You can tell a lot about a person by what they drive: sports cars, wagons, hatchbacks, minivans and of course, pickup trucks. But within the truck classification, there’s a multitude of options that further define a persons role in life, or at least his weekend ambitions.

I’ve already written two “How I’d Spec It” pieces; one on a mid-trim Silverado 1500 for the budget-conscience family, the other on the Ram 3500 HD as an all-out towing rig designed to move the world in a single load. But what about the folks in the middle? It seems like everybody is ditching their sedans and flocking to the pickup as their daily drivers. But these “urban cowboys” are often unwilling to trade in the leather seats and moonroofs of their sedans for a vinyl bench and a crappy, four-speaker AM/FM radio.

That’s who I’m targeting with this build.

My imaginary customer is a well-off, middle-aged man with an active family and places to go. He wants a truck that can tow his new boat down to the Florida Keys while offering decent fuel economy during the week. Ford’s new 2015 Ford F-150 fits the bill for this guy, as it offers several choices in the luxury department, so let’s get to building.

Since the truck is a replacement for this guy’s daily driver, he’d be smart to choose the Lariat option. It might not be as decked out as the range-topping Platinum or as rustic as the King Ranch, but the Lariat offers all the important amenities. Of course, the truck needs to have room for the family, so the four-door SuperCrew is the way to go. The 5-foot, 6-inch box is plenty large for sports gear and coolers full of bottled water.

Ford’s standard engine for this configuration is the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. With the ability to tow 8,500 pounds, it will do the job just fine. Opting for 4WD offers greater confidence on slippery boat ramps, so that’s added as well. The price for this configuration without options: $46,050. But there’s more to add.

Continue reading for the full story

Packages

Ford’s Build and Price website allows for easy customization of a truck and that’s where all this info is from. After selecting the cab, bed, and powertrain configurations, the website moves to more detailed customization.

Ford’s Build and Price website allows for easy customization of a truck and that’s where all this info is from.

Available on the Lariat trim are two option packages. The standard “501” includes all the features normally found on the luxo-trim level, like the chrome grille, body colored trim pieces, tow hooks, power folding side mirrors, LED cargo box lighting, rear view camera, fog lights, 18-inch silver-painted wheels, ambient interior lighting, adjustable pedals, power sliding rear window, power and memory seats, and the 8-inch SYNC infotainment system with all the ancillary features included.

While those features are great, I’d opt for the next package up, which Ford calls 501A. It includes all the same stuff as 501, but adds all the safety equipment like Blind Spot Warning, Cross-Traffic Alert, remote start with remote locking tailgate, LED side mirror spotlights, HID headlights, and the handy 110-volt outlet on the dash. The option costs an additional $1,500.

Also on the list of needed packages is the Tow package. For $695, the truck gets an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler, an engine oil cooler, class IV receiver hitch, the Smart Trailer Tow Connector, an upgraded front sway bar, and the four- and seven-pin wiring connector.

As I write this, Ford is offering a $750 discount to opt for the navigation/moonroof/bucket seat upgrade, so that box is clicked as well. The price jumps $1,990 rather than $2,740 as a result.

Exterior

How I'd Spec It: 2015 Ford F-150 Exterior
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How I'd Spec It: 2015 Ford F-150 Exterior
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How I'd Spec It: 2015 Ford F-150 Exterior
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Alright, with all the packages sorted through, now it’s time to concentrate on the outside. Of course, color choices come down to personal preference (or whatever the dealer has in stock). For me, the Green Gem and Caribou two-tone color scheme looks pretty sweet and is hard to pass up. The two-tone option costs $250.

Other exterior options I’d include would be the spray-in bed liner for $475, the box side steps for $325, and the tailgate step for $375. And since this is a truck for the whole family, I’d opt for the chrome side steps at $695 to help this kiddos climb in.

Ford’s standard wheel with this trim level and cab configuration is the 18-inch, double-spoke, machined-aluminum unit with silver painted pockets. I have no reason to argue with that.

This leaves me with a green, tan, and chrome truck with HID headlights, LED side view lights, and a bed that’s easy to step into and well protected that’s to the spray-in liner. Pretty slick.

