The Ford F-150 is the most popular full-size truck in America. For 43 years straight, the Ford F-Series pickups has been the nation’s best selling truck. Even looking at the industry as a whole, the F-Series has been America’s best selling vehicle overall for 38 years in a row. These records are likely never to be broken, and F-150 sales aren’t slowing down anytime soon.
Generation after generation, the F-150 undergoes changes that improve performance, capability, reliability, comfort and technology. Ford engineers strive for excellence, and constantly push the envelope to make the F-150 the best overall full-size truck in the industry. This should give buyers the peace of mind that if there ever was a pickup truck they could feel confident about purchasing used—it’s undoubtedly the Ford F-150.
Top Five Model Years for the Ford F-150
1. 2010 Ford F-150
The 2010 Ford F-150 is special in particular as it was the first model year for the SVT Raptor. As the F-150’s most capable off-road trim, the SVT Raptor set the industry ablaze from the very moment of its release. There had never been a full-size pickup as well equipped as the Raptor for off-road tomfoolery straight from the showroom floor. With an available 411-horsepower 6.2L V8 borrowed from the Super Duty line, it was equally as exciting to drive in a straight line too.
2. 2011 Ford F-150
2011 was a milestone year for the F-150. The long-running 4.6L and 5.4L Modular V8 siblings were retired and replaced with a 5.0L V8 and 3.5L twin turbocharged EcoBoost V6. With 365 horsepower on tap, the new EcoBoost powertrain not only offered greater performance than both outgoing powertrains—but also far better fuel efficiency as well. As the oldest model year available featuring the 3.5L EcoBoost V6, it’s the most affordable option for those looking to dip their toes into twin turbocharged power.
3. 2014 Ford F-150
The Ford SVT Lighting produced from 1999 to 2004 is often lauded as the greatest factory production performance truck ever made. Its supercharged 5.4L V8 engine sounded like a rabid hyena under full throttle, and its 380 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque could liquefy a set of rear tires in no time. Though it’s a well-kept secret, the long-awaited successor to the Ford Lightning was released for the 2014 model year. Built on a regular cab, short bed F-150 chassis, the Tremor was Ford’s first sport truck release in a decade. Available in both RWD and 4×4 configurations, the Tremor is a riot to drive with its 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine rated at 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers aren’t far off from the Lightning, and the one-year-only Tremor certainly flies under the radar as an unsuspecting sleeper.
4. 2015 Ford F-150
2015 marked the first year of the thirteenth generation of the Ford F-Series pickups. This generation saw a revolutionary redesign—particular in the interest of saving weight. Nearly every body panel was switched from steel to aluminum, resulting in weight savings of nearly 750 pounds. Its frame remained high-strength steel however, so there’s no need to question its award-winning safety and durability. The 2015 F-150’s stark weight loss resulted in greatly improved performance and fuel-efficiency over the previous generation model.
5. 2018 Ford F-150
The 2018 Ford F-150 is particularly appealing due to the transmission changes that occurred across the model lineup. Previously, a six-speed automatic transmission was the sole offering on all powertrain configurations. In 2018, however, a new 10-speed automatic became the standard unit paired with the 2.7L EcoBoost V6, 3.5L EcoBoost V6, 3.0L PowerStroke V6 and 5.0L V8 engines. With four-additional forward gears, the new 10-speed automatic did a much better job at keeping each powertrain in the optimum torque band—resulting in quicker acceleration times and improved fuel efficiency.
Ford F-150 Model Year to Avoid
While not all 2004 F-150 pickup trucks are bad (see: Lightning, Ford) this particular model year along with other 10th generation trucks were known for their quality control issues. Cheap plastics adorned the interior, power window regulator failure was inevitable and the common aluminum hood corrosion was certainly an eyesore. If you can look past these faults however, the 2004 Ford F-150 is still a solid pickup with a proven track record.
For another review of the best F-150s made, check out our blog that features the seven best used F-150s since 2010.