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Ford F-150 XLT 2024 review


The Lariat grade of Ford’s F-150 brings serious luxury, but for the cost of a small fortune. So is the more affordable XLT a smarter choice?

Good points

  • RHD conversion quality and execution
  • Superb towing ability and tech
  • Turbo V6 has serious pull
  • Ride quality on the highway
  • Surprisingly good off-road
  • Cabin space is next-level good

Needs work

  • Basic cabin and equipment
  • Very thirsty in town
  • Infotainment screen size and cameras
  • Payload only 769kg
  • Long wheelbase version makes more sense
  • A hybrid V6 is needed

Ford’s F-150 XLT is – to be all American about it – the no BS way into owning one of these fabled giant pickups.

You get a torque-packed V6 twin-turbo petrol engine, 4500kg tow capacity and cabin space to rival a Presidential suite, but you totally do away with any fripperies.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach rear far

Putting it bluntly, there are few goodies included for the roughly $117,000 Ford asks to drive-away one of these right-hand-drive converted (in Australia) monsters. And that’s just fine. If you want the leather, the moonroof, climate seats and power tailgate, go wild and drop over $150,000 driving-away the fancy pants Lariat version.

Ford knows its buyers here. Many want the F-150’s muscle, ability and size, but delivered as cheaply as possible. Let’s keep things simple: cloth seats, not too much fancy active safety and fewer of those “they’ll just go bloody wrong” electric and digital inclusions.

But is it a decent truck for the money? Dress it up how you want, but $106,950 before on-roads is a lot of coin. While not rivals, that money gets you in a decent Land Rover Defender or Discovery, Volvo XC90, Toyota LandCruiser GXL, Porsche Macan T or Ford’s own Ranger Raptor with change.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach front

Basically, it’d be madness to pick an F-150 over any of the above unless you really need the big American’s specific skillset. That said, there’s an element of Australia’s buying population seemingly happy to drop such dollars simply for road presence.

It’s a free country, so if you want to never fit parking spaces, endure 15-point turns and regular, expensive servo stops, it’s your bed to lie in.

There’s no question Australia wants these full-size trucks. Last year we bought over 10,000 Chevy Silverados and RAM 1500, 2500 and 3500 brutes. Now the Daddy of them all – the F-150 – is here, and with Ford’s capacity to convert roughly 5000 annually, that number’s bound to swell further.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 driving

The F-150 XLT is comprehensively re-engineered in Victoria by Ford Australia’s partner, RMA Automotive, for right-hand-drive using around 500 new or modified pars. The conversion job is highly impressive, and quite rightly backed by Ford’s factory five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty – helpful, in light of recent well-reported teething troubles.

The process hasn’t been without its issues however, with two recalls being issued in recent weeks due to concerns related to the turbochargers and more concerningly, the steering rack potentially failing.

However, these potential issues were identified at the factory level and none have been identified in the field so far. As a result, at the time of publication the previously halted deliveries have since resumed.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 engine

The F-150’s chief competition – RAM and Chevy – use petrol V8s, but Ford’s is a 298kW/678Nm 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol, mated to a 10-speed auto gearbox and returning an average 12.5L/100km. The Blue Oval trumps the others torque wise, but ironically is thirstier than its bent-eight rivals.

All these Americans can tow 4500kg, while payloads vary depending on grade/wheelbase. None are true one-tonners.

An important choice if leaping into F-150 ownership is whether to go long wheelbase (LWB) or short wheelbase (SWB). The ‘shortie’ is 5884mm long, the big fella’s 6184mm, meaning you’ll need to find an extra 300mm in your garage.

Despite the names, wheelbases are identical at a gargantuan 3694mm – the extra 30cm is all in the tub. The SWB’s is 1705mm long and the LWB 2005mm, helping accommodate a motorbike/quad bike with the tailgate closed. A Ford Ranger’s tub length, for comparison, is 1547mm.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 rear 3/4

It’s only an extra $1000 to go LWB over SWB, and quite frankly, I reckon it’s worth the extra spend. It’s not as if the SWB is dramatically easier to park or turn – both are whoppers, so why not enjoy the extra practicality?

Ford reckons the SWB is better suited to more regular urban users, while the LWB better serves rural folk. As my week-long test involved plenty of town driving, I opted for the SWB.

Regardless, even this shorter F-150 was tough to live with when you must share the road with others.

What are the Ford F-150 XLT’s features and options for the price?

Our XLT short wheelbase is the F-150 entry point. That driveaway price around $117,000 makes it a direct price challenger to the RAM 1500 Big Horn with 5.7-litre V8 Hemi, currently on offer at $119,950 drive-away.

The Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Premium is another $20k up the road, while mutterings suggest when Toyota’s Tundra eventually goes on public sale, it’ll be pricier again due to its high-spec.

