Sick of the unending parade of dull SUVs and crossovers crowding your neighborhood? What if you could accomplish all of your family’s business with a good old-fashioned pickup truck? Many drivers have had it with the vanilla styling and basic performance and capabilities that come with a typical family-friendly SUV. In the past, choosing a pickup as your primary family vehicle was unheard of, but the 2023 Ford F-150 Lariat can (surprisingly) fit the bill.
With very comfortable seating for up to five passengers, including a roomy rear seat that will keep the kids from throwing elbows to protect their personal space, the F-150 Lariat satisfies out-of-the-box families looking to break free from SUV dependence. Every F-150 Lariat is equipped with the same available cabin amenities and driver-assist safety technology sought by SUV buyers, but capability and utility are where the F-150 Lariat stands apart. Four available powertrains, available four-wheel drive (4×4), and upgraded off-road packages are on offer.
Having the utility of a pickup while also preserving the cabin’s roominess offers a different way to tackle family life. Adventurous families will appreciate such optional add-ons as the FX4 Off-Road Package, designed to outfit the F-150 Lariat with all the off-road-ready equipment necessary to reach remote campsites and expertly traverse challenging roads and trails. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad won’t mind getting Saturday errands done, thanks to the F-150’s comfortable ride handling and class-leading fuel economy. Is the pickup truck the new favorite family rig? Check out these surprisingly family-friendly F-150 Lariat features to discover the answer…
Feature #1: The Bed
Imagine piling into your family car for a trip to the mountains. The cargo area is filled to the brim with backpacks, suitcases, and coolers, blocking visibility and tempting young passengers to unbuckle in search of their stowed toys and snacks. Now picture your clan climbing aboard your F-150 pickup; your stuff is tied down in the bed with room to spare. You have a clear view of the road behind you and the kids are settled in while streaming their favorite content, their devices charging in their dedicated ports. Ah, harmony.
Truck beds get short shrift from busy families, but their utility is undeniable in just about every driving scenario. Team moms can toss stinky sports gear in the back without contaminating the cabin. The team EZ-up fits effortlessly too, eliminating the need to fold down seats and jam it into the cabin. Four standard tie-downs secure smaller gear, and the remote tailgate release, along with the available power tailgate, LED bed lighting, and embedded tailgate step facilitate easy bed access and a convenient process for loading and unloading, even at night.
Feature #2: Fuel-Efficient Powertrains
The 2023 Ford F-150 Lariat comes standard with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 that delivers a peppy 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Ford’s port-fuel and direct-injection (PFDI) technology and the engine’s twin intercooled turbochargers transform this efficient power plant into a performance superstar. Auto start-stop maximizes fuel economy, and the smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission delivers responsive acceleration and enough low-end torque to tow up to 8,600 lbs.
By upgrading to the available 3.5L EcoBoost V6, drivers unlock 400 horsepower along with a rumbling 500 lb-ft of torque, which increases towing capacity to a class-leading 14,000 lbs. For the best possible fuel economy ratings without sacrificing performance, drivers can outfit the F-150 Lariat with a hybrid 3.5L PowerBoost V6. This powertrain achieves 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway of estimated fuel economy, supports a payload rating of 2,120 lbs, delivers 430 ponies and a whopping 570 lb-ft of torque, plus it can tow up to 12,700 lbs. Rounding out the list of available engines is the only available V8, a 5.0L, 400-hp powerhouse that unlocks a max payload of 3,280 lbs.
Feature #3: Infotainment and Connectivity
Gone are the days of the barebones pickup truck with the hand-crank windows and stock AM/FM radio. Technology dominates the 2023 F-150 Lariat’s dash starting with the combination of two massive 12-inch displays: a center-dash-mounted Infotainment touchscreen and a fully functional Digital Driver Display. The former runs on Ford’s industry-leading SYNC 4 software, while the latter displays crisp digital data for easy monitoring of your speed, selected drive mode, fuel level, and more.
An afternoon of errands with the little ones in tow becomes easier with Ford’s two available upgraded audio systems. Let’s face it: the latest Kidz Bop album sounds a lot less grating on a Bang & Olufsen Sound System, especially when you spring for the available 18-speaker version that pumps out 1,080 watts. You might want to send the sound to the back, though, since two of those speakers are embedded in the front headrests.
Feature #4: Advanced Trailering Technology
Happy wife, happy life, right? Whether it’s mom or dad who takes the lead hooking up the family RV, parents can avoid the bickering that always seems to accompany connecting the trailer when they add on Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology. No more standing behind the truck directing the driver with ambiguous hand signals: instead, this system does the hard work for you. Coupled with the Dynamic Trailer Hitch Assist system, you’ll use the Infotainment screen and the displayed guidelines to expertly align your hitch with the trailer.
The system also helps you back up your truck when the trailer is attached. A simple knob lets you make micro-adjustments to steer your trailer into tight spots or maneuver a three-point turn. Best of all, everyone gets to stay seated comfortably in the cabin. Pro Trailer Backup Assist is especially useful at boat ramps, taking the guesswork and risk out of a task that can rattle even the most experienced drivers.
Feature #5: Gritty Off-Road Capability
While your neighbors are limited to asphalt with their trendy SUVs, you’ll be doors deep in mud, far away from suburban life–that is, if you choose the optional FX-4 Off-Road package. Doing so transforms the F-150 Lariat into a trail-ready beast. Among the many features included in the package are skid plates to protect the fuel tank and critical powertrain components, an electronic-locking rear axle to maximize traction, and rear monotube shocks.
Choosing the FX-4 Package also adds a Rock Crawl drive mode, which automatically adjusts key truck systems to provide maximum traction at slow speeds. The transmission holds lower gears longer for optimal torque and to minimize unnecessary shifting while traveling over rough and rocky trails. The steering adjusts to provide more control with less effort and braking is dialed in for better responsiveness and a shorter stopping distance during sudden adjustments. All of this comes together to create a truck ready to chew up any trail you put in front of it.
Are You Ready for Pickup-Truck-Powered Family Life?
Choosing a pickup to stand in for the ubiquitous SUV is a brave move for families. While the trend is gaining in popularity, expect to be in the minority among your neighbors and friends. Sure, the pickup body style isn’t as sleek as that of a luxury SUV, but have you ever tried to load long, bulky cargo or messy items like mulch into a tiny, enclosed cargo area? It doesn’t take long to start wondering if there’s a better way.
Pickup trucks offer a level of utility not found on an SUV, not to mention the simplicity of a truck bed for hauling just about anything. The 2023 Ford F-150 Lariat combines all the cabin bells and whistles with the capability only found on a pickup truck. Choose a 4×4 version and add the FX4 Off-Road Package and your rig is ready to take you camping in the mountains or down that bumpy dirt road the kids have always wanted to explore. The truck life might not be for every family, but those ready to embrace a different way will find a rewarding new experience.