A popular Ford F-150 for sale, a light grey 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, is shown kicking up dust.

Setting the Standard: The F-150 Benchmark for the Truck Market

Over a century ago, Henry Ford asked Americans to think outside the box and consider a new possibility beyond their trusty steeds. His request wasn’t on a whim but after several failed attempts to launch a successful career in the automotive industry. He finally struck gold with the Ford Motor Company and the Model T, igniting an upward trajectory that forever changed the American landscape. Today, that legacy is apparent everywhere we look, from the return of icons like the Bronco to modern marvels like the Ford F-150 for sale at your favorite dealership down the street.

Henry Ford was an automotive pioneer; fortunately, that pioneering spirit didn’t die with him in 1947. Instead, it lives on in models like the F-150, which has been the best-selling truck in America for over 45 years. But what makes the F-150 so iconic? Moreover, how has it captured the hearts of American drivers year after year when we’re constantly looking for something new or better? Here’s a closer look at how the F-150 has managed an incredible feat in America’s automotive landscape and set the standard for the entire truck market.

#1 It’s Anticipatory

As the Model T gained traction among drivers, Henry Ford constantly looked for ways to improve its design. He listened intently to drivers, using their criticism constructively to develop more versatile and capable models like the Model TT truck. Debuting in 1917 with a sturdier frame and a one-ton payload, the Model TT made history as Ford’s first truck and set the stage for the automaker’s anticipatory approach to vehicle design. Today, that approach is one of the many reasons for the F-150’s success.

With the Model TT paving the way for the Model 50 and the F-Series, each new generation of Ford trucks marked a critical evolution in design and capability. That evolution wasn’t by chance but was well thought out to anticipate and respond to driver needs. Today, we see this in models like the all-electric F-150 Lightning and powerhouses like the F-150 Raptor R. Where the Lightning acknowledges the upcoming shift to an all-electric future, the F-150 Raptor R embraces our ongoing pursuit of adventure off paved roads. Both are anticipatory, offering everything we want and need in a truck even before we put those desires into words.

#2 It’s Innovative

In the best scenarios, anticipation breeds innovation. Automakers like Ford constantly look for ways to think outside the box, anticipating our needs and responding to them with innovative features and technologies. Today, trucks like the F-150 aren’t solely designed as capable workhorses; they’re also intelligent work partners that instill confidence in the person in the driver’s seat. The distinction is critical as the modern F-150 makes your job easier, whether navigating your weekday commute or towing heavy loads.

The F-150’s innovation comes in many forms, from the revolutionary SYNC 4A Infotainment system on an expansive 12-inch center display to trailering technologies like Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist. These trailer-specific features are anticipatory and innovative because they recognize the demands of towing a trailer and offer an ingenious solution that lessens the learning curve. With these technologies, navigating a trailer in reverse is as easy as turning a knob. On newer models, you don’t even have to turn a knob because the system relies on artificial intelligence to determine the position of the hitch, coupler, and trailer to expertly navigate your rig where it needs to go.

#3 It’s Built Ford Tough

The F-150 is synonymous with the “Built Ford Tough” slogan and has been since the 1970s when Ford introduced the tagline. While taglines often change in the automotive industry, Built Ford Tough has remained a cornerstone of Ford’s truck lineup. Why? Because it reflects the tangible value you experience anytime you’re behind the wheel of America’s best-selling truck.

For the F-150, Built Ford Tough means having a choice of powertrains and capabilities that match your definition of tough. The F-150’s expansive powertrain lineup runs the spectrum, from a 290-horsepower 3.3L V6 and 2.7L EcoBoost that produces 400 lb-ft of torque to a 430-horsepower 3.5L PowerBoost Full Hybrid V6 with 570 lb-ft of near-instant torque. Moreover, Ford makes it easier to harness that capability and power with selectable drive modes, letting you tailor the 2023 F-150’s handling and responsiveness when you’re testing its 14,000-lb towing capacity or making the most of its 3,310-lb payload.

#4 It’s Accommodating

What does it mean for a truck to be accommodating? Initially, there’s the idea that it can comfortably seat you and several passengers, but there’s more to it than seating capacity. The F-150 is also accommodating in a broader sense because Ford designs the truck to have wider appeal to every budget, style, performance, and capability need. What do I mean?

Consider the 2023 F-150 and its starting price of $33,695, which gets you behind the wheel of the F-150 XL. The base model is remarkably well-equipped and appeals to budget-savvy shoppers ready to put their hard-earned money to work. With an 8.0-inch center touchscreen display with SYNC 4 and a potent 3.3L V6 engine that delivers 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, the F-150 XL is the perfect gateway into the lineup.

The F-150’s accommodating nature extends beyond its entry-level trim because you don’t have to spend a small fortune to climb the lineup and invest in the F-150 of your dreams. Instead, there’s an F-150 for everyone. For example, the XLT builds on the XL by adding advanced driver-assist tools like Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert and Trailer Tow Coverage. The F-150 Lariat exchanges the standard 8.0-inch display for a 12-inch productivity screen and upgrades the engine to the 325-horsepower 2.7L EcoBoost V6. The upgrades continue to the luxurious King Ranch and Platinum trims powered by the 5.0L V8 engine, with the latter adding the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 suite with Evasive Steering Assist, Intersection Assist, and Connected Built-In Navigation.

Ford also welcomes the opportunity to showcase its penchant for lessening our carbon footprints with trims like the F-150 Limited, which offers a class-exclusive 3.5L PowerBoost Fully Hybrid V6 engine that delivers 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. With a maximum payload of 2,120 lbs and a 12,700-lb towing maximum, the F-150 Limited with its hybrid engine proves that you can go green and still reap the benefits of driving a truck that’s “Built Ford Tough.” It’s a win-win and showcases Ford’s efforts to accommodate every driving need with America’s favorite truck.

#5 It’s Adventurous

Ford’s pioneering spirit is readily apparent in models like the 2023 F-150 Raptor R, the most powerful F-150 Raptor ever built. The high-performance powerhouse showcases Ford’s anticipatory approach because it recognizes our constant pursuit of more power and capability on and off the pavement. The Raptor R answers our yearning for adventure, rolling off the production line with a 5.2L Supercharged V8 engine that delivers 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque. As the ultimate off-road warrior, the F-150 Raptor R is a desert-crawling icon that sets new benchmarks of excellence and raises the standards of what we expect from a truck.

A Living Legend and Industry Leader

In 2022, Ford sold approximately one F-Series truck every 49 seconds, for a total of 653,000 trucks sold throughout the year. Surprisingly, 2022 was a slow year for Ford, with sales dropping from 726,000 units in 2021 due to supply chain issues. However, one F-Series truck every minute is not a bad problem, especially since it earned the F-150 its 46th consecutive year as the best-selling truck in America.

It’s easy to see why the F-150 is a fan favorite in the automotive landscape. Ford takes a multifaceted approach with the full-size truck and anticipates our needs without veering away from the very components that make it Built Ford Tough. With a heavy dose of innovative technology, a broad range of power, and a trim for every driving preference, budget, and performance need, Ford has mastered the recipe for building America’s perfect truck.