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    • I didn't know if I'd like the 10-speed transmission, but I hardly noticed it shifting on the highway. I did try various drive modes, but I didn't drive in enough conditions to test out Rain / Snow and Tow-Haul. The differences between Sport, ECO, and Normal were huge. The truck felt like a lead brick in ECO mode. It barely goes anywhere when you step on it. The Sport mode was the exact opposite. I turned Sport on when I was making unprotected turns.

      This truck we had did have auto start-stop. I didn't mind it. There was a 1 second-ish lag for the engine to start after turning off at a stop. I did turn it off when making unprotected left turns, because it did go off after creeping into an intersection.

      I almost exclusively used manual shifting when crawling in 4-LO. I found the 10-speed constantly shifting even though my speed was only changing by a couple of miles an hour at a time. I found the +/- knob to be really annoying ergonomically but got used to it after a couple of hours of driving on dirt. I thought paddle shifters on non-sports cars like my Outback are a gimmick, but this Ford made me miss them.

      We didn't need a locking diff on our trails, but it's definitely something I'd purchase if I buy an F150. My logic is: why buy a 4x4 with two open diffs? It's almost equivalent to a 2 wheel drive with one locker when wheels are slipping. Now it would be really cool if you could get lockers in both the front and back, but sadly they don't offer that.

      I like white vehicles. They're hugely helpful in keeping them cool on hot days. And I've seen data that light colored vehicles are safer because they are more visible (except in blizzards 🤪).

    • Yeah, the decked drawer system looks really cool. My only criticism is that the design seems pretty bulky. There's a lot of structure that minimizes cargo space, but I couldn't design a better system. And still, one of those has more cargo room than most SUV's.

      My Subaru has the same clearance as the F150, 9ish", and I have some serious undercarriage damage. The FX4 has better undercarriage protection than the Subaru. Besides the diffs, the F150 seems like it has far more than 9" all around except for the front bumper skirt. I think the front bummer goes down low to improve fuel economy. I wonder if many people take it off.

    • When I was shopping for a truck I could find Raptors and Chevy Colorado Z2Rs - always in candy apple red or black and I always laughed - I mean really, for desert use those are the least desired colors I could think of - they look great on new mall cruisers, when they are clean and polished, but after a few days in the desert backcountry its gonna take hours and hours to make them look new again. White, flat silver or deset tan just work so much better in the desert. White is much much cooler too, as you pointed out, and doesn't really show dirt that bad.

      When we drive along interstates we always see the signs for "Authorized Vehicles Only" - you know on the shortcuts between east and west bound lanes used by the LEO,s and power company white trucks. My spouse and I always joked that we wanted our next truck purchse'd to be an "Authorized Vehicle". Well, now it is Authorized Vehicle White at least 🥺👍🏻

      I need a square foot magnetic sign to put on the doors of my truck that say "Authorized Vehicle". - authorized by me any way.

      The front bumper skirt is for air flow, there are also winglets in the grill and front of the truck to control air flow at highway speed also for fuel economy .

      I don't notice the start/stop to be an issue in normal driving - it kills the engine ( after it warms up ) when I first roll up to a stop at a light, but restarts immediately when my foot comes off the brake pedal. There is a defeat switch on the dash, and I would defeat it off road or in 4 Lo for sure. Tow Haul mode defeats too.

      The drawer system is nice because I can order it and have within a few days. Or one can build one out of lumber and plywood - I helped my older son build a drawer system for his 4Runner - but it does take several day to accomplish, and one really needs a table saw and a good set of hand tools to do it. And the wood and parts cost him about ( this is a guess not a fact ) $300-400 bucks - but he did use very nice 9ply finished birch plywood. But it comes in 5x5 foot squares so one has to be able to reduce that to size - My son knew I own a full size panel saw system..... which most folks don't have access too.

      I use Eco Mode on the highway sometimes on the interstate when I am cruising, but not in town - I just use Normal mode in town.

      One can get a very fancy interior in an F150 in a Lariat or Platinum version, but those are 10-20 grand more than my truck.

    • It looks like the headlights are rated for crash prevention, i.e. lighting the road enough to help the diver avoid obstacles.

      I think it's a really hard problem for automakers to solve because the only cheaper solution is to blind other drivers, but that's against the law. I think the ideal systems is to have fancy lenses with adaptive controls, like turning the lights as the steering wheel turns.

      Did you happen to notice this in the desert with your rented F150? Or am I just a cranky driver?

      I did find the headlights were poor for lighting the unlit desert roads. Though, I found the auto highbeam setting to be responsive and useful on the two-lane highways.

      I think the cheapest solution is to buy high lumen LED non-DOT approved high beam bulbs, like 9000 lumen, and vow never to use them on near other cars. Otherwise, high output fog lights / light bar with good lenses is probably your best bet.

    • It is funny you mention steerable headlights - my BMW 3 series had them ( as do most current BMWs) , but I was looking at a 1928 Packard yesterday - and it had steerable headlights - cable actuated, but the lights turned with the steering wheel in 1928.

      I think I will order the LED lights for the high beams for my F350 first as I think they are worse than my F150.