Interior

How I'd Spec It: 2015 Ford F-150 Interior
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Since opting for the Lariat trim package and the 501A option package automatically selects the majority of available interior options, there’s not much to look over here – though there are a couple key features that need attention.

And because our 40-something-year-old customer lived through the 1980s, he knows what real music sounds like.

First is the optional Inflatable Rear Safety Belts. They are essentially seat belts with airbags sewn into them, which helps lessen the risk of injury during a crash.

Since our imaginary well-off customer loves his kids, he opts to pay the extra $200. Secondly, because he likes his new truck and boat, and wants them to stop within a reasonable distance, he opts for the $275 Integrated Trailer Brake Controller.

And because our 40-something-year-old customer lived through the 1980s, he knows what real music sounds like. He opts for the $525 Sony sound system with 700 watts, HD Radio, and SiriusXM incorporated into the Microsoft SYNC infotainment system. Why not?

The only other real option left on the table is the all-weather floor mat set that cost $95.

Powertrain

2015 Ford F-150 Drivetrain
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Note: 5.0 V-8 engine shown.

The 2015 F-150 is available with a slew of engine options that range from a naturally aspirated V-6 to a detuned version of the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V-8. In between is the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 and the highly regarded 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

While the 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost are optional in the Lariat trim, I’ll stick with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost.

While the 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost are optional in the Lariat trim, I’ll stick with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost. The power-dense V-6 offers up 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. A decade ago, those would have been very respectable numbers from the range-topping V-8.

The new EcoBoost is built like a diesel. It uses the same compacted graphite iron material for its upper block section as the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 in the Ford Super Duty. The lower block is constructed from lightweight aluminum. Integrated exhaust manifolds are water-cooled and built onto the cylinder heads help keep turbo boost flowing.

The engine also features a variable-displacement oil pump and an Auto Start/Stop system to keep fuel efficiency up. A cartridge-type oil filter keeps landfill waste down as well.

All told, a properly equipped F-150 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost can tow 8,700 pounds on its hitch and to haul 2,250 pounds in its bed. Impressive stats, indeed.

Beyond the engine, the standard transmission is Ford’s six-speed automatic. Mated to the transmission’s output shaft is the two-speed, electronically controlled transfer case. Its shift-on-the-fly capabilities allow for quick transitions into and out of 4WD.

Ford does offer three choices of rear differentials with this engine and cab configuration. The no-cost option is the non-limited slip pumpkin with 3.55 gears. I’d pay the extra $470 for the 3.55 gears with the electronic locking differential. Pull a knob on the dash and both rear tires are locked together. No one-wheel-wonders here.

Pricing

Of course, all these options add up, and this truck ain’t cheap. With everything tallied up, the bill comes to $53,525. That might be hard to swallow for the traditional truck guy, but for the yuppie looking to swap his Mercedes or BMW sedan for something with a hitch and a bed, the price might be more reasonable. After all, it’s said more millionaires drive F-150s than anything else.

Conclusion

While this theoretical, well-off, yuppie customer ordered nearly available option on this mid-trim F-150, there are plenty of folks who can do without all the fancy do-dads. Things like blind spot warning systems and panoramic moon roofs are new additions to the modern pickup and people have been successfully driving trucks without those features for decades.

While this theoretical, well-off, yuppie customer ordered nearly available option on this mid-trim F-150, there are plenty of folks who can do without all the fancy do-dads

Still, these types of features are becoming more and more prevalent as more people plop down large sums of money on vehicles that used to be considered humble or even low class.

As long as trucks continue to grow in popularity with people from all economic classes, automakers will continue to add more high-tech and luxurious features to these workhorses, while competing with each other in the cold war of towing and payload numbers.

The F-150 Lariat offers a long list of these available options, so it makes a good choice in truck for the technophile.

Sure, General Motors, Ram, Toyota, and soon Nissan will have similar options wrapped in attractive packaging complete with miles of padded cowhide, so the choice is really up to personal preference. Let me know what you’d choose in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Gets expensive quickly
    • Won’t likely get used to its full capacity
What do you think?
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