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What's in a $67,000 F-150? Massaging seats and a panoramic sunroof, for starters

Securing the title of the best-selling vehicle in America for nearly three and a half decades running doesn’t happen by accident, and keeping the F-Series trucks relevant to as many buyers as possible is obviously a high priority for Ford. The Blue Oval took a gamble when they completely redesigned the F-150 for 2015 with a new all-aluminum body, and the company’s recent focus on turbocharging finds a boosted V6 in a place of the naturally aspirated V8s that are still typically found in rivals’ top of the line pickups. Many industry pundits predicted calamity for Ford’s sales in the wake of these unconventional tactics, but the sales numbers continue to climb.

Now that Ford’s venture into modernizing the F-150’s platform and drivetrain lineups has proven effective they’ve set their sights on the truck’s feature set, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the new Limited model. But with polished 22-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, real wood accents and a price tag that starts at nearly $62,000, the F-150 Limited 4×4 Supercrew is as much about the country club as it is about the work site. Massaging seats might seem incongruous with a Class IV trailer hitch at first glance, but after spending some time with the F-150 Limited and its myriad of clever and useful functionality (as well as its coddling amenities), I have little doubt that many well-heeled buyers will be smitten with this lavishly appointed 4×4.

“This is the most advanced and luxurious F-150 that we’ve ever built,” says Eric Peterson, marketing manager for Ford. “There’s more standard and available technology in this truck than anything else we’ve brought to market before.” Accordingly, Ford wants the Limited to stand out not only amongst the competition but within the F-150 lineup as well.

To that end, the F-150 Limited gets a bolder, more stylized look that includes a unique grille, wheels, badging (including “LIMITED” lettering on the hood), and rear appliqué.

The theme continues inside the F-150 Limited, where the truck’s blend of form and function is perhaps most effective. Combining luxury content that you’d expect to find on six-figure grand touring cars with cutting edge, truck-specific technologies that make it clear that despite the low profile tires, Ford expects their buyers will use these top-spec F-150s for legitimate pickup tasks as well.

Motivating the F-150 Limited is a 3.5-liter twin turbocharged Ecoboost V6 that outputs 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. While it comes up a bit short on horsepower versus similar offerings from Ram and Chevrolet, torque is the metric of greater importance in the world of pickups. Despite this content-loaded 4×4 weighing well over three tons, acceleration is brisk and, in the configuration I drove, its rated tow capacity is 11,000 pounds.

The turbochargers spool up low in the rev range, providing a meaty torque band that prevents this sizable truck from feeling lethargic. Overtaking on the freeway is an effortless endeavor, and the 3.5-liter sounds surprisingly gutsy when you open up the taps. If there’s a weak link in the drivetrain equation here it may be the six-speed automatic gearbox. While competent, it feels at least a generation old in comparison to the ZF-derived eight-speed automatic in the Ram 1500. The Ford gearbox simply isn’t as eager to swap cogs, and the lack of two additional gears means the F-150 is likely leaving some fuel economy and performance on the table with this older transmission.

But the drivetrain is a mere footnote in the buffet of technology laid before you in the F-150 Limited. Some examples: Automated running boards appear for ingress and egress and then tuck themselves away when not in use, and the rear tailgate can automatically lower itself via a button press on the key fob. Pro Trailer Backup Assist brings semi-autonomous driving to the task of hitching trailers, allowing the driver to plot out the trajectory on-screen and allow the truck’s software to do the steering in order to line up the F-150’s hitch with the trailer. Automated parking assistance (known as Active Park Assist in Ford parlance) is also available exclusively on the F-150 Limited, a feature that currently can’t be had elsewhere in the segment at any price.

Ford’s all-new Sync 3 infotainment system also makes its truck debut here. Along with the requisite hardware upgrades to improve overall responsiveness to commands, Sync 3 features a significantly more streamlined user interface that’s designed to simplify ease of use, with smartphone-like gestures and a feature set that takes more than a few notes from Apple CarPlay’s playbook. Getting Siri’s attention with an iPhone connected to Sync 3, for instance, is as simple as a long press on the steering wheel-mounted voice command button.

The 2016 Ford F-150 Limited is simply bursting at the seams with content from the realms of both luxury and functionality. Ford’s marriage of these seemingly disparate qualities is executed surprisingly well in this truck, but it certainly does not come cheap.

My test vehicle was optioned with White Platinum Metallic paint, a 3.55 electronic locking axle, box side steps, a tailgate step, a 36-gallon fuel tank, Active Park Assist, wheel well liner and a spray-in bed liner. This brought my tester’s grand total to $67,270 with destination and delivery.

To put that in perspective, even at a base price of $61,905 the F-150 Limited 4×4 Supercrew is almost $7000 more than a comparable 2015 Platinum model.

There’s no doubt that you get a lot of truck for the money, though. Somewhere in America there’s a buyer who would use the bed’s Boxlink tie-down system by day and the panoramic roof by night, though I do admittedly still struggle to picture this customer in my head at times.

Then again, perhaps it’s of little consequence whether or not the F-150 Limited’s wide range of capabilities is fully exploited on a regular basis. For some, just knowing it’s there is worth the price of admission.

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