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If you are looking for the best vehicle for towing a boat, the Ford F-150 pickup truck is top of the line, according to automotive experts. America’s best selling truck for four decades, the F-150 offers a wide range of engines and trims which can be matched to meet your ideal towing capacity. Ford takes pride in the F-150’s high towing capacity and offers a number of additional features to make towing safer and easier.

F-150 towing features and benefits

As the top pickup in its class, the F-150 provides a variety of towing features that are particularly useful for large and irregular loads, including boats. The F-150’s consistent top ratings stem from Ford’s development of increasingly powerful engines and cutting-edge technology geared specifically toward staying ahead of the competition in load capacity and towing ability.

According to U.S. News, the F-150 carries the highest towing capacity of any full-size pickup, ahead of the Ram 1500 and the GMC Sierra. Depending on the size of the boat, you can choose from a basic V6 engine with 5,000 lbs towing capacity up to the V8 with a capacity of 11,100 lbs. With additional turbocharging options, the capacity can be increased as high as 13,200 lbs.

The F-150’s lightweight aluminum body allows for reduced overall vehicle weight, thereby increasing it’s towing capacity. With that in mind, it is good to be aware that any additions to the trim can potentially increase the weight of the truck and reduce towing capacity. Capacity is limited to 5,000 lbs if equipment other than a weight-distribution hitch is used to attach the boat trailer to the truck. 

To assist with towing, the F-150 comes with a dynamic hitch assist with the built-in backup camera. It also includes roll stability and curve control on the basic trim, along with standard safety features, including automatic emergency brakes and forward collision warning technology. 

Ford offers a Max Trailer Tow Package with a plethora of useful towing-assist features, including an electronically controlled rear differential, trailer brake control, and enhanced front stabilizer bar. 

Potential downsides of the F-150

While it’s true that Ford’s work with the F-150 has paid off in superior towing capacity, which makes it perfect for towing a boat, there are a few areas for improvement to keep in mind. The F-150 has a history of various recalls for a variety of issues, some serious, but they do not appear to be any more frequent than in comparable pickup models.

According to Consumer Reports, the F-150 presents poor steering and emergency handling, with a particularly wide turning radius. The handling issues seem to stem primarily from the sheer size of the vehicle, but it is still sluggish when compared to other pickups in its class. While we wouldn’t call it a deal-breaker, it is something to keep in mind when considering a vehicle to tow your boat.

Other concerns include an uncomfortable ride and poor fuel economy, especially with the EcoBoost option. In fact, Ford is currently involved in a lawsuit that concerns this aspect of its fuel economy tests. 

The overall best option for boat towing

In spite of concerns about wide turns, slow emergency handling, and low fuel economy, the Ford F-150 still presents as the best full-size truck for towing a boat. Ford’s dedication to offering the highest towing capabilities, coupled with its cutting-edge technology ensures its place at the head of its class. With the number of engines, trims, and special towing features available, it is easy to see why Ford stays ahead of the competition.