Large pickup truck; Built in USA, Mexico, Canada
  • ext. cab long bed
  • ext. cab short bed
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $5,000*


1990 Ford F-150 regular cab


1992 Ford F-150 Lariat regular cab


1994 Ford F-150 Flareside regular cab


1995 Ford F-350 regular cab w/dual rear wheels


1996 Ford F-150 SuperCab extended cab


1994 Ford F-150 XLT interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V8)
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Trailer-towing capability
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Interior storage space
  • Noise

If you’re in the market for a pickup in this league, also look at the Chevrolet C/K and Dodge Ram. But we put the F-Series at the top of our list in terms of room, power, payload, and trailer-towing ability.

Overview

Introduced for 1980, Ford’s full-size pickups came in three series: F-150 for 1/2-ton capacity; F-250 for 3/4-ton; and F-350 for 1-ton. An F-250 Heavy Duty model also was available. Ford had dropped Flareside trucks with flared rear fenders in 1988, so all F-Series models were called Styleside. The short-bed F-150 had a 116.8-inch wheelbase and 6 3/4-foot cargo bed. A long-bed regular cab rode a 133-inch wheelbase, holding an 8-foot cargo bed. SuperCabs rode a 138.8-inch wheelbase with a 7-foot bed, or 155-inch with an 8-foot bed. Base engine was a 4.9-liter inline six, with a selection of V8 options. Antilock rear braking was standard. Available 4-wheel drive was an on-demand, part-time system. Automatic-locking hubs were phased-in starting in 1989 on F-150 models. Bench seats were standard, and SuperCabs had a folding rear bench. Front captain’s chairs were optional, while SuperCabs might have rear jump seats.

Yearly Updates

1991 F-150/250 Pickup
A new “Nite” option package for the F-150 went on sale this year, and the F-Series saw several powertrain changes. Automatic-locking front hubs became standard on F-250 and F-350 4x4s. A Touch Drive (pushbutton) electronic transfer case became available during the year for F-150 4WD models.
1992 F-150/250 Pickup
Ford gave the F-Series a front-end facelift with rounded nose and broader grille, plus a new dashboard. Ford also revived the Flareside (rear-fendered) model in the short-bed F-150 series.
1993 F-150/250 Pickup
A high-performance Lightning model joined in 1993 with a modified 240-horsepower 5.8-liter V8. It’s an F-150 2WD regular-cab Styleside short-bed, featuring a lowered sport suspension and 17-inch tires on alloy wheels, among other extras.
1994 F-150/250 Pickup
A driver-side airbag went into 1994 models with a gross vehicle weight below 8500 pounds.
1995 F-150/250 Pickup
A new 7.3-liter turbocharged diesel engine became available, replacing the regular diesel V8.
1996 F-150/250 Pickup
The F-150 lost its SuperCab body and Flareside cargo box this year. An all-new, more rounded F-150 arrived in January 1996 as an early ’97 model.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Base engine was an inline 6-cylinder. Next up: a 5.0-liter gas V8, rated 185 horsepower. Then, a 210-horsepower 5.8-liter V8. Stepping up further, Ford had a 230-horsepower 7.5-liter gasoline V8, plus a 180-horsepower diesel. Transmission choices depended on the engine, starting with a 4-speed manual. A 5-speed was available with all engines except the 5.8-liter. Two automatic transmissions were employed: 3-speed and 4-speed. An F-Series with on-demand 4-wheel drive might have either manual-locking or automatic front hubs. (Even after automatics were phased in, manual hubs remained an option.) Trucks with automatic hubs had shift-on-the-fly between 2WD and 4WD High. Touch Drive became available during 1991. For 1993, the 7.5-liter V8 gained 20 horsepower (rated 250) and 20 pound-feet of torque (now 410). A year later, the 5.0-liter V8 grew from 185 to 205 horsepower (195 with automatic), and the 5.8 added 10 horsepower and 25 pound-feet. The regular diesel V8s gave way to a turbodiesel for 1995, gaining 20 horsepower and 65 pound-feet. Four-speed manual gearboxes disappeared after 1993.

ohv I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.9/300
Engine HP 145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 265
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
15/19
NA
14/18
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/302
Engine HP 185-205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 270-275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
15/16
15/19
14/19

15.2

Diesel ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 7.3/444
Engine HP 185-210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 360-425
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
NA
NA
NA
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.8/351
Engine HP 200-210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 300-325
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
NA
NA
12/17
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 7.5/460
Engine HP 245-250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 400-410
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
NA
NA
NA

12.9

Road Test

Even though the 6-cylinder engine nearly matches torque output of a 5.0-liter V8, we prefer gasoline V8 models on the basis of their impressive acceleration and passing ability. That was our appraisal of an F-150 XLT with the 5.0 and 4-speed automatic. The 5.0 was just about as responsive as a 5.8-liter, in fact, but both returned horrid gas mileage: around 12.5 mpg in a city/highway mix. Some 4-speed automatics have demonstrated slurred, lurching gear changes, plus sluggish downshifting for passing.

