2013 Ford F-150 SuperCrew King Ranch first drive review: Ranch Dressing

2013 Ford F-150 King Ranch

Ford’s F-150 King Ranch offers upmarket luxury with full-size utility.

Dallas, TX – In the development of Ford’s F-150 King Ranch there is, of course, a timeline. The King Ranch ‘brand’ dates the ranch’s origins to 1853, while students of the Ford Motor Company know Ford came along just fifty years later. Although the King Ranch logo has been applied to F-Series pickups for some dozen years, in 2013 the F-Series received a significant number of upgrades – and the King Ranch remained ‘king’ of the Ford lineup. If you sell pickups in Texas, it’s good to be king.

The marketing mavens at Ford strategically chose last fall’s State Fair of Texas for the rollout of this upgraded King Ranch. While the State Fair continues to resonate (for some) as the venue where Pat Boone attempted to bed Ann-Margret (a lifetime ago…), it is better known as providing the best selection of pickup beds in the Southwest. If you sell a truck you better be bringing it, along with your marketing team and dealers, to Dallas in the fall. To channel Pat Boone, the State Fair ‘is a great State Fair’. And for those into trucks, it may be the greatest…

2013 Ford F-150 King Ranch

Ford SuperCrew sits on a 145-inch wheelbase.

With the King Ranch menu of mods (“the original benchmark for luxury trucks”) already established, for 2013 Ford resorted to a handful of cosmetic tweaks, along with the choice of either a 5.0 liter V8 or ‘segment-exclusive’ EcoBoost V6. Our test vehicle, boasting a Kodiak Brown Metallic exterior (which looked like metallic black everywhere but in direct sunlight) and an Adobe interior covered in ‘Chaparral’ leather, was powered – to amazingly good effect – by the EcoBoost V6. And despite the proliferation of manly modifications which propel the F-Series into King Ranch royalty, those changes do little to mask the essential goodness of the F-Series platform.

Of course, the basic premise – and appeal – of Ford’s F-Series is well established. From workday hauling to weekend ‘malling’ Ford’s product team has seemingly arrived at the sweet spot in the work/play paradigm. And while any F-Series provides credible transportation, the King Ranch takes ‘transportation’ to its logical (or illogical – if you consider the $55K window sticker) end. These, then, are the initial impressions…

EXTERIOR: What’s not to like about a truck that looks like a truck? Although Ford has done as much as any OEM to maintain its corporate DNA while still moving the design parameters forward, updates to the F-Series exterior continue to reinforce Ford’s position as America’s #1 truck. Its big/bold front-end is framed by available HID headlamps, while its segment-exclusive power-telescoping and power-folding sideview mirrors allow you to see most of what’s behind you; notably, they can also double as a dressing mirror back at the ranch. We can take – but would rather leave – the King Ranch’s chrome alloys, but liked their 20-inch diameter and loved the Pirelli rubber (in a generous 275-55/R20 profile) surrounding them.

As noted, our test King Ranch was clothed in a Kodiak Brown metallic; although we’re uncertain what ‘Kodiak’ has in common with the King Ranch, the color choice was – at least subjectively – absolutely gorgeous. And while the SuperCrew’s 145-inch wheelbase seemingly stretches forever, the KR enjoys a nice visual balance, one that doesn’t overwhelm ‘til you find yourself in a tightly-drawn parking garage.