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Buying a new Ford pickup truck represents a substantial investment. The 2023 F-150 comes in nine trim levels plus two Raptor variants, requiring thorough deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of each model. Considering that the most popular 2023 Ford F-150 trim isn’t the one experts recommend, choosing the right one is often tricky. 

The 2023 Ford F-150 towing a trailer
2023 Ford F-150 | Ford

According to Edmunds, the base-model 2023 Ford F-150 XL is the most popular among consumers. Though a significant portion of the F-150 XL’s sales might result from its “work truck” aptitude, lending itself to use in business vehicle fleets, another theory for its popularity involves its wide range of available cab and bed configurations. In addition, the XL’s depth of standard and available features allows for more customization than any other F-150 model.

The 2023 Ford F-150 XL’s popularity flies in the face of the experts’ recommended F-150 trim, the Lariat. Car and Driver and Edmunds agree on the Lariat as the best F-150 trim for the value it provides, even though its MSRP is nearly $24,000 higher than the XL’s starting price. The Lariat includes a choice between the standard 6.5- or 5.5-foot short box, but it only comes in the CrewCab configuration. What are some other differences?

2023 Ford F-150 trims: XL vs. Lariat

Using Ford’s comparison tool reveals that XL- and Lariat-trimmed 2023 Ford F-150s share many similarities. Here are some of the features in both trim levels:

  • Automatic on/off headlamps with automatic high beam dimmer
  • Windshield wiper-activated headlights
  • Four cargo-box tie-down hooks
  • High-mounted rear cargo lamp
  • Daytime running lights
  • Front tow hooks on 4×4 models
  • Fully-boxed high-strength steel frame
  • Power windows and locks
  • Power tailgate lock
  • Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking
  • Post-collision braking
  • Cruise control
  • Fade-to-off interior lighting
  • Fully flat load floor in SuperCrew models
  • Intermittent windshield wipers

Though the F-150 XL trim comes well-equipped, there are some features on the Lariat that the XL doesn’t provide or requires extra expense to option. Those features include items such as:

  • LED mirror-mounted spotlights
  • Remote tailgate release
  • LED fog lamps with cornering lamps
  • LED reflector headlamps
  • LED taillights
  • Body-color side mirror caps
  • Power-folding heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, memory, and auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
  • Power sliding rear window
  • Interior carpeted floor 
  • Black leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 12-inch infotainment screen
  • Lane-keeping system
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Remote start

Which 2023 Ford F-150 trim is the best?

The best value among the 2023 Ford F-150 trims is arguably the XLT with the optional XLT High Equipment Group. The F-150 XL starts at $33,695, compared to the XLT’s starting MSRP of $41,800. After adding the XLT optional equipment group at the discounted price on Ford’s truck builder page, the upgraded XLT costs about $10,000 more than the base XL trim. 

For 2023, the Ford F-150 XLT High Equipment Group includes items to rival the Lariat’s included equipment, with features like:

  • Heated front seats
  • 10-way power driver seat
  • Heated side mirrors with LED side view spotlights
  • Remote start
  • LED reflector headlamps
  • LED fog lamps with cornering lamps

Of course, trims such as the King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited offer more equipment and luxury, and the rugged off-road-focused Tremor and sporty Raptor shine past the end of the paved road. With such variety, it’s easy to see why Ford F-Series trucks continue to lead the segment in sales. 


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