2013 Ford F-150 Review and Prices
The 2013 Ford F-150 is the best full-size pickup truck for you if you want to tap into the industry’s broadest array of cab, bed, and powertrain combinations.
Changes to the 2013 Ford F-150 will likely be limited to incremental alterations in trim or features. Don’t expect significant changes in styling or deviation from a lineup that offers three cabs and a class-leading four cargo bed lengths. No adjustments expected – or needed – to a powertrain roster consisting of four worthy engines and highlighted by the acclaimed EcoBoost turbo V-6, which delivers the power of an eight-cylinder with fuel economy of a six. Tweaks to options groups and a continued push for creative appearance packages probably will carry this full-size pickup through to its next full redesign, likely in model year 2015 or 2016.
Should you wait for the 2013 Ford F-150 or buy a 2012 Ford F-150? This truck’s core alignment of styling, features, and powertrains is locked in and won’t change dramatically until the next generation rolls out for model-year 2015, at the earliest. It might be reasonable to wait if you’re willing to gamble that before then Ford will make this pickup available something radical like a four-cylinder EcoBoost turbo engine or the F-150’s first diesel. Otherwise, the 2012 F-150 is available with most anything a pickup buyer could desire and at prices that won’t suffer from model-year-changeover increases, like those of the 2013 F-150 almost certainly will.
2013 Ford F-150 Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Ford F-150 won’t look drastically different from the 2012 F-150, even if Ford surprises industry prognosticators and freshens the grille or messes with other exterior details. The bold blocky character will remain consistent with the shape introduced with the F-150’s last full redesign, in model year 2009.
No rival is likely to challenge the 2013 F-150 for cab/bed variety. Competitors will continue to match its lineup of two-door regular-cabs and six-passenger extended-cabs (here called the SuperCab) and four-door crew-cabs (SuperCrew in Ford parlance). But the 2013 F-150 is likely to remain the only big pickup to make each cab available with a choice of short- and long-bed cargo boxes measuring 5-feet-5 inches to 8 feet, depending on cab configuration.
The 2013 Ford F-150 lineup will again start with tools-of-the-trade basic models, ascend to luxury-car-grade upscale versions, and include halo specialty models. Expect the mainstream line to escalate through XL, XLT, SXT, and FX models, the luxury branch to include Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum iterations, and the specialty arm to feature the off-road-performance SVT Raptor and motorcycle-icon-honoring Harley-Davidson editions.
Likely to return are various dress-up packages, such as the matte-black-trim FX appearance option and the snakeskin upholstery available on the Harley-Davidson model. And don’t be shocked if they’re joined by other trendy or inventive combinations as Ford moves to sustain interest in a pickup approaching the end of its design cycle.
Mechanical: The 2013 F-150 will be the beneficiary of several important mechanical improvements made to this pickup over the past couple of years -- and could introduce a few of its own, though they’re unlikely to be as significant as those made for model-years 2011 and 2012.
For 2011, the F-150 received a new powertrain lineup, followed for model-year 2012 by traction enhancements that included its first available “full-time” four-wheel-drive system, plus some unique and creative off-road features.
Baring the highly unexpected, such as introduction of a turbo four or a diesel engine, the 2013 F-150 will return with a choice of four engines, a six-speed automatic transmission, and the option of rear-wheel drive or two types of four-wheel drive (4wd). The basic 4wd system would remain a “part-time” system not for use on dry pavement, augmented by h a more convenient full-time 4wd that can remain engaged on all surfaces without risk of drivetrain wear. Addition of full-time 4wd to the F-150 catalog matched a feature already available on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s and on the Ram 1500. Ford reserved the full-time system for model-year 2012 Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models but could extend it to less expensive F-150 variants for model-year 2013.
The 2013 F-150’s underhood lineup should again begin with a dual-overhead cam 3.7-liter V-6 returning at some 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. (Think of torque as the true muscle behind acceleration and pulling power and, to most truck buyers, more important than horsepower.) Maximum towing capacity with this engine should remain around 6,100 pounds.