The F-150 XLT is a bit of a mixed-bag, features-wise. There are some excellent standard features well suited to heavy duty work and Aussie conditions, then some spec oversights that befuddle. And sting when you consider you’re dropping six figures.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 headlight

You get only halogen headlights, cloth interior, a column gear shifter, cheap-ish feeling non-leather steering wheel and just an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen.

The latter looks titchy in such a giant cabin, and despite the lengths Ford Australia’s made to right hand-drivify this F-150, the screen still looks angled towards the passenger rather than driver.

Our base XLT lacks a proximity key and radar cruise control, which is a huge oversight for the typical long-distance touring these vehicles will do. Out the back, no load box lighting or cover seems silly, while you need decent muscles to raise and lower the non-assisted heavy tailgate.

Standard features on the F-150 XLT:

  • 20-inch alloys wheels
  • Keyless entry
  • Keypad entry
  • Chrome front and rear bumpers
  • Black platform running boards
  • LED taillights
  • Tailgate with flexible step and work surface
  • Tough Bed spray in bedliner
  • Boxlink cargo locking cleats
  • Underbody skidplates
  • 4500kg rated towbar with integrated trailer brake controller
  • Low range 4×4 transfer case
  • Electronic locking rear differential
  • 12-way power driver cloth seat
  • 10-way power front passenger cloth seat
  • SYNC 4 with 8-inch touchscreen
  • Wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • USB-A and USB-C ports
  • Sat nav
  • 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster
  • FordPass Connect
  • Dual zone auto climate control
  • Power adjustable foot pedals 
  • Foldout office workspace
  • Ford Pro-Trailer back-up assist
  • Cruise control

You must dig deep to move into the Lariat, but it’s markedly more luxurious and feature packed.

Pictured: the Lariat with all the fruit

F-150 Lariat adds:

  • 20-inch chrome-like alloys with all-terrain tyres
  • Remote start on key fob
  • Chrome pack for mirrors, door handles, mouldings, tow hooks and running boards
  • Power twin-panel moonroof
  • Ambient lighting
  • LED headlights, DRLs, fogs and tail lights
  • Power release and close tailgate
  • Power sliding rear window
  • Power steering column adjust
  • Leather-accented heated and cooled front seats 
  • Heater outboard rear seats
  • Floor console mounted shifter
  • 12.0-inch centre touchscreen
  • 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster
  • B&O 18-speaker audio
  • Power adjust foot pedals with memory settings
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Rear underseat lockable storage
  • 12v socket in bedliner
  • Load box illumination

Our XLT is only part-time four-wheel-drive, while the Lariat’s permanent four-wheel-drive. Both have a two-speed transfer case for low-range off-roading, plus an electronic rear diff lock.

Paint is the only option: it’s $700 for a colour other than white… if you can call them colours. Choices are black, silver, grey and an ‘Antimatter Blue’.  Only if you buy the Lariat are you offered the jazz of a red body.

How does the Ford F-150 XLT drive?

Over a week of testing I challenged the F-150 to perform towing, off-road and family duties.

However problematic this truck’s size is for urban duties, there’s no hiding how brilliantly versatile it is in most other capacities. Greed can be good.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 driving rear

Tow test was a 620kg tandem axle caged box trailer, and when loaded with garden waste it tipped the scales at a little over a tonne. As expected, hauling such a relatively light weight was of little consequence to the F-150 – the powertrain barely needed to break into a jog.
The key, was how safe it all felt.

There’s a specific tow/haul drive mode which alters power delivery (to avoid wheelspin), while you can permanently keep the rear-view camera on to keep a watchful eye over how the trailer’s behaving and help avoid hazards. It’s handy, but the Lariat’s larger screen here would be more beneficial.

The length of an F-150 plus trailer has its challenges. Dropping the green waste off at the tip required a three-point turn – it became a nine-point turn – simply due to the dimensions involved. Turning circle here is gargantuan.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 touchscreen

Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist function brings a dash-mounted knob to steer in your chosen direction while watching the screen. This turns the steering wheel for you (witchcraft), making easier work of the always mind-scrambling ways a trailer points when reversing.

You must input trailer dimensions – not great when renting one like I did – but no dramas for trailer/van owners.

I was concerned the F-150 was going to struggle off-road – its weight, wheelbase and sheer size are not ideal for soft sand beach and trail driving. Interestingly, this truck weighs a relatively impressive 2471kg, helped by a liberal use of aluminium in its construction. It’s actually a few kilos lighter than the Ranger Raptor.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach driving front

Shifting into deep snow/sand drive mode automatically moves it into 4 High (it’s not a full-time 4×4 remember), and then into neutral before engaging 4 Low. It’s a simple, clunk-free process. I kept highway pressures in the tyres, but even so, driving through deeper soft sand presented no issue. It confidently and easily ploughed through.

