Ford’s plus-sized pick-up has gone through the same testing process as the new-gen Ranger and Everest to ensure it can tolerate local conditions
Ford has pushed its right-hook-converted F-150 through tortuous Australian conditions to ensure that its forthcoming full-size pick-up meets the expected quality standards, the brand says.
The F-150 is due to go on sale in Australia in 2023, with the American-built and locally converted pick-up confirmed in both XLT and Lariat guises.
Also now confirmed is the availability of both a short- and long-wheelbase chassis for both grades, offering beds measuring 1.68m and 1.98m of length respectively.
The full specs will be confirmed at a later date but Ford has now confirmed that its Agate Black, Iconic Silver, Antimatter Blue and Carbonized Grey paint colours will be available at a premium on both grades, with Oxford White the only non-cost option. A Lucid Red finish will be available exclusively on the mid-spec Lariat.
When it lands, the F-150 will go head-to-head with established rivals such as the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado – while Toyota undertakes similar endurance testing of its Tundra pick-up ahead of its expected release in the coming years.
As part of its ‘Built Ford Tough’ mantra, Ford has been keen to prove that its right-hook F-150 is well suited to the demands of Australian buyers in local conditions.
The local durability program is the same one the newly released Ranger and Everest models were put through, with the F-150 traversing more than 135,000km in harsh conditions.
In promotional material released by Ford, the F-150 was seen pulling a large boat and trailer as part of its 4.5-tonne tow testing, wading through deep water and enduring punishing road corrugations.
Ford Australia says test units of the F-150 have been put through its Silver Creek Road durability track “hundreds of times” as part of the local development process.
The F-150 was also tested for extreme temperature validation, ranging from -40 to +50 degrees celsius, the latter of which will no doubt come in handy in ruthless outback conditions.
As also seen with the Ranger prior to its release, Ford has employed its Kinematic Compliance rig to replicate certain conditions to stress test everything from the drivetrain to the steering, suspension and other hardware components.
Ford Australia says it has received more than 8000 expressions of interest for its new F-150 and “thousands of prospective orders” placed with dealers.
While expressions of interest are not guaranteed sales, the numbers are impressive for a vehicle that is expected to cost between $90,000 and $110,000 depending on the grade.
For context, on the eve of its local launch, Ford told local media that it received 17,000 orders for the T6.2 Ranger with 4000 of those specifically placed for the high-performance Raptor.
With the F-150 boasting a towing capacity of 4.5 tonnes, it’s not surprising that it’s set to come armed with an engine that will likely pull such a load comfortably.
Ford will offer the F-150 exclusively with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo-petrol V6 engine, producing 298kW of power and 678Nm of torque, fed through a 10-speed automatic to a full-time four-wheel-drive system.
The F-150 will be shipped from the US before being remanufactured by RMA Automotive in Victoria, in a bid to replicate the successful formula that has seen the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado converted by Walkinshaw in nearby Clayton.
Full-size pick-ups have become increasingly popular in Australia, with the Ram line-up, in particular, attracting strong sales with 5520 units sold across the 1500, 2500 and 3500 nameplates in 2022 up until the end of November.
Such figures surpass the LDV T60 (5361), commercial vans such as the popular Hyundai Staria Load (3106), the entire Jeep brand (4919) and accounts for almost as many vehicles sold as Lexus (5676).
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