Unusual Suspect: Ford F-150 Works as Family Car


There are a slew of minivan alternatives out there for large families who don't want to succumb to the rolling stereotype. Three-row crossovers are the most popular choice, but I'm always looking for something unique that can fit families with more than two children.

The Ford F-150 in a SuperCab or SuperCrew configuration is one such unusual suspect. Not only can it handle your family, but it also does a sound job of hiding the truth about your mundane familial existence. It's even a ride with sex appeal.

When thinking about what makes a good family car, things like safety, passenger space, handling, cargo space, high-tech features and number of cupholders deserve attention. Of course, when you have a larger-than-average family, space — of the passenger and cargo varieties — is vital, so let's start there.


The F-150 SuperCrew is a full-four-door model with a full-size backseat. The SuperCab has an extended cab, which offers a smaller second row than the SuperCrew, and reverse-hinged rear doors. Technically, the SuperCab and SuperCrew styles are spacious enough for up to six passengers. In reality, this means it easily fits three child-safety seats across the second row and has plenty of legroom back there for longer and shorter legs alike. The front seats are roomy and surprisingly adept at comforting tired parents.

Cargo space is extraordinary because, well you're driving a pickup truck. The F-150 has a bed with 81.3 cubic feet of cargo volume and the ability to haul more than 3,000 pounds of stuff. Even though your family is growing, we're pretty sure you'll never buy 3,000 pounds of groceries, but it's still nice to know the option is there in case you try out for an episode of TLC's "Extreme Couponing." It's more likely you'd use the space for long road trips to haul the family's luggage, coolers, camping gear and what have you.


Inside, there are eight cupholders and a center console that's large enough to hold a laptop and some snacks.

Don't think that because it's a truck it doesn't have high-tech features. An 8-inch LCD screen showcases the F-150's backup camera and navigation system images. The F-150 also has the voice-activated Sync system as well as smartphone integration.

With a rear-wheel-drive F-150, the 302-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine gets an EPA-estimated 17/23 mpg city/highway while the 365-hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 nets 16/22 mpg. The 360-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 gets 15/21 mpg and the 411-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 takes home 13/18 mpg.

The EcoBoost V-6 is now the most popular choice in the F-150 lineup. The standard V-6 in Ford's Explorer crossover is rated at 17/24 mpg, so you're not giving up a tremendous amount of efficiency to get a full-fledged truck.

The Ford F-150 is also safe. It's been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the past couple of years, so you know it will do all it can to keep your precious cargo safe. The only other full-size truck to earn Top Safety Pick status is the Toyota Tundra.


It may not be the first vehicle to come to mind when shopping for a family car, but after ticking off all the important marks on a family's checklist, the F-150 seems downright sensible to put on your test-drive list.

Research the 2012 Ford F-150
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Do you ever have to drive at night? Ford has the best H13 dual beams, but H13 are garbage, so that isn't saying much.
Ford is upgrading to projectors, but that is to be seen if that applies to the entire range, or just a premium trim level.


Don't buy a Ford their junk, buy a Chevy!!


Seriously Johnny...have you actually sat in a Chev/GMC then an F150? You must be blind. Or 6 years old - it's "they're" not "their".


Yes sat in 3 Fords and pay dearly as they where shop queens always broke, my 2 Chevys never gave me problems. Buy Chevy buy Ram but don't waste you're money and time with a Ford truck.

65 years & counting

My friends RAM has been in the shop 8 times in a year and my GMC had funny rattles after two years and spent long periods of time in the shop,b but no Fords have ever gave me trouble.So go Ford, Ford will never fail, and plus they are the most comfortable for sure. Buy a Ford
@Johnny have you ever owned a ford?


