New Car Reviews

One Week With: 2016 Ford F-150 XL

Trying out the twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6

It’s just after sunrise as I creep along the foggy Santa Barbara shoreline in a brand new, Oxford White 2016 Ford F-150 XL. I park a few feet short of the small waves crashing onto the stony beach, shut down the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, throw my legs across the F-150’s three-person bench, and enjoy some early morning caffeine as dew quickly collects on the truck’s giant windshield.

This is a modest XL model, but its steel wheels look great, the cloth seats feel fantastic, and the vinyl floors are easy to wipe down. They’re simple treatments done well. After taking in the cabin for a while, I realize about the only thing I truly dislike about this particular F-150 is its shabby audio system.

While you expect a full-size truck that starts at $34,995 to have bottom-dollar features and can appreciate when they’re thoughtfully executed, should you expect them in a truck that costs $41,500, like this 2016 Ford F-150 XL does? Seems like a lot for something with steel wheels, no? No—this F-150 is perfectly optioned and justly priced, and here’s why

2016 Ford F 150 XL cabin

An inexpensive equipment package, 101A, adds humble niceties such as cruise control and power windows, which include the SuperCab’s rear half-door windows. Options include a rearview camera ($250), storable tailgate step ($375), a 36-gallon fuel tank in place of the standard 23-gallon tank ($395), and a spray-in bedliner ($495). The $770 FX4 off-road package adds skidplates, hill-descent control, off-road suspension dampers, and an electronically locking rear differential with a shorter final drive. The $895 towing package pairs a Class IV receiver with Ford’s all-new Pro Trailer Backup assist system, which lets you steer a trailer with a knob while the F-150 controls its own steering and speed.

Then there’s the absolutely fantastic 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, a $795 option. Its peak torque number is only 12 lb-ft shy of the equally awesome 5.0-liter V-8 and it’s the most fuel-efficient engine available in the F-150, and has a stop-start feature that further aids the cause. With a bit more bore and some tuning for its turbochargers, this refined and charismatic engine could and should replace the bigger, 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which puts out only 40 more hp and yields similar payload and towing capabilities.

While $41,500 is a lot for a truck without carpeting, it is money well spent, wisely and in the right places. On top of an attentively built foundation are a short list of simple luxuries, a long list of over-the-top slogger systems, and a seriously impressive little engine. This F-150 leaves me wanting very little, besides better weather and a better sound system.

2016 Ford F 150 XL side profile

2016 Ford F-150 XL 4×4 Supercab Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $34,995/$41,500 (base/as-tested)
Engine: 2.7L twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6/325 hp @ 5,750 rpm, 375 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 6-passenger, front-engine, 4WD truck
EPA Mileage: 19/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in
Wheelbase: 145.0 in
Weight: 4,782 lb
0-60 MPH: N/A
Top Speed: N/A

Buying Guide
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2016 Ford F-150

2016 Ford F-150

MSRP $26,840 XL 2WD Long Bed Regular Cab

EPA MPG:

18 City / 24 Hwy

Towing (Max):

9,100 lbs.

Payload (Max):

1,910 lbs.