After owning the 2016 4Runner for a bit, I had come to the conclusion that maybe I should be looking at trucks instead of SUVs. After all I did tow a lot of cars, and trailers, and having more space to haul things in the back seemed to be a good fit. The problem is I have never owned one, or considered a Ford before. I knew that if I was going to look at trucks it would be a Ford because that is what my dad drove, and that is what his dad drove and what his dad drove. My dad always had a Ford F-150 for as long as I can remember, and I grew up in the back seat of one. When it came time to start looking, I decided to ask my dad a few pointers on what to get.
My dad at the time had a 2014 with the all steel body. I had come across this 2015 with the new aluminum body and was the first year for the redesign. Usually I would stay away from first year designs because it might take the manufacturer a few years to straighten out any defects that plague them. The truck though was too good of a deal to pass up. It was only a few years old with 27,000 miles on it, and belonged to an older gentleman. I went down to the small Ford dealer in Ozark, Arkansas, and bought it right on the spot. I found the previous owner’s number in some of the service records in the glove box. He was really nice, and told me that he loved that truck a lot, but got a Jeep to tow behind his RV.
This truck was Ford’s second highest trim model, the Platinum, right behind the Limited. It came jammed packed with features, most notable the massaging seats, and 360 degree camera. I was used to a lot of these things because my dad had them on his 2014 Platinum. My truck had the 5.0 V8 which was decent and had been around long enough to trust it. When I first saw the truck on the dealer’s website, I thought it was grey, but when I pulled up I saw it was a dark green, I really fell in love. This is a one year only (I think, but could be wrong) color called Guard Green. I really don’t know why they did not keep it around longer as I think it is pretty sharp looking.
It took some time getting used to driving such a larger car compared to the 4Runner. I had to park with no one around me for a while to make sure I got in the parking spot OK. The real test came not long after I bought it when I towed our 21ft boat from Table Rock Lake to Beaver Lake. You could feel the boat behind you for sure, but it seemed to pull it along the hills just fine. However, I noticed something alarming while towing.
When I would down shift the transmission from 6th gear to 4th gear, or 5th to 3rd, I heard a very load and noticeable “squawk” coming from under the car. I had towed several cars with it before this, but nothing this heavy, and nothing up hills like I was going through. Also, this was after a while of owning the truck, to clear up any confusion that this was the reason the seller traded the truck in. Eventually it got bad enough where this sound would start even while driving around town. I took it into the dealer, as I had a while left on the warranty, and I actually requested a service tech ride with me in the car so I could replicate the sound. The service tech knew exactly what it was, and said to bring it on back to the dealer. This is one thing I have noticed while owning a Ford. Every time I would bring it in for something, the advisors or techs knew exactly what it was because they had replaced or fixed this problem before.
Turns out it was the clutch plate within the transmission. I really did not stop to ask more about the issue, just what Ford was going to do to fix it. There was a TSB (technical service bulletin) out for this issue, and Ford basically just replaced the entire transmission. I had to leave my truck with the dealer for a few weeks for them to fix it, or rather replace it. I think it would have been a shorter wait time if it was for the dealer moving locations in the middle of all this, and moving all their tools and supplies into a new service center. They gave me a fantastic orange Ford EcoSport, but I was just grateful to be getting my truck fixed.
After this, the truck was great, no issues. I did have the famous Vista sunroof fail when the plastic tracks broke. Another issue the advisors knew of, because it is a $4,000 fix because they have to remove the front seats, replace the entire twin panel sunroof and power sunshade. Glad I had a warranty. Other than these issues, it never gave me trouble. I put a lot of miles on it, and a lot of those miles were with a car behind it. The truck drove nice, rode nice, and really was not bad. My wife even liked to drive it, but it made me just a little nervous.
The best part is I didn’t have to use any special hitch to tow or camper like I would have with the 4Runner. The truck had heavy duty springs in the rear so it wouldn’t sag. At the time the F-150 was really the only truck on the market with the type of tech it came with. GM or Ram was still pretty far behind, and in my opinion still is behind Ford in the truck segment. This is another reason I went with Ford instead of a Tundra or GM. For example, the other trucks on the market didn’t have the 360 camera option or even a keyless entry option. I could care less about the cooled seats or twin panel sunroof, but these things came as an option for the Lariat trim and above. I also like how you could configure these trucks anyway you wanted. Want a Lariat with LED headlights, twin panel sunroof, keyless entry, and power running boards? No problem. I have even seen the platinum trim come with vinyl floorboard instead of carpet.
I actually just traded in this truck this year after many miles. I could not pass up some of the COVID deals that were going on at dealers when it all started. After owning this truck, I really don’t think I could go back to another SUV. Having a truck has made me realize how handy they can be. I used to have to borrow my dad’s truck to tow something heavy or haul furniture, but now I just open up the garage door and go. I am glad this was the truck to get me started into the truck world. Hopefully many more to come.