Tall and square, Ford trucks can be blown around in heavy crosswinds, but otherwise hold the road well–even with an empty cargo box. Steering feels looser than in a GM or Dodge pickup, and requires a bit more correction on the highway. An unloaded short-wheelbase 4×4 rides harshly over city streets, but longer-wheelbase models cope much better with bumps. Engine noise and tire rumble can annoy, though wind noise is modest.

Regular-cab models easily hold three adults, though the center rider straddles the transmission tunnel. Dashboards are better after 1991, with an easy-to-use climate system and audio controls grouped near the driver. All trucks have plenty of head room. The steering wheel sits near the driver’s chest, and pedals are close to the chair-height seat cushion. SuperCab rear seats are a convenience, but have minimal knee and foot space.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Ford F-150 5.0-liter ext. cab

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 33

Specifications

ext. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
155.0 235.3 79.0 74.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
4655 37.1 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 37.6 41.0 28.8
ext. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
138.8 219.1 79.0 71.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
3855 34.7 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 37.6 41.0 28.8
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
133.0 213.3 79.0 71.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5100 37.2 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.3 NA 41.1 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
116.8 197.1 79.0 71.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
2310 34.7 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.3 NA 41.1 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 F-150 reg. cab short bed

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 66
Injury 67
Theft 102

Trouble Spots

Alternator belt
Description: If the accessory drive belt on 4.9-liter engines chirps, the pulley for the power steering may be misaligned on the pump or the A/C compressor may have to be repositioned. If the belt squeals, the automatic tensioner must be replaced. (1990-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: The transmission may slip and the engine may flare when the transmission shifts into fourth gear, which can often be traced to a bad TR/MLP sensor. (1994-95)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission does not shift from second to third, the valve body separator plate may be distorted. (1990-94)
Ball joints
Description: If water gets into the ball joints, they will wear out early and have to be replaced. (1990-96)
Hard starting
Description: Hesitation, miss, stumble, no-start, or stalling could be due to a short in the wiring harness for the powertrain control module (PCM). (1993-95)
Hard starting
Description: If the engine does not start or cranks for a long time then stalls, the idle air control valve may be sticking. (1995-96)
Manual transmission
Description: On trucks with a diesel engine, the clutch may not release due to a leaking slave cylinder. (1993-95)
Suspension problems
Description: The front leaf springs are prone to sag over time and must be replaced. (1991-94)
Suspension problems
Description: Front tire cupping is common with Twin Axle suspension. Often new springs will help, but sometimes other suspension parts must also be replaced. Regular alignment is crucial. (All)
Vehicle noise
Description: A chattering noise that can be felt coming from the rear during tight turns after highway driving is caused by a lack of friction modifier or over-shimming of the clutch packs in the Traction-Lok differential. (1990-96)
Vehicle noise
Description: Loose frame rivets should be replaced with bolts (welding is not approved). (1990-96)

Recall History

1990 4×2 w/one-piece driveshaft and E40D transmission
Description: Under certain conditions, snap ring may fracture and park gear would not engage.
1990 w/dual fuel tanks
Description: Supply and return fuel lines may be crossed on some trucks.
1990-91 F-250/350 w/7.3/.5 liter engine, and 4×4 w/5.8-liter
Description: Brake fluid may overheat, diminishing braking effectiveness.
1990-91
Description: Ignition switch could short-circuit and overheat, causing smoke and possible fire.
1990-93 w/dual fuel tanks
Description: Portion of unused fuel from one tank may be returned to the second, causing spillage.
1992 F-250/350 diesel
Description: Sound insulation can contact exhaust manifold.
1992
Description: Door latch may malfunction in below-freezing temperatures.
1992-94 w/manual shift
Description: Parking-brake pawl can slip; brake might not hold.
1993 F-150 w/Touch Drive
Description: Transfer case can slip out of 4×4 high gear during coasting or with power applied in reverse.
1993 w/dual fuel tanks
Description: Fuel-pressure regulator in the fuel system can wear out during the life of the vehicle, causing high-fuel system pressure.
1993 F-150/250/350/450 w/speed control system
Description: The speed control deactivation switch may, under certain conditions, leak internally and then overheat, smoke, or burn. This could result in an underhood fire. Dealers will install a fused wiring harness.
1994 F-150/250
Description: Airbag and its warning light might not function; or, airbag might deploy when passenger door is slammed while key is turned to start position.
1994-95 Super Cab w/40/20/40 power driver’s seat
Description: Wiring harness for power lumbar support could overheat, leading to melting, smoke, or possible ignition of surrounding materials.
1994-96
Description: Cruise-control deactivation switch may overheat, smoke, or burn.
1996 F-250/F-350/Super Duty
Description: Undersized fasteners on a few trucks can separate, causing fuel-tank strap to become disconnected.
1996 F-250
Description: Certification label shows incorrect rear-tire-inflation pressure.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.