cars of all time are? You’d ex­pect to see the Toy­ota Corolla right up there, wouldn’t you. And the VW Golf too. Well, they’re first and third re­spec­tively – but what’d be sand­wiched be­tween them? Clue: It isn’t the Honda Civic... it is in fact the Ford F-Series.

The Blue Oval has sold over 40 mil­lion since 1948 and it plans on shift­ing a shed­load more by en­sur­ing that there’s an F-150 for ev­ery­one, what with sev­eral dif­fer­ent vari­ants avail­able of the in­domitable truck. You’ve got the base trims (XL and XLT), the mid-lux­ury Lariat, the fancy King Ranch and Plat­inum ver­sions, the rugged Rap­tor to help you get to the top of the hill and then, the king of the hill it­self, the Limited, which is what I got to play with re­cently – and came away suit­ably im­pressed.

Some say that its alu­minium body isn’t tough enough to han­dle the rough and tum­ble life­style (that’ll be Chevy and Ram, yet to catch up with this in­no­va­tive move...) but the truth of the mat­ter is that you wouldn’t want to take this F-150 off-road at all be­cause it’s just too lux­u­ri­ous for that. This may sound like an oxy­moron, but it re­ally is a true lux­ury truck, though it has a main­stream badge on the front...

For 2018, it has a host of ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, a seg­ment-first 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and a prop­erly good EcoBoost V6. The aes­thet­ics have also been re­worked, with Ford up­dat­ing the front and rear bumpers, tail­gate and giv­ing it a set of pol­ished 22in alu­minium wheels, while the grille is unique on this top spec model (it has a satin fin­ish and main bars with chrome) and gets large ‘Limited’ let­ter­ing on the bon­net and around the back. The power run­ning boards that fold out when you open the door are a very use­ful fea­ture as they make get­ting in and out of this huge and hand­some Ford much eas­ier. How­ever, the P275 tyres look way too small espe­cially at the back; they des­per­ately need more side­wall to help fill in the mas­sive wheel wells be­cause right now, you can look right through to the axle from the gap­ing hole. It’s a lit­tle un­sightly.

Once you lit­er­ally climb aboard, you’re met with an ever-so-roomy cabin that is fin­ished in a classy Navy Pier leather and in­ter­spersed through­out with dark brown wood ve­neer ac­cents (they play so well with the lux­ury theme). It’s rather un­be­com­ing of a Ford, to be per­fectly hon­est. Aside from the sofa-like seats re­plete with heated and ven­ti­lated func­tions, they also of­fer up a pretty nice mas­sage too, and the in­te­rior seems to grow big­ger when with a push of a but­ton the two moon­roofs slide open and bathe it with nat­u­ral light.

How­ever, look past the glitz and glamour and some of the F-150’s work­horse roots be­gin to show, such as the hard plas­tic that’s ev­i­dent through­out. They could have tried a lit­tle harder to cover up the edges of the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem at least. And the lit­tle plaque in the cen­tre con­sole is a tad puz­zling – it wants to serve as a re­minder of just how ‘limited’ your F-150 Limited is and tries by dis­play­ing the model year, the full VIN and... the num­ber of the unit you’ve got; it’s fine if yours is the first one that rolls off the line, but if you have say, No. 552,851, it feels slightly less spe­cial.

Re­gard­less, I love this num­ber 2,242 truck. It scores heav­ily in all as­pects, not least the in­te­rior thanks to the com­fort that it af­fords but also for the level of tech that it is hous­ing. Some of the seg­ment-first and class-ex­clu­sive good­ies in­clude a new en­hanced adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop-and-go func­tion­al­ity and a Bang & Olufsen Play au­dio sys­tem of­fer­ing high-end speak­ers, sound and tun­ing.

Add that to the ex­ist­ing seg­ment-ex­clu­sive driver-as­sist and con­ve­nience fea­tures such as Pro Trailer Backup As­sist, Blind Spot In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem with trailer coverage tech­nol­ogy, 360-de­gree cam­era tech­nol­ogy and lane-keep­ing sys­tem means you’re wor­ry­ing about noth­ing if you thought this rig was too big to drive. Don’t get me wrong, it is big, and it takes up every inch of the road and best of all, it is un­apolo­get­i­cally and in­dis­putably a hard-as-nails truck; it has a lad­der frame, se­ri­ous towing ca­pa­bil­ity and yep, a choppy ride – just how you’d want it. Yes, this is the fancy one but un­der all that pizazz it’s still rough and ready and loves tack­ling the beaten path.

The 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 has 375 horses and a max­i­mum torque of 637Nm and has more than enough low-end and peak en­gine per­for­mance for haul­ing heavy pay­loads, towing heavy trail­ers, or just kick­ing up a sand storm in the desert. It re­ally is a su­per mo­tor and you can’t re­ally jus­tify want­ing the 5.0-litre V8 (un­less you want a bet­ter ex­haust note). How­ever, that 10-speed auto that it is mated to does feel like it is of­ten search­ing for the right gear. Not a sur­prise what with so many cogs to choose from; that said, it shifts smoothly and it keeps the V6 within its torquey power band.

The F-150 Limited costs Dh292,845 (in­clu­sive of VAT). That’s not cheap, but for a smart, ev­erso-so­phis­ti­cated and po­tent truck – which isn’t just the best within Ford’s range, it’s the leader of the en­tire pickup seg­ment – I would say it is worth the money.

It is un­apolo­get­i­cally and in­dis­putably a hard-as-nails truck. Un­der all that pizazz it’s still rough and loves tack­ling the beaten path

It scores heav­ily in all as­pects, not least the in­te­rior thanks to the com­fort, but also for the level of tech

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