Trucks & SUVs

The Ford F-150 Has Never Earned a Consumer Reports Recommendation

It’s hard to beat the Ford F-150 in terms of capability, style, and variety of features, especially on the latest model. America’s most beloved pickup truck has a class-leading tow capacity of up to 14,000 pounds. The redesigned 2021 F-150 even has multiple work surfaces, a generator, and a hybrid powertrain.

Despite its devoted following, the Ford F-150 hasn’t had the most positive impact on testers at Consumer Reports. Even after being tested for over 20 years, the F-150 has yet to earn a ‘CR Recommended’ award. Although the F-150 is a great workhorse, it doesn’t meet some of the site’s other standards.

The Ford F-150 has some reliability issues

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Every F-150 truck from the outgoing generation received a pretty low reliability score possible. Consumer Reports cites interior electronics, including the reverse camera, radio, and warning lights, as the least dependable components. Many owners also reported that their factory-fresh F-150 pickups came with low levels of transmission fluid. 

The 13th generation of Ford F-150s also had many recalls, especially the 2017 truck. Reliability was better for the 12th-gen Ford F-150 pickups, but even those were below average at best. Trucks from the 10th generation have the highest average reliability score, three out of a possible five.

Common complaints from Ford F-150 owners

While most drivers enjoy the Ford F-150, some models only have an average customer satisfaction score. Some owners of the 2017 Ford F-150 said that the Sync 3 infotainment system was hard to use. Others said that they had bad experiences at the dealership and felt that they paid too much for their new trucks.

The 2015 Ford F-150 was the most well-received model according to Consumer Reports’ surveyed owners. The majority of drivers said that this F-150 has the best handling and the most comfortable ride. Still, even this model isn’t considered to be the best value.

Problems on older F-150’s

Consumer Reports testers also found persistent problems on their own after many years of testing the Ford F-150. The 10th-gen trucks suffered from poor safety ratings and didn’t come with any standard driver’s aids besides airbags. Consumer Reports also wasn’t a fan of the seats on these trucks, which were comfortable but too stiff.

This generation of trucks also doesn’t have the best handling, with a wide turning radius that makes parking a struggle. Testers did report that this aspect improved for the 11th generation, but these trucks had new problems. Testers experienced rough shifts and noises from the engine, as well as poor brake modulation. 

The Ford F-150 also had a noisy cabin until 2009, along with below-average fuel economy. Thankfully, this improved with a new six-speed automatic transmission.

Despite many years of improvement, the Ford F-150 has always been plagued by a stiff, jittery ride. The suspension shudders even over smooth pavement, and going over bumps can cause jerky steering wheel motions. Consumer Reports also found that the steering wheel is sometimes too cumbersome for avoidance maneuvers.

Will the 2021 Ford F-150 earn a recommendation?

The 2021 Ford F-150 is still being tested by CR, but its predicted reliability rating is still below average. Predicted owner satisfaction is higher than most trucks from the previous generation. Testers are also sure to appreciate the hybrid powertrain and the upgraded ten-speed automatic transmission.

Although the Ford F-150 still has some flaws, its overall handling and comfort have both massively improved throughout the years. Like most modern trucks, it also offers drivers several luxury interior and technology options.

Just because the F-150 has never officially earned a Consumer Reports recommendation, doesn’t make it a bad truck. For the F-150 the proof is in the unbeatable sales numbers and brand loyalty. Ask any F-150 owner if they like their truck and you’ll see that this truck as a lot to offer.