Much like smaller pick-ups on our market, the leaf sprung rear comes into its own going over a beach’s mounds, dips and trenches. It absorbs imperfections so well that without question there’s a comfier, more settled ride here than when driving on typical bitumen roads.

Our only off-road issue was tighter trails where you must be conscious how much vehicle you’re navigating through gaps. Tight corners and short humps are a challenge for the F-150’s massive wheelbase.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 4wd selector

Town life is a mixed bag. Positively, you sit trucker-like high so the forward visibility’s superb. But as noted, parking spaces and tight road lanes are major challenges. In the city you feel obnoxious, and rest assured other road users (and pedestrians) are pouring scorn in your general direction. At least they get out of your way in a hurry.

If you’re used to a dual-cab ute, the F-150’s everyday ride is familiar. It’s slightly jittery at low speed on urban roads, then goes bouncy – especially in the back – when hitting larger road bumps. At speed on good roads, or especially highways, it’s plushness personified.

It’s an insulated setting, minor road imperfections are swiftly dispatched and the V6 petrol engine can barely be heard. Bit of a shame that, as it makes a pleasingly tough-guy growl at higher revs.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 driving front

Okay, you’re losing the hollerin’ USA V8 under the hood here, but Ford’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol is no pussycat. There’s serious shove on tap, the pickup genuinely surprising in its eager acceleration.

In Sport mode the grunt keeps coming in a wave of constant pull, although the on board computer instantly shows how this plunges fuel economy.

Credit, too, to Ford’s 10-speed auto. There’s the occasional low speed clunkiness, but it generally glides through its many cogs imperceptibly, ensuring an overall smooth, unstressed experience.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach driving rear

Our RHD F-150’s use a modified version of the Ranger Raptor’s steering rack. There’s reasonable response as a result, while control is light and easy. But don’t go looking for any sort of engaging feedback.

Same with handling. Ford Australia praises the F-150’s “agility and nimbleness” but this can only be when measured against a container ship, surely?

But credit where it’s due, such a high riding, weighty and lengthy unit handles well considering, giving confidence in turns as long as you keep steering, accelerator and brake application smooth.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach driving side

It isn’t a vehicle to hustle around. It doesn’t like quick direction changes and in the wet you must treat it with respect and caution. Do so and it rewards with a safe-feeling and compliant drive, all the while keeping comfort to the fore.

The noise aside, you won’t miss a V8 here. A better offering would be Ford Australia, doing what Toyota has done with the Tundra and, importing and converting North America’s 320kW/773Nm Full Hybrid V6 F-150. Its 9.8L/100km would be the more desirable choice going forward.

What is the Ford F-150 XLT’s interior and tech like?

When there’s a $100,000+ price tag attached, I can’t be the only one who expects a decent level of luxury and goodies. Truck or not, you feel a bit hard done by in the XLT’s workmanlike cabin.

The massive cloth seats are comfortable and feel hard-wearing, but join the dashboard and small infotainment screen in feeling economy class. There are too many hard plastics, and the pop-up door buttons, for example, feel more Christmas cracker toy than something suited to a six-figure vehicle.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 interior
Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 front seat

This is slightly tempered with the ability to electrically adjust front seats numerous ways, and then power adjusting the foot pedals too. You’ll have no trouble tailoring an ideal driving position, although annoyingly, no memory seats in this XLT grade.

Kudos must be given to the right-hand-drive conversion job. The wrongly-angled screen aside, it’s very hard to see the joins. Ford Australia said it wanted factory good or better, and it’s been achieved.

Everything from the dashboard, heating and ventilation, control buttons, seats, gear shifter and instrument panel are either new or re-engineered, yet we encountered no rattles, squeaks or dodgy shut lines.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 shifter

Front seating is vast, the column shift adds to the truckie experience (and is actually nicer to use than the Lariat’s central shifter), and padding is good for arms and elbows on long trips. Storage space is mighty, and an Esky-sized central bin under the arm rest opens to reveal a folding tray, large enough for a laptop or set out a picnic lunch.

Ford’s SYNC 4 communication and infotainment is, by now, a well resolved operating system. It’s clean, rapid and menus make solid sense, while the voice control has a decent hit rate. CarPlay and Android Auto are wired, while this XLT lacks wireless phone charging. The screen itself, and the cameras, don’t have the clarity and sharpness expected.

Its analogue gauges fit the bill for an unfussy work truck, but there’s also a large digital driver information screen feeding you vitals. It’s easy to navigate and gives most of the information you need, but already looks a generation old next to more modern drive displays.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 armrest
Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 armrest folded down

Rear seat space is almost comically huge. For our off-road adventuring we folded up the back seats, basically leaving a walk-in cavern suitable for camping equipment and recovery gear. The floors are nicely carpeted, so sleeping back here wouldn’t be much of a chore.

