Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'14 Ford F-150 Easy to Live With

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'14 Ford F-150 Easy to Live With

Article excerpt

2014 Ford F-150 XLT 4WD vs. 2014 Toyota Tundra vs. 2014 Chevrolet Silverado: Putting three trucks to the test. Week two -- Ford's turn.

Price: Around $36,000 as tested, with four-wheel drive and a 5.0 liter engine. (Ford arranged to borrow one through a dealer, so I didn't get a sticker like I normally do.)

Marketer's pitch: "37 years Ford F-Series America's best-selling truck." Spoken with Authoritative Announcer Voice, who cares about grammar and punctuation?

Conventional wisdom: Everyone keeps buying them, so they must be great.

Reality: Easy to live with, despite a few minor drawbacks, and one big one.

Catching up: With the introduction coming late this year of an all-new 2015 F-150 coupled with the continuous snows of the winter of 2013-14, it seemed like a good time to put some big rigs to the test. Last week we checked out the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Crew. This week's more bare-bones F-150 didn't include full-size rear doors or a full rear seating compartment like the Chevy. How does it stack up?

Up to speed: The 5.0-liter engine motivates the vehicle pretty well, with 360 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. Getting up to speed in a hurry comes without the loss of composure some big vehicles experience under full throttle. The exhaust note matches the Boss Mustang. Sweet.

On the highway: The handling on the highway is superb. Even though it's a giant vehicle, it doesn't feel crowded or boxed in when you're moving around at high speeds, even in narrow construction zones.

On the curves: The handling on winding roads sends one kind of reeling. The first curve really reminded me that it's a big truck. I wonder if this sure-footedness at high speeds is almost too reassuring, and puts people into bad situations on side roads. Still, it sounds like I'm faulting Ford for making its trucks too nice.

Ride: Not terribly bouncy, but the occasional bump reminds you it's a truck.

In and out: Entry-exit presents a challenge, at least with bags. It's a long climb up Mount F-150.

Cheap seats: I tested a budget version of the F-150 and the inexpensive seats provided great comfort. It was my first experience with manual lumber adjustment, and it works. …

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