What is it: This is the cheapest model in the Ford F-150 line-up. There are two models: the basic XLT (tested) and the fancy Lariat which was more chrome and more technology.

Both are available in short wheelbase standard bed length (SWB) or long wheelbase long bed length (LWB) guise.

We tested the Ford F-150 XLT SWB. The Ford F-150 is sold through Ford dealers and with the backing of the Ford factory in Detroit.

The vehicles are shipped to Australia in left-hand-drive before they are remanufactured in right-hand-drive in Melbourne at a new facility established by Thai firm RMA which is entering the conversion market on scale for the first time.

Price: $106,950 plus on-road costs (as this review was published).

Engine: Twin turbo 3.5-litre V6 petrol (298kW/678Nm).

Transmission: 10-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive.

0 to 100km/h (as tested):

VBox time was 6.1 seconds. Mind-boggling quick. This is on par with the Ford Ranger Raptor twin turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol.

Our best VBox time was 6.05 seconds but an average of four runs showed 6.1 (plus my maths teacher taught me 0.5 rounds up). We tried again and again but cars get slower not faster the more you performance test them.

This is 1.2 seconds faster than the Ram 1500 V8 and 0.4 seconds faster than the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 6.2-litre V8 (313kW/624Nm) when we tested them.

Emergency braking from 100km/h (as tested):

VBox distance was 47 metres. Disappointing given the performance and the grippy highway tyres.

The Ram 1500 we tested pulled up in an impressive 42.8 metres on the exact same test surface.

This distance is longer than the 42 to 44 metre average we get when we test diesel double-cab utes.

Good points:

  • It might be the base model but it’s roomy and comfortable and feels luxurious thanks to the comfort of the suspension and the quietness of the cabin.
  • As we mentioned with Ram 1500, the interior of the Ford F-150 is bigger than a Toyota LandCruiser inside.
  • The centre console lid flips over to create a flat table to be used as a lap top work bench or somewhere to spread out your fast food.
  • The twin turbo V6 is perky and blows away both V8 rivals with ease. In fact it’s one of the fastest pick-ups on local roads (this side of the supercharged Ram TRX).
  • Massive cargo area with spray-on tray liner protection. Up to 4500kg towing.
  • Good fuel economy (10.5 to 11.5L/100km on our test, unladen).
  • Massive 136-litre fuel tank means you can drive from Melbourne to Sydney or Sydney to Brisbane on a single tank unladen.

Bad points:

  • The Ford’s V6 doesn’t sounds as good as the Ram V8 or Chevrolet V8, but all is forgiven once you experience the acceleration.
  • As with the Ram 1500 the halogen headlights are weak (LEDs would be a welcome upgrade) and I missed the lack of radar cruise control and speed-sign recognition on this model.
  • All of these concerns are addressed on the $140,000-plus Ford F-150 Lariat which has these features and more.

What the haters say:

These cars are too big for Australia.

What the haters don’t understand:

As we said with the Ram 1500, these cars are not much bigger than a Toyota LandCruiser, Nissan Patrol or Kia EV9 electric SUV – and yet people aren’t trying to ban those vehicles.

Australian sales data shows US pick-ups are primarily bought by people who live and/or work on the fringes of our metropolitan centres (not inner cities and inner suburbs) and use the vehicles to tow big boats, caravans, horse floats and heavy work machinery.

The Ford F-150 in particular has the advantage of Ford’s massive 160-plus dealership and servicing network (Ram and Chevrolet each have about 55 dealers nationally).

Should you buy one?

US pick-ups might seem intimidating at first, but you easily get used to the size of these vehicles in a few blocks. Everything else feels cramped afterwards.

It’s worth remembering these are the family cars of North America so they are engineered to be very easy to drive.

Also consider: Ram 1500 or Chevrolet Silverado 1500 V8 and (eventually) the Toyota Tundra V6 Hybrid when it goes on sale in Australia in 2025.