Ranking Ford's 20 Best And Worst Pickups Ever Made

A pickup truck is referred to as a utility vehicle for a couple of reasons. One, it carries out the function that most sedans won’t, but a few SUVs would. Secondly, it can carry heavier weights than your average SUV. Matter of fact, the pickup truck is classified as a light-duty truck due to the weight limit.

For those of you who are reading this and cannot relate to a pickup truck by design, then get to know that the pickup truck is characterized by low sides, a tailgate, an enclosed cab, and an open cargo area.

But here’s a really fun fact.

Do you know that pickup trucks have been in existence from as far back as 1901? And not just that, most car lovers then seized the opportunity to buy the trucks for lifestyle reasons.

In the long run, it was observed that about 15 percent of people that owned the trucks used it for work primarily. That is why most black and white pictures of you and your grandfather in the farm back in the days when no one knew what YouTube is, most often had a pickup truck in the background.

But which model precisely?

When it comes to vehicles, the brand Ford plays a big role. It would interest you to know that Ford started making pickup trucks in 1917.

Oh yes! An awfully long time.

This shows they have been in the business for a very long time and they have earned a good reputation while at it. One of the amazing pickup trucks they produced was the F-series. They introduced the series in 1948 and it appeared to be a perfect fit for towing almost anything.

This is the reason why construction firms, farmers, major contractors etc. saw this model as an answer to their prayers. But this doesn’t mean since 1917, Ford has been producing excellent trucks off the line.

We have had a few really bad ones, but you’ll find both the good and the bad in here.

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20 Best: Ford Shelby

via Drive Arabia

The Ford Shelby is a pickup truck version of the super snake GT500. This model was released in 2009.

Ford Shelby uses a root type instead of the twin-screw unit. This accounts for its 500 horse power and 480ft-lbs of torque.

The Ford Shelby comes in form of a convertible and a hardtop. It has a rear-wheel drive, traction control, 6-speed manual transmission, fuel tank capacity of 61L, cargo capacity of 275L, just to mention a few.

This model was produced for customers that are in search of a pickup truck that has towing capacity, power, and looks like a muscle car straight from the brains of the man Shelby himself.

19 Best: Ford Raptor

via Car and Driver

If your preference is an off-road vehicle, the Ford Raptor is the best pickup truck for you. Driving through off-roads like the California deserts can be demanding but the Ford Raptor adds a lot of fun and excitement to the journey.

It does this by showing you huge clouds of dust in the sky behind you while you race. It also bounces around like a baby excited by sweet pudding and sounds like a dinosaur that just woke up from extinction.

The Ford raptor has an all-wheel drive, wide body panels, and specialized tires built for the off-road.

If you love speed, it has a 450hp twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 engine. This helps push the truck from zero to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. It is referred to as the extra power-packed version of the F-150.

18 Best: Ford F-450

Via: YouTube

The Ford F-450 is a powerful truck. It is classified in the best class due to its towing capacity, which is about 32,500 pounds. Construction workers and other individuals that require a good towing machine and a nice truck would find this model interesting.

It is a four-wheel drive that has a diesel engine and a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission. It can also seat 5 adults comfortably. This means that if your mom ever gets bored of her old wagon, she can hitch a ride to work with you.

The F-450 has a base engine capacity of 6.7L, and a monstrous torque of 935ft-lbs at 1800 rpm. It also has stability control, 4-Wheel ABS, engine immobilizer and of course, 8 cylinders in a V.

17 Best: Ford F-350

via Car and Driver

The Ford F-350 jolts out 316hp at 4179 rpm. This makes it safe to call this pickup truck a beast. It has nearly unlimited power delivery and an incredible towing capacity. Due to the rugged and tough nature of this pickup truck, it can withstand a ton of adverse conditions.

It has a 6-speed automatic transmission, which manages a torque of 397ft-lbs at 4179rpm. To be precise with the numbers under the hood, this 4-wheel drive truck has an engine capacity of 6.2L, spread across eight cylinders in a V, with 2 valves per cylinder.

The F-350 comes in different types of trims. The type of trim you choose should be based on your preference.

For instance, the XL trim is for those on work site, while the platinum trim is for those with luxurious taste.

16 Best: Ford F-250

via YouTube

The Ford F-250 is a good choice if you are in search of a bit more power and a lot more safety. Matter of fact, this Ford model is one of the safest vehicles on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the F-250 has a near-perfect result in crash-tests.

Precisely, the Ford-250 is safe for front-barrier crash and rollover. This led to the model having a five-star rating in most of its category. Hence, an overall rating of four out of five stars.

This pickup truck has a diesel turbo engine, 7.3L in size. It is a four-wheel drive with a 6-speed manual transmission as an option.

It also has a ball-power assisted steering.

15 Best: Ford Cragar

via AcuraZine

The Ford Cragar came into existence in 2007 when the Ford motor company teamed up with the classic wheel company Cragar to manufacture a limited edition F-150 Cragar Edition truck.

It has a horsepower rating of 330 and an engine size of 5.4L V8.