Engine selections likely will again climb from there to a dual-overhead cam 5.0-liter V-8, which should remain rated around 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Most 2013 F-150s with this engine should again be capable of towing 9,800 pounds, sufficient to pull all but the largest boats and trailers.
The other V-8 available in the 2013 F-150 will again be a single-overhead-cam 6.2-liter V-8 with an output of some 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. Expect the 6.2 to remain standard on the Harley-Davidson and Raptor models and available beyond there only on SuperCrew F-150s. With extra-cost heavy-duty or trailering packages, 2013 F-150s with this V-8 should again be capable of towing 11,300 pounds, which very likely will remain the highest trailer rating in this half-ton-pickup class.
Interestingly, 2013 F-150s equipped with the EcoBoost V-6 also are apt to remain rated to tow up to 11,300 pounds. This 3.5-liter six employs advances such as two turbochargers and direct fuel injection and in the 2013 F-150 should retain ratings of around 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This EcoBoost six should again be optional on all versions of the 2013 F-150 except regular-cab short-beds and the Raptor and Harley-Davidson models. Ford can be expected to again fit 2013 F-150s equipped with 4wd and the EcoBoost with a 36-gallon fuel tank for a claimed range of 756 miles between fillips.
Hill-Start Assist to prevent rolling back on steep upgrades should remain standard on all 2013 F-150s. So should an electronic locking rear axle on F-150s equipped with the EcoBoost V-6 or the 5.0-liter V-8. The 2013 Raptor will return with its specialized off-road suspension and tires and a standard Torsen locking front differential for superior grip in low-speed off-road conditions.
Features: The 2013 Ford-F150 will continue with a lengthy inventory of features suited to most any mission, from work-truck tough to premium-sedan plush.
In the former category will be a front center console that can hold two laptop computers and has molded ridges to accommodate hanging file folders. A mobile-office dashboard-mounted computer that can connect to the Internet (with a wireless data subscription charge) and link to wireless printers and other peripherals will return among the options. So will Ford’s Tool Link feature that helps track tools and other portable equipment via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags; it’s a cyber hedge against misplacing or leaving these items behind.
The 2013 F-150 isn’t likely to adapt the side-wall cargo storage of the Ram 1500’s RamBox but should again offer side-mounted plastic tool bins that hold 60 pounds and double as beverage coolers. Also expected back for 2013 is a Midbox enclosed storage system that provides protective, lockable storage without eating into usable bed length. Same for a cage-type bed extender that folds away when not in use. Metal steps that slide from beneath the cargo bed’s sides or tail will also remain available.
Towing assists for the 2013 F-150 will again include a factory-integrated trailer-brake controller, plus trailer-sway control that selectively applies the brakes and modulates engine power if a trailer becomes wayward. Also available will be a rearview camera situated to give the driver a view when parking or when backing up to a trailer hitch. And the 2013 Raptor will remain available with a clever off-road front-camera system. A class-exclusive when introduced for model-year 2012, the front-bumper-mounted video camera displays on the dashboard navigation screen a view of off-road obstacles otherwise hidden from the driver.
Standard or optional, depending on model, the 2013 F-150’s upscale features will again include such amenities as heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery (some with contrast-color stitching) and rear-seat DVD entertainment. Also available will be a navigation system that includes voice activation, an 8-inch dashboard touchscreen, and the subscription-based Sirius Travel Link system, which can furnish real-time traffic and weather conditions, local gas prices, movie listings, and sports scores.
Ford’s a leader in onboard infotainment and the 2013 Ford F-150 will again be available with the automaker’s Sync multimedia control system developed with Microsoft. Sync enables voice control of audio and navigation functions and incorporates Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone and music connectivity and a USB iPod interface.
If the company perceives a demand among its pickup buyers for the MyFord Touch add-on to Sync, that system could be among the features newly available on the 2013 F-150, though MyFord Touch as installed in other Ford and Lincoln vehicles has come under criticism for its confusing operation.
