To appeal to high-end buyers who desire a full luxury-car experience, truckmakers are spending time and resources on high-end variants to appeal to them. GMC has its Sierra 1500 Denali, Ram has its 1500 Limited and Ford has the new F-150 Limited.
Despite attempting to attract the same type of customer, each manufacturer has a different approach to reaching torque-loving buyers. The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 that shares many components with the Chevrolet Corvette's powerful V-8; the Denali V-8 makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
Ram takes its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and attaches a 48-volt to the setup, making 395 hp and 410 pounds-feet of torque; it's boosted by 130 pounds-feet in some scenarios.
For Ford, differentiating its top-end model involves taking the powertrain from its halo-performance truck, the F-150 Raptor, and slotting it into a top-tier mainstream F-150. Power and torque remain unchanged in the transplant, giving the 2019 F-150 Limited a best-in-class 450 hp and 510 pounds-feet of torque.
To accommodate the Raptor engine's extra grunt, the F-150 Limited also receives a less restrictive exhaust with a dual-pipe setup that's also straight from the Raptor. The relatively new 10-speed automatic is standard, though you lose the paddle shifters from the Raptor if you go Limited.
How It Drives
The results, as you might expect, are intoxicating. Though our drive time was restricted to a single afternoon and torrential rain didn't help traffic, on the highway the F-150 Limited builds speed unlike any truck — outside of the Raptor — we've ever driven. Push the pedal to hit 50 mph and you're in go-to-jail territory in seconds. The truck seems to accelerate even quicker at speed when you hit the meat of the power and torque curve at around 70 mph.
Yes, of course, there's an appeal to a V-8-powered pickup, especially when considering outside sound. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost in the F-150 Limited doesn't sound like a V-8 when you hear it pass by. There's sound augmentation in the cabin to make it sound good, but it's not the same. In fact, for some, it may be downright dishonest.
Another criticism worth noting, when speaking of the competitive set, is that when unladen, the Ford F-150 Limited cannot match the ride quality of the Ram 1500 Limited's air suspension. Poor road surfaces around the test-drive location demonstrated that; while the F-150 is a fancy truck, it's still all truck. Of course, we know that the air-suspension Rams trade payload capacity for ride quality, while Ford's strategy is biased toward those who want or need to use their pickups like trucks, even when dressed for the opera.
All that being said, if you're looking for a hot-rod pickup truck, the F-150 Limited's power is what you want.
Inside the Limited
The interior of the new 2019 Ford F-150 Limited also receives a slew of updates. Trim pieces are made of real wood and real aluminum. The dash is wrapped in leather, and nearly all surfaces have soft-touch material. The Camel Back leather interior is the nicest interior we've ever experienced in a Ford vehicle.
Other nice touches include a suede headliner, heated and ventilated massaging seats, and a panoramic moonroof. The rear outboard seats are heated but aren't cooled and don't recline like in the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn and Limited trims.
It's hard to argue that Ram interiors are not the best in the business; the new ones are quite impressive. While Ford interiors are good, they aren't necessarily best in class anymore; although we will say the Limited's upgrades put the truck within striking distance of Ram's best interior. The Ford F-150 Limited definitely feels like a $70,000 pickup truck.
Like with the previous Limited model, the new version comes with nearly all the features standard. The Limited SuperCrew we drove had a base MSRP of $70,560. Options on the truck included the towing package ($995), tailgate step ($375) and a hard tonneau cover ($995). Add the $1,495 destination free and the truck we drove rang up at $74,420.
While it's hard to argue that that's not a lot of money, the power update, nicer interior and Ford-exclusive features make the truck feel like it's worth the price. And compared to the other luxury trucks, the pricing is in the ballpark with a lot more grunt. More importantly, the F-150 Limited has character. It's not an off-road machine like the Raptor, but the transition to a suit and tie didn't dilute the character of that powertrain. You'll want to mash the accelerator to the floor every time you drive.
That's fine by us.
Cars.com photos by Chad Kirchner