In its 14th generation, the Ford F-150 remains the most popular and widely sold pickup truck in the United States. For the 2021 model year, the Ford F-150 various drivetrains, cab sizes, and bed lengths, along with six trims. The King Ranch and Lariat rank among the most luxurious trims, with the former costing $12,000 over the latter. But is the King Ranch really worth the extra expense?
The Ford F-150 King Ranch
In 2001, Ford formed a partnership with King Ranch in southern Texas. Now it’s the largest ranch not only in the Lone Star State but also the nation, with around 825,000 acres, Blue Oval Trucks reports. Before the partnership, King Ranch had long operated a large fleet of Ford trucks. The King Ranch trim, along with the Limited and Platinum, belongs to the F-150’s luxury lineup. Upholstered in brown saddle leather and emblazoned with the King Ranch’s Running W logo, the King Ranch model comprises 40 percent of F-150 pickup sales in Texas.
The King Ranch comes standard with a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 with a towing capacity of 13,000 pounds. Three additional optional engine configurations include a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost, 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke turbodiesel, and 3.5-liter V6 PowerBoost Hybrid. According to Car and Driver, the V6 options can tow 8,200 to 14,000 pounds, depending on the configuration. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 and 5.0-liter engines produce 400 hp, but the hybrid can harness up to 430 hp. The other engines make between 250 hp to 325 hp, depending on the configuration.
Extras include a class IV trailer hitch, an off-road package, King Ranch-branded chrome accents and monochromatic paint, and two towing packages. Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 and 2.0 Assist, which includes aids such as hands-free driving, come standard, while the Active 2.0 Prep Package is optional.
According to Ford, the 2021 F-150 King Ranch starts at $56,330.
The Ford F-150 Lariat
The word “lariat” is a long, light rope used with a running noose to catch livestock or with or without the noose to tether grazing animals, Merriam-Webster shows. Other than that, there isn’t much historical information surrounding the Ford F-150 Lariat. Nonetheless, this trim is where we begin to see luxury features that have transformed modern pickups into replacements for traditional luxury sedans. The Lariat’s mix of old-school Texas-style vaquero and modernism gives it a unique feel.
The 2021 Lariat differs from the lower F-150 trims by bringing a 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen to its long list of standard goodies. The options menu unlocks some nice premium items, such as active drive assist, Ford’s hands-free driving assist system. The truck’s lane-centering system works in tandem with the adaptive cruise control and interior cameras to monitor the driver’s head position. This system can allegedly measure where the driver’s eyes are looking. There’s an optional 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system for rocking out. Just don’t bounce your head too much — you’re being watched.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat comes standard with the 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost. Four engine configurations matching the King Ranch’s are optional.
The Lariat’s extras repeat many of the same standard and optional packages as the King Ranch but with the name “Lariat” instead. However, the 2021 Lariat offers two more optional packages than the King Ranch: the Lariat Sport Appearance Package and the Snow Plow Prep Package (available only with the four-by-four models).
Per Ford, the 2021 Lariat starts at $44,695.
The Verdict: Is the King Ranch worth $12,000 over the Lariat?
The Ford F-150 King Ranch is the first full-size lightweight pickup truck to offer a full rear passenger compartment with four full-size doors. This made the King Ranch a SuperCrew cab. It sat further down the trim hierarchy than the Lariat but has since moved up the F-150 pecking order with a price that challenges the F-150 Platinum trim‘s MSRP.
For the 2021 model year, the King Ranch introduces standard amenities like heated and ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats. Other than those, it offers only a few more luxuries than the Lariat. At the end of the day, any differences in style and fanciness the King Ranch has over the Lariat might not be enough to sway the average buyer.
Notably, the Lariat offers several standard and optional features that the King Ranch is missing. For example, the Lariat has standard cruise control, a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and more available wheel options. But the King Ranch’s most significant advantage is that it provides more standard Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology options.
So, unless you’re a King Ranch fan at heart, the Lariat will offer you better value.