One feature certain to return to the potential benefit of families with young drivers is Ford’s MyKey system. This allows parents or guardians to limit top speed to 80 mph and audio volume to 44 percent of maximum; it can also encourage seatbelt usage by disabling the audio system until occupants buckle up.
2013 Ford F-150 Prices back to top
Prices for the 2013 Ford F-150 were not announced in time for this review but they probably won’t change much from 2012 F-150 prices. That suggests an estimated base-price range for the 2013 Ford F-150 of $24,095-$53,200. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Ford’s fee for the 2012 F-150 was $995.)
Here are our 2013 F-150 base-price estimates, arranged by cab type. Note that optional engines and features can increase these figures substantially.
Regular-cab models: Estimated base-price range for 2013 F-150 regular-cab short-bed models is $24,095-$28,885 with 2wd and $28,830-$32,310 with 4wd. Estimated base-price range for 2013 F-150 regular-cab long beds is $24,490-$29,200 with 2wd, $29-100-$32,610 with 4wd.
SuperCab models: Estimated base-price range for 2013 F-150 SuperCab short-bed models is $28,00-$36,200 with 2wd and $31,430-$39,500 with 4wd. Estimated base-price range for 2013 F-150 SuperCab long beds is $28,300-$31,800 with 2wd, $31,730-$36,135 with 4wd.
SuperCrew models: Estimated base-price range for 2013 F-150 SuperCrew short-bed models is $31,700-$45,520 with 2wd, $35,850-$48,700 with 4wd. Estimated base-price range for SuperCrew long beds is $32,885-$45,820 with 2wd, $38,465-$49,100 with 4wd.
Estimated base price for the 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is $43,765 in SuperCab guise and $46,665 in SuperCrew form.
The 2013 F-150 Harley-Davidson model is likely to return only as a SuperCrew crew cab with an estimated base price of $49,915 with 2wd and $53,200 with 4wd.
Among key options, expect the EcoBoost V-6 to again be a roughly $1,900 upgrade from the 3.7-liter V-6 engine and, on models that come standard with the 5.0-liter V-8, an $895 replacement for the V-8. By comparison, it should again cost about $1,000 to upgrade a 2013 F-150 to the 5.0-liter V-8 from the 3.7-liter V-6.
2013 Ford F-150 Fuel Economy back to top
EPA mileage estimates for the 2013 F-150 were not released in time for this review but should not change much if at all from 2012 F-150 ratings. Expect 2013 F-150 fuel-economy ratings to generally equal or exceed those of competing full-size pickups with engines of similar power. The exception would again be the EcoBoost V-6, which would repeat gas-mileage ratings consistent with of those of rivals’ V-6s but furnish as much power as many of their V-8s.
Expect fuel-economy ratings for 2013 F-150s with the 3.7-liter V-6 to remain 17/23 mpg city/highway and 19 mpg combined with 2wd and 16/21/18 mpg with 4wd.
For 2013 F-150s with the 5.0-liter V-8, figure fuel-economy ratings of 15/21 mpg city/highway, 17 mpg combined with 2wd and 14/19/18 with 4wd.
Fuel-economy ratings for 2013 F-150s with the EcoBoost V-6 should remain 16/22 mpg city/highway, 18 mpg combined with 2wd and 15/21/17 with 4wd. Many automakers recommend or require premium-octane gas for their turbocharged models but Ford probably will continue to say the 2013 F-150’s EcoBoost V-6 is tuned to run on less expensive regular-octane gas, like the other F-150 engines.
Expect 2013 F-150s with the 6.2-liter V-8 to remain rated at 13/18 mpg city/highway, 14 mpg combined with 2wd and at 12/16/13 mpg with 4wd. Fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 F-150 SVT Raptor are likely to remain 11/16 mpg city/highway, 13 mpg combined.
Note that Ford will almost certainly categorize the 3.7-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 as capable of running on E85, the 85-percent-ethanol, 15-percent-gasoline blend. Running E85 won’t make much performance difference but will reduce miles per gallon by 15-20 percent, detracting from savings at the pump available in some regions where E85 is supported by government price subsidies.
