Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

An orange 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is shown from the side at an angle while sliding off-road.

Ford’s Strength Is Vehicle Diversity

It’s really easy to put a brand in a box. We like to compartmentalize and have everything stay within its mental cubby. It certainly makes car shopping easier. Looking for a truck? Ram. A commuter? Honda. An SUV? Chevy? But, for many brands, being only really good at doing one thing can be to their detriment.

If you search “Ford near me,” what do you expect to find? What vehicle comes to your mind first? Is it the popular F-150 or the exciting Mustang? Ford has done an excellent job at casting its net nice and wide, creating models that will instantly come to mind when you think of pretty much any vehicle category. How? It has split itself into very specific sub-categories with its most iconic nameplates.

Ford is one of the most popular and reliable brands on the market because it’s the brand that started it all. American automation began with Ford, and it continues to be led by Ford. Why? Ford keeps putting out excellent new vehicles to match the increasing demands of the market. Ford’s history could have lasted a decade if its products weren’t good, but instead, it has been going strong for over a century because its products get better and better. There are all kinds of Ford drivers because there are all kinds of Ford vehicles, and that’s the secret to Ford’s success. So, let’s take a look at some of Ford’s most popular nameplates.

The F-Series Trucks

One of the nameplates that continues to be a market leader is not one vehicle but a whole series of vehicles. The F-Series, to be more specific. These trucks were originally born out of a post-war America which desired the larger military vehicles they had come to know, but in a way that could accommodate their predominantly suburban lifestyles. From this newly-integrated series stemmed the signature Built Ford Tough slogan. This label is not a thoughtless three-word tagline slapped on a sticker but is a guarantee that is present and realized in each F-Series truck.

The F-Series ranges from the full-size F-150 to the commercial F-750, though you will probably be most familiar with the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty models. There is also a wide range of engines available, from regular gas and diesel variations (depending on model year) to a hybrid option and even an electric option coming in the near future. The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 40 years and the best-selling truck for 45 years. It is quite literally America’s favorite truck. That doesn’t mean it has to be your favorite truck, but the truth is that its performance capabilities exceed its competitors. The F-Series, on an objective level, are fantastic trucks, even if they aren’t your favorite models out there.

Ford doesn’t only make F-Series trucks! The Ranger is a highly-capable midsize truck, which shares a lot of the exciting trims and special editions as the F-150, meaning it can be specially designed for off-roading, towing, and other adventures. The Maverick is the newest addition to the Ford truck family. It’s the smallest of all but is a fun and spunky option for those seeking a compact truck for urban areas. Plus, it is the first truck with a standard hybrid powertrain.

A grey 2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is shown from the front at an angle on a racetrack.

The Mustang

Now, when it comes to iconic nameplates, the Mustang might just take the cake. This performance vehicle is perhaps the exact opposite of the F-Series trucks in its architecture. Make no mistake; though this power pony rides low, it rides fiercely. The Mustang is a true racer, the kind of car that roadrunners have loved for decades.

One of the many exciting things about the Mustang, aside from its performance, is how many different looks it can take on. Of course, it’s always sporty––it wouldn’t be a Mustang if it weren’t––but horses come in all different colors and shapes. Some Mustangs are ready for the race track, some are designed to be subtly sporty for commuters, and others still have color schemes that really pop and draw the eye. At the root of it all is the same fan-favorite vehicle. Though different engines throughout different model years offer different types of performance, the Mustang has been leading the trend since its release in the 1960s.

The Mustang is not the only performance vehicle Ford has. The GT is a line of mind-blowing racing vehicles, but those are reserved for the tracks, whereas the Mustang offers a vehicle that meets both the extraordinary needs of the track and the day-to-day needs of on-road driving. If you want the perfect blend of track performance and on-road capability, the Mustang Shelby GT500 is the pony car for you. However, if pavement performance isn’t your thing, the Mustang is not the only pony in the barn over at the Ford farm.

A green 2022 Ford Bronco Everglades, a popular Ford near you, is shown from the side while parked off-road.

The Bronco

The other steed offered by Ford goes by the name Bronco, and it isn’t a track-friendly stallion; it is an off-road-ready beast. The Bronco has been making a lot of noise in the last couple of years. Actually, it’s been making a lot of noise for a while, but there was a time when it made no noise at all. The Bronco was introduced in 1965 (just one year after the Mustang), and it was a leader in developing the modern SUV. It had its day for a healthy 31 years before it was taken off the market in ‘96. The end.

Just kidding. The Bronco made a big comeback for the 2021 model year. This newly-returned nameplate has taken on a new life as an off-roader. It takes everything drivers have come to know and love about the Jeep Wrangler but does it with the Built Ford Tough promise and its very own bucking bronco logo––a wilder counterpart to the tamer running horse logo of the Mustang.

The Bronco is not like your average SUV; this is a true off-roading adventure vehicle. While it is certainly functional for day-to-day driving, that’s not really what the Bronco is meant for. It’s meant for tearing up the trails with the top and doors removed. The Bronco also offers some exciting packages and special editions to make it even more adventurous.

The Bronco Everglades Edition is possibly the most innovative of all the options, putting water trudging at the forefront. This special edition literally includes a snorkel, meaning you probably can get across that questionably deep body of water ahead. It’s not quite a submarine, though, so don’t take it literally over its head. The Bronco is a vehicle that, by its very nature, encourages exploration, so have fun with it!

Playing the Long Game

It’s helpful to have a reliable brand that you can go back to as your vehicle needs change. While we highlighted some of the more unique nameplates, the Ford lineup is full of fantastic commuter-oriented SUVs and more electric and hybrid models if you prefer some electricity in your engine. This means that as your life changes and you need to add new vehicles, replace old vehicles, or buy something for your new driver, you can find it all under one excellent brand. The car market is not an easy one to compete in, and a brand wouldn’t be alive for over a century if it weren’t offering something that makes people want to come back decade after decade. So, whether you’re looking for a truck, a sports-performance car, an off-roader, or just a basic family vehicle, you can find it all under the Ford name.