This article is awesome! I have a 2011 F-150 SuperCrew with the EcoBoost and three (3) car seats in the back. I traded in a GMC Sierra Crew cab because there was so little leg room in the back seat that with the car seats in, my kids' feet didn't fit behind my driver's seat. Also, the 6.2L V8 was too thirsty. The EcoBoost still gives me 420 lbft of torque (more than the 6.2L V8) and MUCH better gas mileage. My wife has an '06 Navigator which is extremely comfortable and convenient, especially with the folding third row, but since I got the new F-150, even my kids prefer the pick-up, which is especially peculiar considering that the Navigator has TV screens that the kids love to watch and the F-150 does not. They would rather ride in the pick-up because it has more space for them to pass toys and books, play patty-cake, etc., as well as the "cool" factor of the pick-up truck. The kids even brag to their friends about the pick-up. The bonuses for my wife and I are that we are putting less miles on her car (which is paid off and will last a more years with less use) and the better full economy. And how can I forget the fact that this thing is a rocket? Did I mention the 420 lbft of torque? Even my wife loves driving it! She doesn't like parking it, but it is a hoot to drive on the highway.


Don't buy a truck as a 'family car.' Buy a freaking car.

How much did they pay you to write this article, Courtney?


I have a 2011 F-150 SuperCrew Ecoboost 3.55 trans, 5.5 bed. Been FL to NH and FL to GA. Great on MPG and handled the GA mountain gravel roads. 14, 500 miles and loving every mile


Johnny, I've had 4 Rangers over some 30 years, put as much as 175,000 miles on one of them. Taken care of them, added gas, serviced and changed the oil at regular intervals and they just ran and ran and ran. My wife is on her third Escape in 18 years. Loves them. Just add gas, see to regular maintenance and oil changes and they go. Other than windshield wipers, the occasional lamp and A/C service (this is Texas and hard on A/C) and that's it. Last year I broke down and bought the F-150 I've wanted for years. My wife insisted that it be a Super Crew and family vehicle. It's wonderful. Absolutely the finest vehicle I have ever owned. It's been to Oshkosh, WI; Rough River, KY; Ruidoso, NM (3 times); Charleston, SC and numerous trips around Texas. Best, most comfortable, family vehicle ever!


I love my F-150 Supercrew EcoBoost as a family vehicle! It's kind of safe on the road when you bring your family with you, compare than smaller vehicle!
Don't listen to those Chevy owner who doesn't own any of an F-series truck! They are frickin' jealous!


We're a family of 5 and got an F-150 Super Crew as a family car in July 2012 and we have no regrets at all! Traded in an Expedition with a 3rd row and this is much better. Plenty of room in the backseat, plenty of room for cargo. My wife loves driving it and the backup camera makes parking a breeze! It's like a luxury SUV you don't feel like you're driving a truck at all. My Father-in-Law has a Lincoln Navigator and this rides/drives as nice or better! My first choice was the Ram 1500 but after seeing the backseat and driving the Ford with the Eco Boost it was a no brainer. Great acceleration and smoot ride. Getting 22mpg on highway trips. 16mpg combined (mostly around rown driving)

Tall Ron

The most versatile family hauler is and always will be a four door pickup truck.


Are there any trucks that seat four in the back? We are a family of six and would like to buy a truck, but prefer none of the kids are up front.

Johnny couldn't be more wrong.
I bought a used '94 Mazda B4000 in 1996. The B-Series was identical to the Ford Ranger under the skin -- every engine component is even stamped with the FORD logo.
I still drive this truck today (358,902 miles), and it is still the most reliable vehicle I own (the other is a Jeep Liberty and we just gave away a Chevy Silverado because I couldn't keep dumping money into it). This truck will easily see 400k miles (click the name-link for a photo of my odometer from this morning, Aug 3, 2014).

Ford proved itself to me with this truck, and now that I have two kids, I'm looking at the Ford F150 V6 with Eco-Boost as our family vehicle. It gets better gas mileage than anything I've ever owned, and it's more powerful as well. I love the look of the 5-seat version, but I'll probably go with the 6-seater front bench-seater since this will be a family vehicle.
Ford continues to make the best truck on the market, which is no wonder it's the best-selling.



Thank you! Need to keep my nieces safe.But want a F-150!

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