On the Road Review: Ford F-150 Limited Powerboost Hybrid

Jumping out of last week’s GMC Sierra Denali into our polished-silver Ford F-150 Limited with the Powerboost Hybrid option will surely invite some comparisons.

Ford’s Powerboost uses the brand’s vaunted 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine and marries a 47-hp electric motor to the 10-speed automatic transmission. With 7.2kW of transferable power delivered via six outlets in the bed, your pickup is suddenly a generator on wheels that can electrify your house in a power outage, plus anything that needs juice at your campsite or jobsite. No one else currently has anything like it.

And like the Sierra Denali’s 6.2 V-8, this Powerboost Hybrid is the quickest F-150 you can order. Plus, it has EPA mileage ratings of 24-mpg city, 24-mpg highway and 24-mpg combined. Fast, fuel-efficient, Ford.

Meandering along the Midcoast between Brunswick and Freeport for 30 miles of spring exploring, the F-150’s trip computer said 26 mpg by the time I stopped for my lunch date. On the run north up the superslab to Bangor, the readout dropped to 18.2 mpg — about 1 mile per gallon better than the Sierra under similar driving conditions.

On day three, the cooler was secured in the bed and four of us headed out to savor five locations west of Belfast for Maine Maple Weekend. Our first stop in Morrill — Simmons & Daughters Farm — was already packed before the scheduled opening. Raffles, rides, lots of food, plenty of vendors and great maple syrup products (the maple hot dogs were really popular) got our sunny Saturday off to a great start. Ford’s trip computer — 22.2 mpg.

Next up was Kinney’s SugarHouse in Knox, up a rutted and muddy Abbott Road that encouraged that the Ford’s auto-mode 4WD button be activated — just in case. An impressive operation with plenty of sweet treats (the maple glazed donut holes!), the Kinney operation warranted the stop. By now, everyone is sampling the Ford’s features — heated rear seats, two-tone massaging front leather seating, plus the dual-panel panoramic roof. The GMC didn’t have the fancy roof, but it did have a useful color HID display, which the Ford lacked. Both trucks featured power running boards, with the Ford’s deploying as soon as your keyfob is detected.

A brief stop in Benton was followed by a longer ride to Sidney to a packed Bacon Farm maple operation that featured a 200-person line just to get into the sap house and store. We moved down the hill to the boat ramp on Messalonskee Lake for our packed lunch, using the Ford’s innovative folding shifter and flip-console cover for an impromptu table. Mileage was inching up to 22.6 mpg during our rural route drive.

Buyers can get the 430-hp Powerboost hybrid package on several trim levels. You do not ever plug in. The battery charges itself plus it provides additional torque, a very impressive 570 pound/feet of torque that gives the Ford up to 12,700 pounds of towing ability. Crew Cab F-150 pricing starts at $42,840 and ranges up to our Limited at $79,260, with 4WD. Delivery fees add another $2,340, while Powerboost hybrid pricing ranges from $1,900 to $4,495 — depending upon selected trim level.

With late afternoon approaching we hustled down Route 17 to Washington and veered into Blueberry Fields B&B for our final — and most informative — stop on our maple tour. The cooler was now full of multiple bottles of Maine maple syrup, plus we had sampled numerous delicious treats. Every farm was thrilled to be open again, and happy to have guests to sample their wares.

The same could be said of the Ford Limited. The hoodline is lower than the Sierra, offering more forward visibility. Both trucks featured 22-inch wheels — which aren’t great on spring’s rockin’ and rollin’ roads — so we’ll give the ride quotient a draw. The GMC might have handled slightly better, with less body roll in the turns, however the navigator commented that the Ford’s mirrors are lower and afford better lateral visibility for her — as well as the lower cutout at the leading edge of the doors.

The F-150 Powerboost was brimming with components that separated the interior from the Sierra, including a bigger user-friendly touchscreen with better navigation and Sync 4, plus better images from the 360-degree camera. LED spotlights on the mirrors, an on-board scale for tongue weights, plus the trailer steering app are big Ford pluses.

After 200 miles around central Maine, the Powerboost maxed out at an even 23 mpg. I didn’t feather the throttle all day, yet warmer weather and perhaps some Iowa-like terrain might prompt some higher efficiency.

The F-150 EV pickup arrives late this year — if things go right. The F-150 Powerboost is one heckuva bridge to that model.

Next week: Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff

Columnist at The Ellsworth American
Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles in the pages of The Ellsworth American weekly for nearly two decades.