TORONTO, Ont. -- As they say in sports, streaks are made to be broken, but to date no truck maker has been able to bring an end to a remarkable streak Ford has put together as Canada’s best-selling pick-up for 47 years. Think about that for a second. The F-150 has been the top-seller in Canada since the 60s. Pickups have changed drastically since then, but the one constant has been the F-150’s strength in the Canadian market. Yes, pickup owners are famously loyal, but give them an excuse to look around and they will. This long-running streak by Ford is especially impressive, given the quality of trucks brought forth by GM and Dodge. It’s not as though the F-150 has been without a worthy challenger.
I wanted to find out what it was about the F-150 that made it so much better in the eyes of the majority of Canadian truck buyers than the competition. I arranged the better part of a week with an F-150 – 2013 version – and drove it around the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara region. I didn’t put it to work, per se, but ran it over a few hundred highway and city kilometres, enough to get a feel for its handling and amenities.
The first thing you notice about the F-150 before climbing behind the wheel, is its handsome exterior with eye-grabbing stainless grille. I was given a regular cab 4×4 in worker white (Oxford White, as Ford dubs it) – the same truck you’ll find dotting virtually any construction site. The truck is incredibly comfortable to drive, with elbow rests positioned just right for a guy of my stature – 5’11” and two hundred and some (we’ll omit the latter digits) pounds. The view over the large hood is fine, but the cab configuration I drove rendered driver-side shoulder checks when changing lanes pretty much ineffective.
Ford compensates for this sizeable blind spot with large mirrors, and a second mirror inset on the driver’s side. These mirrors work well, and visibility shouldn’t be a major concern for drivers who use them well and are cognizant of other vehicles in their immediate vicinity. But if you’re going to have some less experienced drivers slip-seating behind the wheel, you may want to take note of the blind spots during your test drive. You could likely sidestep this issue altogether by choosing a cab configuration with better over-the-shoulder visibility on the driver’s side.
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