Ford F-150 Lariat King Ranch
by Dan Strong
If you want to understand a country, take a good look at its cars. Ford's all-American F-150 Lariat King Ranch is a good example. Based on the US's best-selling F-150, a rugged and utilitarian pick-up truck, the newcomer - available at select dealers throughout the UK - combines the agricultural simplicity of a commercial vehicle with the luxury and space of a limousine.
Its leather-clad interior and upmarket, colour-coded bodywork offer a strange mix of can-do brawn and refinement that is currently without comparison in Britain. The 300bhp, 5.4-litre V8 powerplant is torquey, but lacks the mid-range punch you'd expect from such a big unit. The auto gearbox is crude, and the selectable four-wheel-drive system clunks happily as you pull away
from a standstill, thanks to the slack in its limited-slip differentials. At 70mph, the car feels remarkably settled, although given its size and weight, it's not particularly responsive. It also returns an extremely poor 11mpg.
There are further problems in town. The Ford is so wide its mirrors overhang the markings at the edge of the road, while tight turns require you to carve a wide line to allow for the massive rear. That aside, there's no doubting that the F-150 offers a curious appeal, even for UK drivers.
It's a monster of excess, a little rough around the edges and totally unsuited to British roads. However, it is fun to drive, and a real talking point - it's just a shame that with such poor fuel economy, it costs so much to run.
With its massive bulk and unusual blend of refinement and robustness, driving the F-150 is a novel experience. However, the car's massive size undermines its appeal. We suspect that this is one Ford that won't become a familiar sight on UK roads.
At a Glance
* F-150 Lariat is Ford's flagship luxury pick-up in the US
* 5.4-litre V8 propels it to 110mph