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FORD PHILIPPINES found itself in quite the unusual situation in June last year when it brought back the mighty F-150 (its 13th generation) just as the 14th generation of the model was being unboxed in the US.

Nonetheless, the two-variant return of the (now previous-gen) Ford F-150 did make waves here — a testament to how much the market missed the model that once had a healthy presence on local streets. That brief flirtation is over, as the current iteration of the Blue Oval’s most popular global pickup line is now here. Ford envisions “reinforcing (its) truck leadership in the (Philippines),” according to a release.

In a statement, Ford Philippines Managing Director Mike Breen said, “The all-new F-150 is a formidable addition to our truck lineup and will continue to strengthen our truck leadership in the country. Purpose-built from the ground up, the all-new F-150 is redesigned to be the toughest and most productive (version) ever. Our deep understanding of truck customers reflects in the new features available on the all-new F-150 that help take productivity to the next level.”

Mr. Breen also noted that, “The F-150 is part of Ford’s F Series, America’s best-selling truck for the 44th straight year, and America’s best-selling vehicle for the 39th straight year.”

Despite its short sales stint, one could make the argument that the previous-gen F-150 did achieve to both whet the market appetite as well as help Ford Philippines fine-tune its offering here based on genuine feedback. That mayfly-like pickup model did serve to open the doors to the current generation.

This massive, 5.8-meter-long pickup boasts an appropriate power plant. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter, four-valve DOHC Power Stroke V6, a turbocharged V6 with auto start-stop function. The mill generates 253ps and 596Nm. The driver can access this promise through a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with Progressive Range Select and Selectable Drive Modes “for work-ready power and optimization, while remaining exceptionally fuel-efficient.”

During the simultaneous, multi-dealership physical launch, Ford Philippines Marketing Director Patrick Manigbas revealed to “Velocity” that the company brought in the sole diesel-powered variant in response to market demand.

Priced initially at P3.398 million, the all-new F-150 comes with a unique set of features such as LED cargo box lighting with “zone lighting” and power-deployable running boards. The running boards are not new to Ford, but they now feature a kick switch for on-demand deploying or stowing. The pickup’s LED reflector headlamps have “dynamic bending,” and it gets LED fog lamps with cornering lamps, configurable daytime running lamps and LED tail lamps. Standard wheels are 20-inch six-spoke dark alloy-painted aluminums fitted with all-terrain tires.

A visual highlight of the spacious cabin is definitely the large 12-inch digital instrument cluster screen. A neat parlor trick is the stowable shifter, which collapses forward at the press of a button when the vehicle is parked. Aside from creating more space, this can be another theft-deterrent measure. Ford also gifts the F-150 with a remote keyless entry system, accessory delay for power features, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, and power-adjustable pedals with memory feature. Overhead is a large twin-panel moonroof.

Its front seats are bucket seats swathed in premium leather, with heating and ventilation function. The second-row seats are covered in leather as well, get a similar heating function, and 60/40 split one-touch flip-up seat with folding armrest with cupholders.

Sync4 will “help owners connected and make their days more productive,” according to the company, while the infotainment system — platformed on a 12-inch LCD center stack touch screen — already boasts wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. An eight-speaker system (including a subwoofer) is hooked onto a B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen. The F-150 gets six charging ports.

A big deal for the big pickup is the Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0, which is the brand’s newest and most advanced suite of safety technologies. Through this, the F-150 gets Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System (LKS), Auto-High Beam headlamps, Reverse Sensing System, Reverse Brake Assist, and Post-Collision Braking. The vehicle also features Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition, and Evasive Steering Assist. A 360-degree camera system also enables Ford’s Active Park Assist 2.0.

Units will be directly sourced from the United States, said Mr. Manigbas. For now, Ford Philippines is pretty happy with the lone Lariat Diesel variant, and believes it is pretty well appointed to get — and hold — the attention of a growing subset of people enamored with the pickup format.

Come to think of it, the all-new Ford F-150 again makes another case for pickups having dichotomous utilitarian and luxurious virtues existing together.

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