2013 Ford F-150 Release Date back to top
The 2013 Ford F-150 should be in showrooms by fall 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Ford F-150 back to top
Ford could throw industry observers a curve and make this generation F-150 available with an EcoBoost four-cylinder or a diesel engine, but those sorts of changes are more apt to be part of the truck’s next full redesign, which is on track for model year 2015 or 2016. Of course, the current-generation F-150 probably will receive minor trim updates, new colors, even slightly revised styling details and almost certainly additional special packages before its run is complete.
Expect the next-generation F-150 to be lighter in weight than today’s truck, and perhaps even a bit smaller in size, as Ford joins every other automaker in measures that’ll help it satisfy tightening federal standards that require corporate fuel-economy averages of 35.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Applying advanced computer-aided design and the latest high-strength materials, Ford probably can produce future F-150s sturdy enough to perform the vast majority of tasks today’s buyers require of a half-ton pickup. And tidier mass would go hand-in-hand with smaller but still-powerful high-tech engines, so everyday performance probably won’t suffer much.
Still, a V-8 as the F-150’s mainstay engine might become a thing of the past and truckers who truly need big-boy towing muscle and payload capacity probably will gravitate in even greater numbers to heavier-duty pickups, such as the F-250 and F-350.
2013 Ford F-150 Competition back to top
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500: General Motors is set to restyle and re-engineer these half-ton siblings for model-year 2014, making the 2013 versions the last of a design generation introduced for model-year 2007. That’s prehistoric for a pickup and the swan-song 2013 Silverado and Sierra will continue to show their age in cabs that aren’t as spacious or efficiently laid out as those of rivals. Powertrain choices won’t include any overachiever turbos, but GM’s workhorse 5.3-liter V-8 will again head an engine lineup of one V-6 and two V-8s that gets the job done. However, the 2013 Silverado and Sierra will likely return with the only hybrid powertrain available in a pickup. The gas-V-8-electric-motor setup works well and rates a decent 21 mpg combined city/highway, but it’s pricey and in low demand. Proven ability, conservative styling, and a wide range of cab and bed choices at competitive prices is the foundation for the wide appeal of the current-generation Silverado/Sierra. If that speaks to you, there should be great deals on outgoing 2013 models. Expect a model-year 2013 base-price range of around $23,000-$51,000.
Ram 1500: Formerly the “Dodge” Ram and now marketed under parent-company Chrysler’s new Ram truck brand, this half-ton continues to lead the field for refined ride and handling. That’s thanks to its exclusive coil-spring rear suspension that takes the place of the rougher leaf-spring setup used by every other half-ton pickup. Spacious cabs, in-your-kisser styling, and a nice array of cutting-edge convenience and infotainment features bolster the Ram 1500’s appeal. The 2013 version will suffer for one last year with a tepid base V-6 before replacing it with the stronger corporate Pentastar V-6 for model-year 2014. That leaves us recommending one of the two V-8s: the 4.7-liter is adequate, but the star of the show is the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with its 407 pound-feet of torque. Expect the 2014 model-year to also bring freshened styling and updating engineering and features, making the 2013 Ram a bit of a lame-duck. As the model year advances that should spell attractive discounts off the estimated 2013 Ram 1500 base-price range of $22,770-$44,700.
Toyota Tundra: This is another half-ton looking at a model-year 2014 redesign, making the 2013 Tundra the final edition of a good pickup that never quite lived up to its potential. Introduced for model-year 2007, this generation Tundra is the first import-brand pickup to challenge the full-size domestics for brawn, power, payload, and towing. Teething woes, economic turmoil, and domestic-brand loyalty conspired to keep Tundra behind Toyota’s sales projections. But there’s plenty of virtue here, including roomy cabs and a good selection of cabs and beds – though no full-time 4wd availability. Bypass the V-6 for one of the V-8s, a get-me-by 4.7-liter or the stout-by-any-measure 5.7-liter with its 401 pound-feet of torque. And look for close-out deals on 2013 models as Toyota prepares to greet the all-new 2014 Tundras. Estimated 2013 Tundra base-price range is $26,630-$45,000.