With seats in place you can easily fit three adults across the back. Headroom and legroom are mega, but these seats not being able to recline or slide forward feels like an opportunity lost.

You sit too upright, so sacrificing some of the not-needed legroom for reclining chairs would make sense.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 back seat
Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 back seat up

There’s storage under the rear seats, but not a proper solid box as found in the Lariat. Those in the back score USBs, air vents and padded door armrests, but no central armrest.

The tub itself comes with a protective Tough Bed spray-in bedliner, plus Boxlink cargo locking cleats.

Of course it’s a decent sized area, but isn’t notably larger than the likes of Ford’s Ranger. Again, the long wheelbase option looks the smarter choice here. The LWB also ups payload capacity to 794kg: our SWB is 769kg.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 tray

There’s no smart access step in the rear bumper (as found in the Ranger), and lowering and raising the tailgate takes some muscle if you need to clamber in. A lack of box lighting or any load cover is frustrating.

Our test F-150’s car alarm mysteriously went off at least four times, once simply when a car drove past it when parked up.

Is the Ford F-150 XLT a safe car?

No ANCAP crash test has been performed, although its US equivalent, the NHTSA, gave the 2023 F-150 a maximum 5 star overall rating. It’s not transferrable due to the significant re-engineering carried out in Australia.

American tests showed it performed well in frontal and side crash tests, but achieved only 4 Stars for rollover resistance. In the latter, it out-performed its RAM and Chevy rivals, and its Ford Ranger stablemate.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach driving front 2

While driving such a behemoth gives the impression of safety, we must remember these F-150s weigh around 2.5-tonnes unladen. They take longer to pull up than smaller vehicles, don’t corner as well and it’s a big vehicle to quickly manoeuvre in an emergency.

They’re more hazardous to vulnerable road users too. They’re tall and blunt, making them far more dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists. North America’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says these pickup trucks are almost 45 per cent more likely to cause death in a collision with a pedestrian.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach front far

The XLT features some core active safety kit as standard. Most useful are AEB, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. In town, the latter is indispensable when backing this beast out of parking spaces.

There are no front sensors nor a 360-degree camera on the XLT. These really should be standard considering its price, and how useful they are to prevent urban bingles. They are fitted to the Lariat, as is speed sign recognition, evasive steering assist and intersection assist.

Standard safety inclusions on the F-150 XLT:

  • Six airbags
  • Rear view camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Ford Pro-Trailer Back-Up Assist
  • Auto emergency braking (AEB)
  • Blind spot warning
  • Rear cross traffic alert (including with trailer)
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Driver alert system

What are the Ford F-150 XLT’s ownership costs?

Want to hear something funny? It costs less to service an F-150 over five years/75,000km than it does a Ford Ranger V6 diesel.

The big American costs $2076 over that period, over $500 cheaper than Australia’s best-selling Ranger.

As it’s been right-hand-drive converted under Ford Australia’s watchful eye, the brand’s normal five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty is applied. This is average for the industry.
Combined economy is an official 12.5L/100km, while our test – town, towing, off-road and highway – returned a reasonably close 13.5L/100km.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 badge

There are no official numbers for urban or highway use, but we saw an impressive 8.5L/100km over 100km at 110km/h when cruising unladen in Eco mode. Town use was a different story. Chugging through traffic had numbers over 20L/100km. Another reason to not own an F-150 if your majority use is urban.

At the servo it feels like you’re filling a swimming pool: it’s a 136L tank. But positively, that gives over 1000km between fills. Negatively, don’t expect much change from $300 when you do.

The honest verdict on the Ford F-150 XLT

Don’t buy an F-150 XLT unless you need its tough guy capabilities. You’re paying well over $100k for a truck that’s short on cabin goodies, drinks like an 80s stadium rocker, misses key safety and convenience items, and is a cumbersome liability to regularly use in town. I ended up leaving it at home if I knew I’d be parking in the city.

But if you need 4500kg towing, some off-road clout and a cabin with acreage, this XLT’s a convincing beast. If raw ability are more important than the Lariat’s showy (but admittedly lovely) luxuries, there’s no sense spending more.

Ford F-150 XLT SWB 2024 beach rear 2

For practicality sakes, I see no reason to not get the LWB version for a brilliantly long tub. Both SWB and LWB are huge and a pain in town, so you may as well go all in with the longer version for an extra $995.

If the F-150’s fit for your purpose, the value proposition looks strong. The RHD conversion is praiseworthy, while the turbo V6, impressive chassis and cabin space make it a versatile unit for towing, off-roading and cruising.

Just check you really, really need such a big rig before signing up.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs

Variant tested XLT SWB (4x4)

Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

3497 cc
Twin Turbo
298kW at 6000rpm
678Nm at 3100rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
136 litres
12.5L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
1088km (claimed)
5884 mm
2030 mm
1995 mm
Unoccupied weight
2451 kg

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