2019 Ford F-150 Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety
When I was asked if I’d like to review the best-selling vehicle in the country, I said sure, figuring it would be something like an Accord or a RAV4. It turns out the best-selling vehicle in America is the Ford F150, which took me by surprise. I’m always up for driving a fully-loaded, brand-new vehicle for a week, though, so I was game to test out a 2019 Ford F150 SuperCrew Limited.
While it’s true that a lot of pickup trucks are probably bought more for work purposes than for family-hauling, pickups can be great options for people who need to do both, or for parents who just like the versatility of having a huge cargo area plus room to seat their kids.
This review will focus primarily on features that are important to the average parent, like safety, comfort, and, of course, car seats. Here’s a general video overview, and we’ll go into more detail down below:
As a Child Passenger Safety Technician, safety is my top priority when it comes to vehicles. A pickup truck’s large size will give it an advantage on the road, but that’s just part of it. Vehicle manufacturers are adding more and more safety features to satisfy customers and to improve their ratings in government and IIHS testing, and Ford has lots of safety options available for the F150.
The F150 Limited I drove came with all the safety features: blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, backup camera with 360-degree view, cross-traffic warning and more. As you go lower in trim levels, you’ll lose some of those features, but even the base model includes automatic emergency braking.
The F150 also comes with a full array of airbags, including the option of inflatable airbags in the rear outboard seatbelts. I’ll go into more detail on those in the carseat section.
I’ll admit I’m kind of nervous about driving large vehicles (especially at first), so features like blind-spot detection help give me peace of mind that I won’t run over a Smart Car. I’m also notoriously bad at parking, and the larger the vehicle, the worse I do. That’s why I loved the birdseye-view camera to help me not be so crooked in parking spaces.
The Limited also has a feature that will essentially parallel-park the truck for you. I didn’t have an opportunity to try it out, but it seems like a great option for those of us who are parking-challenged.
Driving and Comfort
Oh, my, the comfort…Where to begin?
Let me start by telling you that the F150 Limited has massaging seats. You can stop reading now and just go buy one if you’d like.
The seats are also heated and air-conditioned, so if you ever need a little “me time,” you can just go hang out in your truck.
If you’re still cold even with the heated seats, take advantage of the heated steering wheel as well. If you have backseat passengers who aren’t in car seats, they will also appreciate the heated second-row seats.
The center console is absolutely enormous. You could—but shouldn’t—store a small child in there. BubbleBum for scale:
A panoramic sunroof brightens up the whole car, as do tons of cool blue lights at night. (Even the cupholders glow.) LED lights also illuminate the truck bed at night, making it easy to find stuff in the dark.
Automatic retractable (and lit) running boards make it easy for kids and shorter adults to get in and out of the truck without hurting themselves or making fools of themselves.
The Limited has the option of serving as its own WiFi hot spot, which can come in very handy on long trips with kids. The truck is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smooth integration.
If you don’t need to have anyone riding in the middle of the back seat, an armrest/cupholder console folds down for convenience and comfort.
Did I mention it has massaging seats?
I’m not an expert on truck beds and sizes and whatnot, so I won’t try to get technical about it. I do know that on the occasions we need to haul stuff, getting it into the bed of an F150 would be a lot easier than shoving it into the back of our Odyssey, as we do now. I didn’t need to haul anything other than groceries during my test-drive period, so I didn’t really put that feature to use, although I think my husband was itching to throw some lumber back there.
I’m not going to say that driving the F150 felt like driving a car, because it didn’t, and that’s okay. The ride was kind of bumpy, but that’s to be expected with an unladen pickup bed. (Get the massaging chair going, and you can’t really tell the difference between bumps in the road and the lumbar roller anyway.) To be honest, after the first few minutes of driving, I didn’t even notice the bumpiness anymore. The truck handled very nicely, and driving it wound up being pretty fun, even if it did take some getting used to.
The F150 Limited does have a fuel-saving option that idles the engine once you’ve been stopped for a while. Although it saves energy, I personally don’t like the associated lag that happens once I start accelerating. The option is easy enough to turn off when you don’t want it, though.
In many ways the F150 is a dream for carseats, but there are a few important details to keep in mind.