Pickup trucks are as synonymous with the USA as apple pie, and the vehicle segment has dominated sales for years on end. After all, why shouldn't they? Pickups are workhorses, they're big and durable, can go anywhere, and ride on massive, powerful engines. Among all the pickups in the United States, inarguably the most popular truck ever is the Ford F-150. The best-selling pickup truck in America for over four decades straight, the Ford F-150 is the undisputed king of the hill in the segment, and for good reason. Since its introduction in 1975, the Ford F-150 pickup truck has been the trendsetter in the pickup segment.
Be it changing the way the world perceives pickup trucks, making them more stylish, bringing a new era of performance-focused pickup trucks like the original SVT lightning, redefining factory-made high-performance desert-running trucks like the Ford Raptor, or normalizing the electric vehicle segment through the F-150 Lightning, the F-150 Ford has done it all. With almost half-a-century of heritage and history, let's take a look at the legendary legacy of the Ford F-150.
The Ford F-Series had always been a trendsetter in the American pickup market. Since its inception in 1948, Ford built the chassis and platform for the F-Series from the ground up, rather than building trucks on passenger-car platforms. As such, in the sixth generation, the F-Series welcomed its newest entrant, the F-150, which was set to change the game yet again. The F-150 Ford brought in a new era where pickup trucks were no longer just utilitarian workhorses, but rather an aspiration vehicle that was stylish as well as comfortable. With its refined body shape that was rounder than any truck previously, the F-150 ditched the workhorse-only image, offering not just new, stylish looks, but an overall more aerodynamic design that improved its fuel efficiency.
Three years later, in 1978, the Ford F-150 first donned its iconic rectangular headlights, along with a spectacular-looking new front grille, all of which combined to make it a vehicle that everybody wanted to be seen driving. On the inside, the Ford F-150, right from its early models, offered more comfortable seating and convenience for its occupants. Early F-150 Ford trucks featured insulation to reduce road noise, too. This is how early models of the Ford F-150 pickup truck set a new benchmark for the rest of the industry to follow.
Ford has always kept the F-150 updated with the most cutting-edge engineering and technology, which has helped the truck remain the incredibly popular vehicle that it always has been. From introducing Shift-on-the-Fly four-wheel drive to the F-150 in 1980, to the high-performance SVT Lightning F-150 truck in 1993, the Ford F-150 has consistently offered fantastic new tech that hasn't just kept it the most desirable vehicle, but has often forced other manufacturers to follow suit, thus setting new industry standards. In 1993, a new, high-performing variant of the F-150 Ford arrived, which was the SVT Lightning.
Armed with 240 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, this F-150 Lightning SVT truck could do 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds. In its second generation in 1999, right at the turn of the century, the SVT Lightning made a whopping 380 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, dashing from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds! With its supercharged V8 engine, the Ford F-150, in its SVT Lightning avatar, is renowned for bringing the industry into a new era of high-performance, speed-focused pickup trucks.
The Ford F-150's history is rich with new and advanced strides in technology, and in 2015, one of the biggest moments in the truck's history came, when Ford made the F-150 with an all-aluminum body. This radical step in engineering and design paid dividends, as the F-150 was lighter, stronger, and a lot more efficient. Of course, it doesn't come as a surprise that contemporary truck manufacturers decided to go down the same route, cementing once again the postilion the F-150 has held in influencing market trends for decades. After all, it has been the most popular truck in America for an impressive 46-year streak.
Ever since 1975, Ford has made it a point to make their F-150 not just a strong workhorse, but also a comfortable truck that the family could spend time in pleasantly. As such, the F-150 Ford has always had some of the greatest tech and features to boast of. From introducing their EcoBoost engine technology into the F-150 in 2011 that offered direct fuel-injection with turbocharging, to the Ford SYNC infotainment system in 2007 that is still going strong in its third generation, Ford's advanced tech has always kept the F-150 modern, updated, and on top of the segment.
The F-150's advancements don't stop at the cabin, either. In 2010, Ford introduced the F-150 SVT Raptor, which flipped the script on factory-made high-performance off-roading trucks. With its massive V8 engine, cast-aluminum control arms, and specialized long-travel suspension, the Ford Raptor immediately became the new benchmark for high-speed off-roaders straight from the factory. In fact, the 2023 F-150 Ford Raptor R, making 700 hp and 645 lb-ft torque, is still one of the best possible off-roading trucks anyone could buy.
Ford introduced their all-new EcoBoost engine in 2009, which was aimed at delivering impressive power with remarkable efficiency. Two years later, they put the EcoBoost power plant in the 2011 F-150. Armed with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 motor, the F-150 made a remarkable 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, delivering up to 22 miles to the gallon. The innovation for the F-150 Ford didn't stop there, as efficiency went up after the all-aluminum F-150 came onto the scene. In 2021, Ford also introduced their first F-150 hybrid model, offering up to 624 miles on a full tank of gas, and the hybrid F-150 delivered 24 miles to the gallon. Making a combined 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque, the hybrid F-150 isn't just extremely powerful, but also impressively efficient.
Similarly, in 2018, the first diesel-powered F-150 delivered not just the best-in-class torque, but also the best towing capacity. Plus, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine in the 2018 F-150 delivered fantastic fuel efficiency.
In 2022, Ford fully embraced the EV wave, delivering the first all-electric F-150, the Lightning. The F-150 Lightning has been a watershed moment in the automotive industry, with the most popular vehicle in one of the biggest auto markets in the world going electric. Not only did the F-150 deliver on everything the traditional F-150 does, but it also manages to go above and beyond in its ADAS features, in-cabin technology, and could even power your own house for up to 10 days! Most recently, however, Ford has stopped production of the F-150 Lightning to address potential problems with the electric truck's battery pack. There are also some less-popular options that the F-150 is dropping, like the Lariat SuperCab configuration. As of now, a 2023 Ford F-150 costs 33,695 to begin with. Neither the regular F-150 nor the electric F-150 Lightning is being entirely discontinued, considering the F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles on the planet, and has been for decades consistently.
Inarguably one of the most important vehicles and pickup trucks to ever come off an assembly line, the F-150 Ford has consistently set new benchmarks and trends in the industry, always setting new standards for the rest to follow.
Sources: Ford2023-06-04T14:08:53Z dg43tfdfdgfd