Canadians love their pickup trucks. For the last umpteen years in a row, the best-selling car in this country wasn’t a car at all (nor a minivan or SUV). No, it seems the top of our sales charts are perpetually awash with machines that have four-wheel drive and an open cargo bed. And from the perspective of our panel of expert judges, there’s none finer than the Ford F-150.
AutoTrader’s judges awarded Ford’s workhorse top marks – just like they did last year and the year before – for excellence in cabin comfort, technology advancements versus its competitors, and the availability of a wide range of powertrains. Engine choices range from a basic naturally aspirated 290-hp 3.3L V6 up through an array of turbocharged six-cylinder mills including a 2.7L unit making 325 horses, and a 3.5L V6 good for 400 ponies, plus a devastatingly powerful full hybrid powertrain that makes 430 horsepower and a stunning 570 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t long ago those numbers were the domain of Super Duty diesels. Those of you who still pine for a V8 roar can take home a 400-hp 5.0L V8 that brings the nostalgic goods. And on the other side of the spectrum, there’s also a fully electric Ford F-150 Lightning that puts almost everything you like about the truck into a zero-emissions package. Certain configurations of F-150s are capable of towing 14,000 pounds or placing 3,325 pounds in its bed.
Still, all the capability in the world won’t be of much use in a truck whose cabin is a penalty box. Ford engineers and stylists have worked hard to infuse the F-150 with an interior that can be equipped like a luxury vehicle. Top trims have massaging seats, fold-flat work surfaces, and standard driver assistance technologies that aim to help people face congested roads with safety and confidence.
Some trims can be kitted out with a 12-inch infotainment display, landscape-oriented to display a myriad of camera views or app information, paired with a reconfigurable 12-inch digital gauge cluster serving up truck vitals through crisp graphics. Even base model work trucks get an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless phone connectivity and Apple CarPlay.
Class-exclusive optional onboard scales can sense the amount of weight onboard the pickup (including the mass being exerted on the truck by that trailer you just hitched up) and displays stern warnings on the infotainment screen if you’ve strayed beyond the recommended payload maximum. For those times you’re outside the truck whilst overloading your beast of burden, the F-150’s smart taillights will illuminate in stacks of LEDs – like the battery charge status on your smartphone – to alert owners when they should stop piling things aboard their shiny new truck.
Also in the tech corner, this truck brings some innovative goods. Customers who select the hybrid powertrain would be wise to check the option box for a mighty 7.2-kW Pro Power Onboard Generator, a tool that turns the F-150 into a backup power station during power outages or when spending time at a remote campsite. Smart use of existing tech like electric power steering and a yaffle of sensors permit a properly equipped truck to make reversing with an attached trailer as easy as spinning a dial.
Prices run the gamut from $39,115 for a two-wheel drive regular cab work truck to pushing past six figures for a loaded SuperCrew Limited trim with a full hybrid powertrain and every option box checked. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find volume sellers like the SuperCrew Lariat and off-road focused beasts like the Tremor.
Our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country considered every single new truck available for Canadians to buy and voted for the best ones using a dozen different criteria ranging from safety and quality to efficiency and performance. These criteria are weighted with a critical eye to the segment’s intended purpose; for example, cabin comfort, clever features, and towing prowess were more important here than in the performance car category.
Canadians absolutely love our trucks, and the 2023 Ford F-150 lineup easily earns its AutoTrader Award and its spot at the top of the sales charts.