America's favorite for a reason. The F-150 is the unrivaled leader of the American sales charts. In 2018, over 900,000 units of F-Series were sold, with the brunt of those going to the light-duty F-150. That number may seem a bit absurd, but Ford's carryall really is a champion at what it does. Be it hauling, towing, or just plain old commuting, the 2019 Ford F-150 is impressively adept.
Breadth of available powertrains. Part of the F-150's segment dominance can no doubt be attributed to the wide variety of engine options that are available across most trims. Ford offers no less than six distinct powertrains, giving consumers more choice as to what's under the hood than all competitors except the Chevrolet Silverado.
The engine to avoid is the gutless 3.3-liter naturally-aspirated V6 which anchors the two base trims. Above that, there's a pair of twin-turbocharged sixes built under the EcoBoost moniker. Most will be satisfied by the 325-horsepower, 2.7-liter motor, but the 375-hp, 3.5-liter is there for those demanding maximum power and capability. A diesel six, traditional V8, and a high-output 3.5-liter V6 round out the choices.
It's a comprehensive roster, and most engines are available on most trims. The result is a mix and match bonanza that goes beyond what's offered by the competition. Look across town and this becomes clear: the new Ram is only offered with a V8, a V6, and a V6 diesel. Chevy does in fact match Ford with six total choices, but isn't as generous as to what engine can be had where. For variety, technological advancement, and outright power, the Ford comes out on top.
Impressive capability. Traditional truck buyers might cast a wary eye on the F-150's heavily-turbocharged engine lineup. After all, how could a measly 3.5 liters out-tow or out-carry GM's 6.2-liter V8 or Ram's Hemi V8? In a segment where there's still no replacement for displacement, it's easy to doubt the ability of a gasoline turbo-six to get the job done.
But to do that would be to bet on the wrong horse. The F-150's 3.5-liter V6 doesn't just keep up with the big V8s it competes with – it in fact triumphs over them. Maximum towing capacity for a properly-equipped F-150 is 13,200 pounds. The new Ram, meanwhile, can pull up to 12,750 pounds, while the Chevy will tug along 12,200 pounds. Ford's own 5.0-liter V8 is rated for a maximum 11,200 pounds.
In the payload department, the 3.5-liter engine is again the top dog, hauling up to 3,230 pounds. It's an easy victory over the second-place Chevrolet (2,485 pounds) and the third-place Ram (2,300 pounds). The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan top out somewhere below the one-ton mark, though it has been some time since these foreign full-sizers have been competitive in the towing and payload race.
Competitive ride and comfort. Besides being able to work hard, trucks must also be comfortable and commutable. Despite being long as a bridge and as wide as Kansas, the F-150 excels at both of these tasks.
It's not just the schmancy King Ranches and Limiteds that are exceptionally good at providing everyday comfort and convenience. Hop into an lower trim like an XLT and the standard power amenities and Sync infotainment system make it feel like an supersized version of a Camry. Factor in the surprisingly hushed cabin and easy ergonomic controls and the comparison only becomes more apt.
Higher end trims add all sorts of gadgets, with the top-spec trucks boasting full leather interiors with contrasting stitching, power running boards, 10-speaker stereos, and more. Quality as well as fit and finish won't impress anyone coming from a Mercedes-Benz, but these higher-tier variants are nonetheless pretty posh places to spend time in.
The other domestic trucks, though, aren't slacking with their interiors, either. The new Ram is particularly impressive, both in quality of materials and feature count. With an available 19-speaker audio system and the biggest-in-class touchscreen, not to mention the slew of optional active-safety features, it's undeniably the nicer-appointed truck.
The Silverado's interior isn't quite as nice as the Ram but does run a tight race with the Ford. The winner will come down to what trim a buyer wants and what brand they're allegiant to. On the more affordable trims the arch-rivals are fairly equal; get to the upper end of the lineup and the Ford is nicer.
Final thoughts. Ford isn't dumb. Their bottom line isn't simply bolstered by the F-150, but dependent on it. Spin off the F-Series as a separate company and it would score a spot among America's top-selling brands while also taking with it almost 40 percent of Ford's yearly sales volume. Maintaining this level of success doesn't happen by resting on the laurels of nameplate equity. It means consistently building the best product possible and striving to set benchmarks instead of merely meeting them.
Spend some time with Ford's cash cow and it's clear that this is the case. Here's a truck that comes in more varieties than Ben and Jerry's ice cream, heralds class-leading capabilities, and is offered with powertrains more advanced and more powerful than any V8 available in this class.
In a very competitive segment, the 2019 Ford F-150 keeps up with or outpaces the best from Ram and Chevrolet. Don't be surprised when Ford sells another 900,000 units in 2019.