2015 Ford F-150: Can It Replace a Luxury Sedan?
Edmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited September 2015 in Ford
At a recent automotive event I attended, an automaker rep told me that approximately half of his brand's heavy-duty truck sales come from the luxury trim levels. It would seem the humble pickup truck has gotten pretty ritzy this past decade. This got me to wondering: given the rise of the luxury truck, would you consider buying a fully-loaded pickup truck instead of a luxury sedan?
When I use my truck, I go off road and end up smacking into things (hillsides, trees, rocks), I scratch the living heck out of the paint, I bump bumpers, and I get filthy muddy/dirty. Ever try to use a touchscreen with mud caked hands that were just hooking a tow strap onto your tow hook? How would you feel when your luxury vehicle starts sliding down a slick, muddy trail into the hillside or off the side of the trail (as the Edmunds Jeep Cherokee Limited did not that long ago)? http://www.edmunds.com/jeep/cherokee/2014/long-term-road-test/2014-jeep-cherokee-limited-in-the-soup.html My truck hit a stand of trees, sideways and hard, when this happened to me a few weeks back. A few character marks never hurt any truck, unless you paid $50 grand for it...
If it wasn't all about image, most of the luxury car market would disappear.
A lot also have large toys - big 25+ feet boats and travel trailers larger than my first apartment. Can't haul that with a Mercedes ML... so they have HD trucks that are also luxed up inside. I see quite a lot of King Ranch and Longhorn trims on the road as "family vehicles." Yes, for work you wouldn't use those trucks - but that's what the company truck is for, and if you're a contractor you'll have a "bush truck" that you don't mind beating up.
I will say that its always driven me nuts for the "Platinum" versions that had that silverback-like thing for the tailgate. Always seemed tacky to me.
You also have to get a full-blown crew cab model, if you want a useable back seat. The extended cab, quad cab, whatever models have a thin, short seat that's mounted too low, and has a backrest that's too upright to be comfortable for a long ride. And even with the crew cab models, those back seats are a bit on the thin side, and despite their massive external dimensions, they're not as big inside as you might think.
I guess when I think of "luxury car", I think of something like a Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, Audi A8...and to a lesser degree maybe a Cadillac DTS or Chrysler 300C. IMO, any of those cars would seat four people in comfort better than a crew cab pickup would. The pickups would be better if you needed 3-across seating in back, simply because of greater shoulder room.
Now, I'm not saying a pickup isn't capable...and they CAN do a lot of things a luxury car can't do. But, the two are still two totally different categories, IMO. I'd say pickups have pretty much replaced the "standard" full-sized car...the likes of the Ford Panther, the old Caprice, etc. As those big, RWD cars went away, people who still wanted something big moved to a truck, as what the auto makers were trying to pass off as "full sized" cars just weren't cutting it.
BTW, I guess I should disclose that I drive a 2012 Ram, regular cab, long bed. Base model. It does what I need it to, and I'm happy with it, but it would never be able to pass off as a viable replacement for a luxury car.
For me, as the owner of a 2014 Ram EcoDiesel 4x4 Crew Cab Big Horn, I wanted a vehicle that could tow a car on a trailer or a camper (which I only do once or twice a year), go off road or in the snow in a pinch (which I may do once a year), be able to haul bikes, gear, handle home depot trips or a scoop of mulch or dirt here and there, have a cab big enough for my family with a car seat, have good safety features, be comfortable as it is my daily driver to and from the fire station, and have a well-appointed interior with a nice stereo. Oh, and get good MPG to boot. Through 17k miles now, this truck (and the trucks I have owned before it) has passed muster as a "jack of all trades".
Does it tow like a 3/4 or 1-ton truck? No. Will it off-road like a Discoverey? No. Will it haul as many people as a minivan (we also own an Odyssey)? No. Is it as luxurious as said Mercedes or BMWs? No. If you have a need for a true hauler, or off-road beater, or family cruiser, or lux sedan, then you will be hamstrung by the inability of that specialty car to do much else.
Everything is a trade-off, and these luxury or near-luxury trucks do a great job of covering most bases for a reasonable (I paid 41k plus fees) price.
Even so, the price I paid, after $3500 in incentives and $1100 destination and dealer fees that I could not negotiate out of was around $28.5K. However, if someone can forgo the convenience package 101A and can forgo chrome or sport trim, which I couldn't becuase I'm addicted to cruise control and a truck couldn't be found without one of those exterior trims and still contain the convenience package which included cruise; he or she could negotiate and get into a F150, probably, for about $26K before taxes and registration. And that's including the fantastic, new 2.7 Ecoboost engine and transmission and aluminum and quiet steel and electronic steering and braking technologies and all other important technolgoies that is found in the $61K truck; only with two less doors. Yes, I understand the $61K truck has all these convenience, luxury, and entertainment, and connectivity features that everyone must have in a transportation device [sarcasm]; but as far as driving and riding and exterior utility, I've got everything the $61K buyer got, except that my truck maneuvers better at only 4168 lbs; I get decent gas mileage with the regular rear axle ratio from which the EPA estimates are derived from; and I can actually drive it around town without a need for a ground guide. Also, of course, I don't feel like I'm impressing anyone with what I've chosen to drive, and that's fine by me. I also feel like I got a little better value than most who buy new trucks.
My point is that people are actually paying more than double for luxury, convenience, connectivity, and status symbol in a 1/2-ton truck than others who get alot of the same, important features and the same mechanics. An additional point is, it is this high demand for these high priced versions of pickup trucks and this low demand for something more practical that makes it hard for people like me who want and need value from a pickup truck.