Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A blue 2022 Ford Explorer ST is shown parked near a store front after leaving a Ford dealer.

Which Ford Will Serve You Best?

If there is a brand that has become synonymous with the American automotive industry, it’s Ford. For well over a century, Ford has been on the cutting edge of the car world, and drivers have flocked to Ford dealers across the country. From the genius of the production line that pumped out millions of Model T’s to the fun-to-drive everyman sports car embodied by the Mustang to the tough-as-nails F-Series trucks, Ford has a steady history of innovation and reliability.

While you may not necessarily keep these facts at the forefront of your mind while you’re picking out your next car at the Ford dealer, it’s good to know you’re buying from a brand with an extensive family tree. And since you’ve decided to buy from the Blue Oval, the only question left, really, is which one do you buy? There are innumerable factors that go into this decision, but the chief should be: service. What service will your Ford provide to you? Okay, so it was two questions.

A red 2022 Ford F-150 Lariat is shown towing a boat out of a body of water.

Service of Work with the F-Series

If you need a vehicle that serves your utilitarian yearnings and has proven itself to be a nearly unmatched workhorse, look no further than Ford’s F-Series. It may be cliche, at this point, to lead off a brand overview with these trucks, but there is a good reason for it. The Ford F-Series is the best-selling pickup truck in the country, with well over 700,000 new models sold in 2021 alone.

At the top of the heap are the Super Duty models. These are the beefy, heavy-duty work trucks you’ve seen pulling horse trailers and massive fifth-wheel campers. While they can be used as toy trucks and even as family vehicles, the Super Duty line is specifically designed for work. A standard, baseline F-250 (the line ranges up to the F-450) is equipped with a 6.2L Flex Fuel V8 that produces 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque and is capable of towing 13,300 lbs.

The most popular child of this truck family, however, is the classic F-150. There is a degree of inevitability to this truck. Chances are you’ll see at least one on the road every day of your driving life.

The symbol of American pickup truck culture, the F-150 is as adaptable and loaded as you want it to be. Available trim levels from the base XL to the luxurious King Ranch and the speedy Raptor, there is an F-150 for every kind of truck buyer. Weekend warrior doing house projects? Try an XL SuperCab with a 6.5 ft bed. Retired and earned your right to own a nice pickup? Try a Lariat SuperCab. Need something to haul your boat and family down to the lake? XLT SuperCrew.

Above all else, the F-150, though the baby of the F-Series, is as capable of work as its elder brothers. Many who purchase an F-150 are those who need a vehicle that will work for their busy life. And it’s not like you have to sacrifice fuel economy to own a pickup these days. The F-150 is now available with a 3.5L Ecoboost Full Hybrid V6 engine mated to the standard 10-speed automatic transmission, giving you 700 miles of range on one tank of gas. Who’d have thought that possible in a pickup truck?

Service for Family with the Explorer

As trucks became more fuel-efficient and adaptable to family life, the SUV had to become more like a minivan while maintaining its sportiness and utilitarian nature. Enter the Explorer. Previously a two-row model, the Explorer has evolved over the years to become the three-row people carrier it is today. That doesn’t detract from its capability for adventure, however. Although it comes standard with rear-wheel drive, the added option of Ford’s Intelligent 4WD Terrain Management System will give you the confidence to go from pavement to gravel, sand, snow, or mud. This can come especially handy if you live somewhere where the weather can get nasty.

With seating for up to seven passengers, the Explorer is a common sight in suburban driveways. Many families opt for the three-row SUV over a minivan partially to escape the unfair stigma of van ownership, but also because SUVs tend to have a higher ride height and an aura of toughness and safety. For its part, the Explorer comes with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert and pre-collision warning automatic emergency braking. Standard, modern safety features that give you and your family an extra sense of protection while on the road.

Where storage is concerned, there’s plenty to go around. Explorer boasts 18.2 cu.ft. of space with all three seating rows in use, enough for groceries and a suitcase or two. If you need more room, the two back rows fold down in a 50/50 split, providing 47.9 cu.ft. with the third row down and 87.8 cu.ft. with the second row down. So there’s a wealth of room for your family and your luggage. There’s the added benefit of a 24 MPG fuel economy rating for the standard 3.0L EcoBoost engine. This means you have plenty of power to get you and your crew wherever you want to go without paying too much at the pump.

The Service of Adventure with the Escape and Bronco Sport

Despite being lumped together here, the Escape and Bronco Sport are two very different vehicles. For starters, the Escape, while capable of handling some tougher terrain, is very much meant for use on the pavement. Front-wheel drive is standard on the Escape, but all-wheel drive is an available option.

With its rounded, streamlined look, Escape is the perfect SUV if you’re looking to transition from sedan driving. It’s small enough to handle the city but capable enough for a long road trip or a weekend at the lake. The base 1.5L EcoBoost engine is mated to the 8-speed automatic transmission and provides 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is also good at 28 MPG combined with all-wheel drive and 30 MPG combined with front-wheel drive.

Also available is a hybrid powertrain, which actually provides more horsepower (200) and gives great fuel economy at 41 MPG combined with front-wheel drive and 40 MPG combined with all-wheel drive. So while you won’t be traversing the outback, you can feel comfortable with the knowledge that you own a practical vehicle with great fuel economy and a comfortable ride.

Now, way over there in that field by the stream just at the base of the mountain. That small spec? That’s the Bronco Sport.

The little brother of the recently revamped Bronco, the Bronco Sport is built with the outdoors in mind. Armed with Ford’s new G.O.A.T (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) system, standard 4WD, and 65.2 cu.ft. of storage space, the Bronco Sport was designed specifically for the adventurer. Though streamlined and compact, the Bronco Sport maintains the rugged guts of a “go-anywhere” vehicle. It won’t crush mountains with its standard 1.5L Ecoboost, putting out 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, but it’ll get you where you want to go–within reason. If you’re looking for something completely unreasonable, check out the big Bronco.

A blue 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Heritage Edition is shown parked in an empty lot.

The Service of Fun with the Mustang

We couldn’t end a discussion about Ford without talking about the Mustang. If you take Ford’s history and boil it down to three vehicles that have defined the company, you’ll be left with the Model T, the F-150, and the Mustang. The Mustang brought sport and fun to the everyman when it was released in 1964. It was affordable, fast, and incredible to look at. And it still is.

The modern Mustang is currently the only traditional car that Ford manufactures since it scrapped sedans in favor of SUVs and crossovers in 2018. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Mustang’s base engine is now a four-cylinder–the 2.3L EcoBoost still roars. The output with the optional High Performance Package and premium fuel is a staggering 330 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

The Mustang also comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. If you love driving stick and lament its slow death, be comforted in the knowledge that Ford still makes a manual muscle car. Yes, you may be thinking that the Mustang isn’t practical for everyday use, but that’s not the point. The point is to pelt down the road, let the engine roar, and let your inner child scream in delight for a little while. Fun is just as important a service as work, family, or adventure, and it should be kept in mind when looking for a vehicle.

Which Ford Will Serve Your Needs?

The models listed above are some of Ford’s bestsellers, but they’re by no means the only vehicles the company makes. Ford’s are built for work, play, and adventure. They, like any car, are meant to serve your needs, whatever they may be. Before you head out to the local Ford dealer, think about what you want from your next vehicle and what features will serve you best. Whether you are searching for a workhorse, a family hauler, or a weekend toy, defining what service you need from your car is the secret to finding the perfect model.