If you love to listen to the power from under your hood, the Ford Cragar is a good match. The Ford Cragar has front and rear bumper covers, classic wheel flares, custom tailgate panel, and front fender air intake louvers.

This pickup truck also has a lower rocker molding with integrated rear brake air inlets. If you like to have a flash of “the good old days” alongside luxury, this car would fit your goal.

14 Best: Ford Chip Foose F-100

Via: Pinterest

The Ford Chip Foose F-100 was re-released in 2008 by the motoring company. It had a lower body kit, a lowered suspension, 22x9-inch forged wheel, and two-color graphics. The horsepower of this Ford edition was 450. The Chip Foose is perfect for those who like an explosive acceleration.

It has a V8 engine with 5.4 Liter size and a dual cat-back exhaust that makes less or no sound. This feature makes cruising on the highway quite interesting. This four-wheel drive has an easy steering input and less feedback into the seats.

If you love stickers, it would interest you to know that the graphics on the Ford Chip Foose model are very high-quality stickers.

13 Best: Ford Saleen S331 and S331 Supercharged

via Saleen Owners and Enthusiasts Club

This Ford model was developed by an exotic car factory in California and Saleen’s Mustang-tuner.

This model of truck was released in 2007. It has a 24-valve 5.4-liter V8 fitted engine.

The pickup truck has a 23-inch aluminum wheel that gives it extra strength. It also has a butch front and rear bumper fascia, and a stamped aluminum hood.

The interior of this truck is creatively crafted. From the satin-silver trim accents, special charcoal gray gauges, to the aluminum pedals. If you are particular about car seats, then this model will do justice as the deep bucket seats have Saleen’s embroidery and pattern.

12 Best: Ford SVT Lightning

via YouTube

The Ford SVT Lightning is a model that was released in 1999. This was due to requests from so many loyal fans. This truck has a 4-speed automatic transmission, rear wheel drive, v8 engine, and a total seating of 3.

It has a horsepower of 380 at 4750 rpm, an engine size of 5.4L, gas base engine type, and 450ft-lbs at 3250 rpm. The Ford SVT Lightning has front independent, short and long arm front, and solid live Axle rear suspension.

This Pickup truck has a Max towing of 5000lbs, leather inserts with 60/40 split cloth. The backrests of the seats also have the SVT logo on it in case you love the car seats to tell the model of your truck without you uttering a word.

11 Best: Ford Lightning

Via Fast Lane Classic Cars

The Ford lightning XLT truck was released in 1993.

It was no disappointment when it stormed out in an intimidating, lowered 240 horsepower and a 5.8-liter engine.

It had an aggressive cam profile that was responsible for increased port sizes and valves. Airflow in the Ford Lightning was enhanced by tubular headers, dual exhaust system, tuned aluminum intake manifold, and a larger than stock throttle body.

This model was produced for performance enthusiasts, which is part of the reason why the four-speed automatic transmission remained long-lasting under the stress of additional torque. This truck is an old model but if you love classic collections, the Ford lightning truck will make you proud.

10 Worst: Ford Thames Trader

via Wikimedia Commons

Not all the pickup trucks produced by Ford stayed in the hall of fame. The motor company has produced some few duffs as well. This Ford Thames Trader, in particular, is a very boring and bland pickup truck.

It was produced by the British manufacturing arm of Ford between 1957 to the year 1965. So why do we hate it?

The Ford Thames Trader was unnecessarily large and too bulky. The truck looked as ugly as no other truck could be and it never made sense why they called it a pickup truck after all. It looks like a tired old lorry.

The only good thing that can be gotten from this fat old lazy lady truck was the fact that it played a great role for London Transport in the 1950s to 60s.

9 Worst: Ford Ranchero

via Pinterest

There’s a good explanation why couple utility vehicles went bunkers at some time. Isn’t it obvious that the blend of a station wagon with a pickup truck is absolutely not attractive? It’s even surprising to know that vehicles like the Ford Ranchero lasted as long as they did.

This truck has very slim differences with the truck Chevy El Camin, because it was produced to compete with the Ford Ranchero. Whatever the case may be, the Ranchero still, is nothing less than an embarrassment of a pickup truck.

Nowadays, the Ranchero is a collectible truck, although it’s seen as a sure stain to the automotive history of the Ford Motors.

8 Worst: Ford Explorer Sport Trac

via CarGurus

Unfortunately, this Ford Explorer Sport Trac has an unconvinced peculiarity to be the first mid-size pickup trucks built by the motoring company.

The significance of the name was not clearly seen, because it was barely a sport vehicle to start with.

To add salt to injury, the truck was powerless with an engine that could only charge your torch before it dies out.

The motoring company just has to admit, “They misfired on the production of this truck.” Even though the chassis and body of the Ford Explorer Sport Trac were similar to the Ford Explorer SUV, it still was no match for its competitors, the Dodge Dakota and Toyota Tacoma.

7 Worst: Ford Courier

via Wikimedia Commons

This track almost made it obvious that nothing good can come out from an import pickup truck straight from Japan – Toyota fans stay with me. You know its absolute a different thing if Toyota motoring company produces a custom vehicle brand for the Western market.

