The 2012 Texas State Fair formally opens its doors on Friday, meaning it’s once again time to celebrate American traditions including country music, deep-fried trans-fats, and pickup trucks. Speaking of the latter, Ford brought a few new tidbits tied to its 2013 F-150 pickup, including the revamped 2013 F-150 King Ranch edition.
THE NEW KING RANCH
Western-themed luxo-trucks are a dime a dozen, but Ford’s proud of the fact its King Ranch – which debuted in 2001 – was one of the first to reach the market. Ford’s also proud of the fact that its premium occidental pickup is actually tied to a Texas institution: the fabled King Ranch, located just south of Corpus Christi, which ultimately begat its own saddle shop and line of leather/consumer goods.
What’s new for the 2013 King Ranch models? A revised three-bar grille insert, for starters, which helps set the trim line apart from Ford’s rash of other premium F-150s, including the Platinum and the new-for-2013 Limited. If that’s not enough flash, an optional package applies chrome to door handle pulls, step bars, grille surround, tow hooks, mirror caps, exhaust tip, and the unique six-spoke, 20-inch wheels. As has been the case since 2001, a two-tone paint scheme is standard, though a monochromatic option – shown here on the white King Ranch truck – is available.
Interior appointments follow in the footsteps of Ford’s prior King Ranch products. All seats are trimmed in King Ranch’s signature Chaparral-colored leather, which contrasts with either the adobe or charcoal-hued interior panels. Front seat backs once again receive King Ranch logos, while the center console lid bears the ranch’s W-shaped brand marking.
2013 F-150 King Ranch models are available only in crew cab form, although buyers will be able to select between 5.5-and 6.5-foot beds, along with 4×2 and 4×4 configurations. King Ranch models receive Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 as standard equipment, though the twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 is available. Base pricing for a 4×2, 5.0-liter 2013 King Ranch starts at $44,510, including destination fees.
3.7-LITER V-6 TOWING
One engine not available on the King Ranch is the 302-hp, 3.7-liter DOHC V-6, but it’s also being foisted into the spotlight at the Texas State Fair. Much as it was in 2011 and 2012, the 3.7-liter remains the base F-150 engine in many trim levels – but it’s now rated to tow as much as 6700 pounds. That manages to trump V-6 competitors from Dodge, Chevrolet, GMC, and Toyota, but it also bests the 2012 F-150. Last year, an F-150 fitted with the 3.7-liter V-6 could tow as much as 6100 pounds, assuming it was a 4×2, regular-cab, long-box model with a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio.
What do we have to thank for the upgrade in towing capacity? Not a whole lot. Ford representatives tell us there aren’t any mechanical revisions tied to the new numbers. Instead, engineers reportedly looked at two years of real-world test data, and determined they could raise the tow rating by another 600 pounds. Of course, we’re sure it also appeases the marketing team, as Ford can now boast its V-6 F-150 can out-tow the new six-cylinder 2013 Ram 1500.
This sort of game is all too familiar in the pickup market, but until automakers adopt one common standard for towing tests – perhaps like the SAE J2807 standard many once pledged to use – it’s par for the course.