America’s favourite truck is earning its stripes Down Under.
Ford Australia has been testing the F-150 pick-up truck locally before it goes on sale in 2023.
The Blue Oval has put the big-rig through its paces hundreds of times at the Silver Creek Road durability track and done extensive testing at its You Yangs proving ground in Victoria.
Dave Burn, Ford Australia’s chief program engineer, says the company is making sure the F-150 will be able to handle Australia’s toughest conditions.
“We’ve torture-tested, tuned and reworked the right-hand drive F-150 so that Aussie customers know they’re getting the full factory F-150 experience. We’re doing everything to make sure the truck will be right at home here in Australia,” says Burn.
The F-150 covered more than 135,000km, or the equivalent of nine laps of Australia during its local testing process.
This included extreme weather testing, towing tests and a range off-road conditions and surfaces such as mud, fine sand and river crossings.
A hi-tech rig at the You Yangs facility tested the vehicle’s steering, wheels and suspension.
The F-Series, the world’s best-selling pick-up truck, will be sold in Ford dealerships with the same five-year warranty and customer guarantees as any other Ford.
Ford Australia will import the vehicles from the US and then convert them to right-hand drive locally.
The Blue Oval has contracted engineering firm RMA Automotive to “remanufacture” the F-150 in Australia, in an extensive process that requires far more work than a repositioned steering wheel and new dashboard.
Ford will sell the F-150 in well-equipped XLT and Lariat grades.
Both will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine making 298kW and 678Nm, matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
Ford Australia hasn’t revealed fuel use figures but in the US Ford claims the F-150 equipped with the same V6 engine drinks the equivalent of about 12L/100km.
Both variants will be available in short and long-wheelbase guise. The long-wheelbase version comes with an extended tray.
The company hasn’t revealed local pricing but expect it to be north of $100,000 once it hits the road.
Ford Australia claims that more than 8000 customers have expressed interest in the F-150 and thousands have already placed orders with dealerships.