But it’s highly insane to see a Dodge or a Ford, for that matter, import a Japanese-made pickup truck to reconstruct and rebrand it for the Western market. It’s like selling American beer to a Scott. Precisely, that’s a case of “DOA,” which means Dead on Arrival.

As expected, the Ford Courier didn’t last long because most westerns soon discovered that the truck couldn’t tug anything, apart from its very ugly cargo bed.

6 Worst: Ford Bronco

via Motor Trend

The Ford Bronco was known to be a multipurpose truck. Matter of fact, it’s amazing to see that the Ford Bronco has a large fan base, to the point that they have been clamoring for a new version of the truck to be released. However, the motoring company stopped the production of the Ford Bronco in the year 1996.

Well, it seems the fans will be getting their wish granted sooner or later. Ford announced not so long ago that they will be releasing the Ford Branco in the year 2022 – which is good news mixed with some bad news.


The Ford Bronco was simply one of the most overrated pickup trucks of all time. First of all, it looked no different from an SUV, it did not carry enough power, and the looks were just pathetic.

Hopefully, its replacement won’t look any worse.

5 Worst: Ford Ranger

via Wikiwand

Now this is a big claim, but with valid reasons not pertaining to all Ford Rangers we’ve seen.

The Ford Ranger truck was the replacement of the Ford Courier when it got many rejections from the Western world. It was last produced by Ford in 2012. However, this truck is just an artifact to the original avatar that should never return to the US market.

Ford should know by now, that Americans have abandoned compact trucks, although they have not left the compact cars yet. It will thus be difficult for the Ford Ranger to survive in the present automotive market in the western world, especially in America, unless it evolves with time – which is what it has been doing.

Well, Ford has mentioned that they will be re-launching a new Ranger in 2019, thus, we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

4 Worst: 1978 Free Wheeling' Ford

via Barn Finds

Ford was only pushing the exterior styling when they released the Free Wheeling' package back in 1978. It had some beautiful stripes which were actually legendary. It wasn’t hidden that Ford was trying to appeal to a very colorful and youthful vibe-centric fan base when they released the Free Wheeling’ brand.

Precisely, its rainbow looking body side tape stripes caught the eye of the young generation then. Anyone who wanted to feel “funky” would love to be driving one. Matter of fact, it was akin to bride price or a prom ticket when you were out there looking for a hot lass back in the 70s.

That is where all the problems came in. The 1978 Free Wheeling’ Ford turned out to be a trophy wife. The truck offered no sufficient engine power. 

So, even though celebrities wanted to associate themselves with this ride, its lack of internal appeal in terms of engine power crowned it the tag “beauty, no brains”.

3 Worst: F-series SuperCab

via AutoNXT

In 1974, Ford announced the release of the extended cab on all the F-series trucks before the 1974 model year. Then, buyers had the option of choosing to buy either two facing jumper seats or full-width rear seat.

As time went by, buyers were able to pick from more exterior options as there were 16 various colors to select from as well as a 2-tone pattern.

The option of the forward- facing bench or the Centre-facing jump seats flipping off the SuperCab series created a larger cargo space in the vehicle when there were no passengers onboard.

But that is where all the good about this car ended.

The SuperCab had no rear doors. And to make it worse, it was only available in 2-wheel drive, with a V8 that ran like an inline 4 with 200cc displacement. This engine was mated to an underwhelming 3-speed manual gearbox.

2 Worst: Ford F-1

via Hot Rod Network

The Ford F-1 was released by Ford motoring company in the year 1948. It was initially known as the Ford Bonus-Built. Prior to the year of release, there had been a range of various pickups. However, these previous releases seemed to be car-based.

The Ford F-1 was an extended series of the F series. The F-1 series pioneered the entry of expanded weight ratings for hauling trucks made by Ford.

Additionally, it had a tootle of five patterns. There was the pickup, cab-over-engine, panel truck, school bus chassis, and conventional truck.

Despite all this, it went to extinction quickly because of its poor engine capacity, performance, and an interior that could only fit the driver and his toolbox riding shotgun.

1 Worst: Ford F-100

via MotorAuthority

The Ford F-100 was announced and released to the market by Ford motors in 1959. And despite being the first 4 X 4 truck that was produced in-house by Ford, it still sits at number one as Ford’s worst pickup truck, of all time.

Here’s why.

The Ford F-100 was the third generation of the Ford F series. Prior to its production, the motor manufacturing company outsourced the production of the 4X4 trucks to other companies like Napco. But after bringing the production in-house, things went haywire.

The 1981 Ford F-100 has been known to have the highest complaints amongst all the Ford F-100 series. In particular, there are two major issues buyers complained about.

First, the F-100 had a high level of oil consumption – which blended in quite well with its poor fuel economy. Secondly, it featured one of the hardest engines ever to crank. And once it was up and running, there was nothing impressive it would produce.

Sources: Popular Mechanics, Complex, Autowise, Money Inc

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