America’s best-selling pickup truck is returning to Australia, so how does it stack up against the local competition?
Just last week, Ford Australia confirmed that the F-150 full-size truck will be landing in Australia later this year, with the entry-level XLT grade starting from $106,950 before on-road costs.
In the not too distant past, American pickup trucks in Australia were somewhat of a novelty, but things are quite different these days, with the F-150 joining a competitive segment of right-hand converted trucks.
Like we’ve done before, Chasing Cars is putting the entry-level Ford F-150 up against the cheapest variants from Ram and Chevrolet in an old fashioned spec battle. Let’s see which comes out on top!
It’s worth noting that this is a showdown purely based on spec sheets provided by each manufacturer, and Chasing Cars will aim to bring you a full comparison between these three vehicles in the future.
As mentioned, the Ford F-150 XLT starts in Australia at $106,950 before on-road costs. This puts it right in the middle of its American-built rivals, and around $20,000 more than the range-topping Ranger Raptor.
At $95,950, the Ram 1500 Express comes out on top when looking at the bottom line, but this comes with a couple of caveats.
Firstly, it’s the previous-generation ‘DS’ model, which was first introduced to the American market in 2009 but continues in both its home market and in Australia as a more affordable option to the new-gen ‘DT’.
In saying this, it has undergone a few updates since then, but it’s still a little old fashioned in the face of its rivals in Australia.
At the most expensive end of the list is the Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Premium, which now represents the entry point of the range at $121,000 before on-road costs since the Trail Boss was dropped from the range.
Producing 298kW and 678Nm of torque, a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 is the only engine offered by Ford in the F-150 locally. This is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission, and a part-time four-wheel drive system with high and low ratios in the XLT.
In the case of the Ram 1500 Express, it gets a 5.7-litre petrol V8 engine that makes 291kW/556Nm. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to a part-time four-wheel drive system with high and low gear ratios.
Chevrolet’s Silverado dominates this section with a 6.2-litre petrol V8 that makes 313kW and 624Nm. This large engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and a full-time 4WD system with high and low ratio transfer case.
On the inside, things are pretty basic in the Ford, with a semi-digital cluster, and an 8.0-inch infotainment display. Since this display is running Ford’s latest Sync 4 system, it gets wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity.
A cloth interior comes as standard in the XLT, as do power adjustable seats across the front row.
Considering that the Ram 1500 Express is a much older vehicle by comparison, it should come as no surprise to see that the cabin appears a bit dated.
Despite this, it still gets an 8.4-inch infotainment display with wired phone connectivity, with standard features including a cloth interior with manual front seats.
On the interior front, the Silverado LTZ Premium picks up the luxury with a generously-appointed cabin for a work horse. This includes an 8.0-inch screen with wireless phone connectivity, a semi-digital cluster, and a leather interior.
These power adjustable seats are both heated and cooled, a glass sunroof comes as standard, as does the seven-speaker premium Bose speaker system.
Though Ford Australia is yet to provide a fuel economy for the upcoming F-150 range, American sources quote a combined figure of 11.7L/100km.
It’s a similar story for the servicing on the F-150 as Ford Australia is yet to provide details. On the warranty front, Ford has confirmed that it will be covered by its five year/unlimited KM plan.
As for the Ram 1500 Express, it’s rated at 12.2L/100km from the petrol V8. Service intervals are every 12 months, or 12,000km, and the warranty covers it for three years, or 100,000km.
It’s a similar story for the Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Premium, which is rated at 13.2L/100km. Service intervals are every 12 months or 12,000km, and the GMSV warranty covers it for three years, or 100,000km.
Ford Australia has rated the F-150 at a maximum braked towing capacity of 4.5-tonnes. As for payload, a local figure isn’t yet offered, but American sources put it at 1.4-tonnes. It’s worth noting that the Australian payload figure will likely differ from this, due to local laws.
Maximum towing capacity for the Ram 1500 Express is exactly the same, but it’s worth noting that it’s rated to a maximum payload of 830kg.
Again, towing capacity is the same for the Silverado LTZ Premium, but its payload is slightly down on the Ram at 756kg.
It’s worth noting that all three utes need to be fitted with a 70mm ball to be able to tow 4.5-tonnes, and the GVM/GCM ratings don’t allow a vehicle to carry its maximum payload and haul 4.5-tonnes at the same time.
As standard, the new Ford F-150 for Australia will feature six airbags, a rear view camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control, pre-collision assist with AEB, cross traffic alert and a lane-keeping aid.
Comparatively, things are quite basic in the Ram 1500 Express, with most active safety systems not available. Despite this, it does get cruise control, a rear-view camera, and six airbags.
Chevrolet’s Silverado LTZ Premium gets adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring among other systems.
Considering that there’s ‘only’ $25,000 separating these three American full-size trucks at a time when high-end utes are regularly priced above $100K, competition is fierce in this increasingly popular segment.
It’s also worth noting that Toyota’s Tundra is currently under evaluation for the Australian market, and if it does go on sale, it’ll likely get a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 hybrid petrol engine.
Though the Ram 1500 Express is the cheapest of the three, the lack of active safety equipment somewhat makes it redundant among its rivals.
For those looking for the genuine American truck experience, it’s hard to look past the Silverado LTZ Premium with its big V8, and generously appointed interior, but the entry price of $121,000 will steer some away.
In our eyes, the Ford F-150 XLT is the winner here on paper, with its relatively cheap starting price of $106,950 and impressive equipment list plus the longer warranty.
With the fuel economy that’s likely going to best the other two and a hefty helping of grunt, if the right-hook converted F-150 stacks up as well under a thorough evaluation as it does on paper, things are looking promising for this plus-sized Blue Oval pick-up.
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