[Originally published February 25, 2015]
Since the invention of modern pickups, there have only been three companies – all domestic – embedded in the collective consciousness of North Americans. Dodge or Ram, depending on the day, has been building pickups since 1921. The ‘GMC Truck’ name first appeared as early as 1912. But Ford beat General Motors by 12 years when, in 1900, Henry Ford built his third vehicle. It was a truck (though, to be fair, Ford’s first truck-specific chassis wasn’t built until 1917 and their first factory-assembled truck rolled off the line in 1925).
To say the Big 3 domestic automakers know trucks is like saying IBM knows a thing or two about computers. Or that Marilyn vos Savant, lauded as the “World’s Smartest Woman,” is kind of bright.
Speaking of vos Savant, in 1990 she encountered a problem similar to that experienced by pickup buyers of today.
The television game show Let’s Make A Deal presented by Monty Hall was first shown on NBC in 1963. The show would regularly give contestants a choice of three doors or curtains; behind one of them a fancy-new car and behind the other two a goat or other live animal the contestant likely wouldn’t want to pay taxes on nor take home as a prize.
A contestant would blindly choose a door or curtain – let’s say it’s door #1. The host would then show what was behind door #2 or #3, revealing one of the unwanted livestock. He’d follow up his reveal by giving the contestant an opportunity to stay with the one they originally picked (door #1 in our case), or switch to the other unopened door. Your call.
Vos Savant, now a columnist for Parade magazine (where she solves logic and math problems submitted by readers), was asked some decades later: Is it to your advantage to switch your choice of doors?
Small displacement no longer means small performance
Ford, with their virtually infinite resources, took a calculated gamble when deciding to go down the aluminum-bricked road. And while I could go on and on about the intricacies of aluminum-alloy body construction, seven hundred pounds of weight savings, and all the talking points Ford would love me to stick to, I won’t.
Yes, the aluminum body is important. So is the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 sitting under the new-fangled aluminum hood atop the equally new-fangled fully boxed frame. Important also is all the best-in-class boasting a pickup truck buyer is used to and takes into consideration whenever he or she is about to spend copious amounts of coin.
But, it’s how it drives, how it feels, and how it performs in adverse conditions that you want to know. So, let’s stick to our own script.
As we set off from Quebec City in a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 powered F-150, one thing was apparent from the get-go: turbos make a difference. As we navigated the tight streets of arguably Canada’s most European of cities, the F-150 was nimble and never felt too big. Stop-and-go driving was a cinch. Best of all, the new EcoBoost-powered pickup delivered commendable fuel economy, though not as good as an equivalent Ram EcoDiesel.