Ford sold over 700,000 F-Series trucks in the US in 2021 alone. It’s been the best-selling pickup truck there for 45 years and the best-selling vehicle overall for 40 years.

    Suffice it to say, it’s a hugely important vehicle for Ford which offers it with an enormous amount of configurations – and that’s just looking at the F-150 and setting aside the heavier-duty F-Series Super Duty range.

    If you thought the days of significant customisation were long gone when it comes to ordering new vehicles, you need only look at the US-market F-150.

    Looking at the XLT variant alone, you have three different body styles, three tub lengths, two drive types, five different engines, seven different rear axle ratios, and an option list that would shock even Porsche with its length.

    Some trim levels are also split further into Low, Mid and High variants, just to make things even more complex.

    Given the complexity of securing sufficient production from the US and remanufacturing it locally, we don’t expect to see anywhere near the number of options available in markets like the US and Canada when it arrives here in mid-2023.

    Ford has left the door open to expand the range later, though its initial offering of only the twin-turbo 3.5-litre is shrewd from both a production standpoint and in terms of buyer tastes.

    Australians may associate these big pickups with V8 engines, but it’s been years since the petrol V8 has accounted for the lion’s share of US-market F-150 sales. Combined, the 2.7-litre and 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6s account for over 60 per cent of sales.

    Ford has already confirmed the launch line-up will comprise “fully-equipped” XLT and Lariat variants, both powered by the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6.

    Just how “fully” these will be equipped is unclear; even the Lariat is only a mid-range variant, though it can be optioned above its station.

    While there are hybrid V6 and all-electric powertrains and flashy King Ranch, Platinum and Limited variants, let’s look at the XLT and Lariat we’ll be getting and what you can specify them with in the US.

    FX4 off-road package

    The FX4 name will be familiar to Aussies, as it’s currently used on a more rugged-looking trim level of the outgoing Ranger; the FX4 Max goes even further with a series of mechanical enhancements.

    Likewise, the F-150’s FX4 package, available across much of the range including the XLT and Lariat, adds a 3.31 electronic locking rear axle, hill descent control, skid plates, a rock crawl mode, and retuned front shock absorbers and monotube rear shocks.

    These enhancements bolster the F-150’s off-road ability without bringing it quite to the same level as the brawny Baja-ready Raptor or its tamer Tremor counterpart.

    Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0

    The F-150 XLT and up already include a standard suite of active safety and driver assist technology, called Co-Pilot 360, which comprises AEB with pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam, reverse AEB, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

    Optioning the Co-Pilot Assist 2.0 package, however, brings adaptive cruise control with stop/go, lane-centring, traffic sign recognition, evasive steering assist, and intersection assist for the AEB.

    Ford also offers a Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 that promises hands-free highway driving, but this is only on around 200,000km of pre-mapped roads in North America.

    Trailer packages

    Ford touts a 4500kg braked towing capacity for the F-150, and it offers a range of packages to further buttress the truck’s abilities as a heavy load hauler.

    The standard towing package includes a seven-pin wiring harness, a class IV hitch receiver, trailer brake controller, and a Smart Trailer Tow Connector that tells you, for example, if a light is out.

    It also has the Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature, which allows you to input and save a trailer. The rear camera will then track the trailer’s position, and you can rotate a dash-mounted knob in the direction you want the trailer to go while the system controls the steering wheel.

    The Tow Technology Package includes many of these features, plus a surround-view camera and trailer coverage for the blind-spot monitoring.

    Finally, there’s the Max Trailer Tow Package. In addition to many of the aforementioned features, it includes a larger 136L fuel tank, plus either a 3.55 or 3.73 electronic-locking rear axles.

    Bed Utility Package

    Like the redesigned Ranger, the F-150 can be optioned with zone lighting. It’s part of the Bed Utility Package on the XLT, which also includes LED tub lighting, a tailgate step and work surface, and Ford’s BoxLink.

    The latter is what Ford has named its so-called universally configurable box interface system, which can be used to secure a range of Ford and aftermarket accessories for the tray such as ramps, storage bins and dividers. It comes with four premium locking cleats.

    Zone lighting and LED tub lighting are standard on the US-market Lariat.

    Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch

    Want to know how much you’re carrying in an F-150? Check the tail lights.

    Introduced with the latest generation of F-150, the onboard scales calculate the approximate weight of the truck’s payload. This is in turn displayed on the touchscreen, within the FordPass mobile app, or in graphics within the tail lights. All four lights illuminated means the truck is fully-loaded, and if you keep loading the lights will start to blink to warn you.

    The presence of scales means you can also use the truck as one big scale. You can zero out the load and calculate the approximate weight of additional items loaded into the tray.

    The Smart Hitch function also measures the tongue weight of a trailer being connected, helping you distribute trailer weight correctly and letting you know if the hitch weight is too high or low.

    Ford Pro Power Onboard

    While hybrid models are available with an even more powerful set-up, EcoBoost models offer a still-handy 2.0kW optional power system in the tub. This sends power to two 120V three-prong outlets.

    Engineering this for Australia’s power plugs may be challenging, however.

    That allows owners to power everything from circular saws to mini-fridges, handy for the campsite and the worksite.


    Ford has offered this same basic feature since 1980 in the US, and yet you can’t buy a single new Ford in Australia today with this handy option.

    SecuriCode allows you to enter a code on the door to unlock the car, allowing you to lock the key in the vehicle. That’s handy for a day at the beach.

    Other options

    Other standalone options include:

    • A power-sliding glass rear window
    • Panoramic sunroof
    • In-vehicle safe
    • Continuously Controlled Damping (not available on XLT)
    • Active Park Assist 2.0 semi-autonomous parking (not available on XLT)
    • Bang & Olufsen sound system

    There’s also an ‘interior work surface’, which allows you to fold the transmission shifter down while you’re parked and create a flat surface on the centre console.

    We’ll have to wait and see just what Ford Australia includes with the locally remanufactured F-150 XLT and Lariat. Pricing and specifications will be revealed closer to its mid-2023 launch.

    MORE: Everything Ford F-150

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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