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2015 Ford F-150: Can It Replace a Luxury Sedan?

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
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?

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Comments

  • I just got back from a trip where I used my truck as a truck. There's no way I would ever pay for such a high price for a truck. The essence of a truck is that it gets beat up. A truck is about utility first, and if you add luxury into the mix you necessarily make the utility prohibitively costly.

    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...
  • nate001nate001 Posts: 102
    Given the choice between the luxury car OR pickup. it would be the pickup. My pick would be the RAM EcoDiesel, Its going be able to go on more trails then the a BMW ever would. if you plan to take it on narrow trails with trees and rocks then $50,000 is too much to spend. but if it is going to make runs to the hardware store or down a muddy road once in a while then it is the superior choice. its all about knowing the limits of the vehicle your driving (and maybe testing those limits once in a while).
  • Sorry, I don't understand the whole "luxury pickup" that costs $50k. It'd be like using a high end Mercedes SUV to load up on dirt and mulch at Home Depot. The F-150 starts new at half that: THAT is what I would be looking at and then add in an Edge too for trips.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I don't know if trucks will ever truly replace a luxury car. When you drop that much money on a vehicle, you're paying for more than features, styling, and utility. You're also paying for prestige. While I'm not going to dispute the comparative features of the truck over a luxury car, I will point out that people get excited about a high-end luxury car when they see it. An F-150 is still an F-150. Frankly, I think people are fools for paying what they do for vehicles in general. Even the car companies admit that the markup on a truck is outrageous.
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433

    Sorry, I don't understand the whole "luxury pickup" that costs $50k. It'd be like using a high end Mercedes SUV to load up on dirt and mulch at Home Depot. The F-150 starts new at half that: THAT is what I would be looking at and then add in an Edge too for trips.

    It's an image thing. How many people use their SUV to actually go offroad? The people who actually use their trucks for work activities (or any activity that bangs up the truck) usually gets the "contractor special." People who buy $50k trucks want the image of being tough and doing those adventurous things.

    If it wasn't all about image, most of the luxury car market would disappear.
  • It also depends on the demographic of where you live. Where I am (Northern BC) people are more likely to own a loaded truck - especially in the HD models - than they are luxury brands. Part of it is the fact that there are no luxury brand dealers (Audi, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus etc.) within 1000 miles. If something breaks you can't get it serviced. The other part is the snowfall that we get 5 months out of the year and the relative lack of plowing. When there's a good 2-3 feet of snow on the ground and school isn't canceled for the kids, these parents usually drive the kids to school rather than wait for the school bus that's probably stuck somewhere. Roads can also get bad here - and in some areas they are unpaved dirt, gravel or chip-seal for hundreds of miles. So it makes sense to have a truck or bigger SUV. I myself moved on from a Subaru Forester to a Ram 1500 because I was beating the Subaru up on these back roads when I went camping, hiking or biking.

    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.
  • The concept of a "Country Cadillac" -- a luxuriously optioned pick-up truck -- has been around for decades amongst the trailer-towing set and families who live in semi-rural locations. Work trucks for contractors are a separate segment, as are serious offroaders.
  • schen72 said:

    Sorry, I don't understand the whole "luxury pickup" that costs $50k. It'd be like using a high end Mercedes SUV to load up on dirt and mulch at Home Depot. The F-150 starts new at half that: THAT is what I would be looking at and then add in an Edge too for trips.

    It's an image thing. How many people use their SUV to actually go offroad? The people who actually use their trucks for work activities (or any activity that bangs up the truck) usually gets the "contractor special." People who buy $50k trucks want the image of being tough and doing those adventurous things.

    If it wasn't all about image, most of the luxury car market would disappear.
    Interesting point. In terms of SUV, the reality is that SUVs are really minivans without the Minivan stigma. The percent that use SUVs for their real intended purpose (transporting kids) is actually quite high. In terms of trucks? Who knows. Sure, a large percent will never tow and carry thousands of pounds of materials, but I would think a majority would want to use it for transportation tasks like moving and buying furniture.

    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.
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited September 2015
    Depends where you live. Where I'm from a fully loaded Ford F 250 King Ranch is more of a status symbol than any luxury car. The family car would be a GMC Yukon XL Denali or a Cadillac Escalade ESV. For me personally a truck should be able to be used as a truck. It should look better dirty than it does clean and you proudly remember every scratch and small dent as if they're war wounds.
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433

    schen72 said:

    Sorry, I don't understand the whole "luxury pickup" that costs $50k. It'd be like using a high end Mercedes SUV to load up on dirt and mulch at Home Depot. The F-150 starts new at half that: THAT is what I would be looking at and then add in an Edge too for trips.

    It's an image thing. How many people use their SUV to actually go offroad? The people who actually use their trucks for work activities (or any activity that bangs up the truck) usually gets the "contractor special." People who buy $50k trucks want the image of being tough and doing those adventurous things.

    If it wasn't all about image, most of the luxury car market would disappear.
    Interesting point. In terms of SUV, the reality is that SUVs are really minivans without the Minivan stigma. The percent that use SUVs for their real intended purpose (transporting kids) is actually quite high. In terms of trucks? Who knows. Sure, a large percent will never tow and carry thousands of pounds of materials, but I would think a majority would want to use it for transportation tasks like moving and buying furniture.

    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.
    I also don't get the "minivan stigma" that so many people have. Who cares what other people think of you based on what you drive? My DD is a 15 year old Acura that drives fine but looks like crap on the outside because it's parked outside. I'm old enough to not give a hoot about what people think of me. I actually think minivans are really nice, especially the top trims which are basically luxury cars -- but you can carry 7-8 people!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I'd have to say no. Part of the problem is that, to make the luxury version, they just take the same base interior and throw in leather seats, a few more gadgets, and maybe a little trim, maybe throw a door on the little cubby hole so it passes as a second glove box. But you still have a lot of cheap, hard plastic. It's like trying to call your Crown Victoria a luxury car because you got the LX instead of the GX.

    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.
  • I think people are going to buy a vehicle that fits their needs. If that need is to have the "image" then so be it. It's their money to spend, you just hope they are happy with their purchase.

    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.
  • I recently purchased a brand-new regular cab, 2wd, 2015 F150 and had to pay too much. I had to over pay, because of the scarcity of such a practical, make-sense-type of vehicle.. A regular cab, short bed, 2wd. You know...the same trucks that used to be seen everywhere.in this configuration that provide a smaller footprint for parking and getting around town. A truck anything close to what I wanted couldn't be found anywhere w/i 1000 miles of my home except for white work trucks with the fleet V6 engine in it, and so I lost some of my negotiating power by getting a dealer to find one for me that was close to what I wanted. If I had been willing to accept a super cab in similar trim at a local dealer lot, I might have paid no more than what I ended up paying for a regular cab.

    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.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,619
    From what I understand, as the second manufacturing plant ramps up, more basic trucks will be produced.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • 500rwhp500rwhp Posts: 98
    I live in Alabama and used to drive a supercharged Jaguar. My F150 Platinum routinely gets more compliments and people that want to talk about it. In my area, more successful men drive a high end pickup as their primary vehicle than a traditional "luxury" car. They ride well, are comfortable and do what you need them to and project a different image than those expensive cars. To that end, not only CAN it replace a luxury car.....they already routinely do.
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