Road test: the Ford F150 Platinum Hybrid is a luxury, fuel-efficient truck

The interior boasts tanned leather, real timber and a top-shelf Bang & Olufsen sound system

The top-selling passenger car in the US last year was the Toyota Camry.

But in outright sales, it ranked number six behind two SUVs and three full-sized pickup trucks, led by the seemingly undefeatable Ford F-Series.

America’s love for pickups shows no signs of diminishing, despite the global push for more fuel-efficient and electrified vehicles. The F-Series chalked up its 44th consecutive year as the country’s best-selling vehicle.

It seems that what Americans want to drive and what the industry is pushing are at opposite ends of the spectrum, so Ford’s brain trust had to find a compromise that would get people into electrified vehicles without losing the company’s heartland consumers.

The result is the F150 Hybrid, which does not advertise its green credentials with badging.

That I suspect is the reason Ford made it a Parallel Hybrid that does not need wall charging, as opposed to plug-in hybrids, to save it from requiring power points in the bodywork or cords floating around in the back.

While owners can be quietly smug knowing they have nearly 1,000 kilometres of range and a collective 424bhp and 773Nm of grunt under the hood from the F150 Hybrid’s combined 3.5-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 and 46bhp (35kW) electric motor, their V8-loving, pickup truck buddies will be none the wiser unless they lift the hood and spot the hybrid telltale signs beneath.

Sandwiched between the V6 engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission is its 35kW electric motor backed by a 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery that gives the F150 enormous torque from zero rpm.

On initial take-off up to about 50kph, it slinks away in full electric mode before the petrol engine kicks in and then comes back to give the turbos a hand under full power to eliminate any turbo lag.

The result is phenomenally linear power from zero, with no flat spots and remarkably good acceleration given its size, while the fuel gauge gives the impression that it has been frozen for half the journey.

I collected the F150 with 960km of range, and after four days of city and urban driving with a quick run to the outskirts of the desert and through some hard-packed sand, I returned it with more than 780km remaining, despite close to 400km of driving.

It’s then that you realise how much time the F150 Hybrid spends in EV mode as it flicks in out with no driver input, cruising along in full electric mode at up to 90kph.

To sweeten the deal further, this model tested is the range-topping Platinum edition that is stacked with creature comforts to rival the highest-priced luxury saloon in a four-door body complete with limo-like levels of rear legroom.

The crew-cab shape, with seating for five, delivers generous room front and rear, and even with the full-length panoramic sunroof, there’s loads of head room even for tall passengers.

In one fell swoop, this luxurious, load-lugging F150 Hybrid Platinum green machine has seemingly ticked every market segment box, allowing you to park in the green spaces at the mall while looking every part in place at the hotel valet, on a building site or out camping in the desert.

Using the electric, automatic step boards to climb in, once seated I noticed that just about every surface is soft to the touch with stitched, tanned leather capped by genuine timber.

The 30-centimetre touchscreen is set up with Apple CarPlay, which plays out through a top-shelf Bang & Olufsen sound system.

On the safety side, the F150 comes with a full suite of driver aids that use cameras mounted in the front, rear and side in combination with radar sensors to operate the rear cross-traffic warning, auto-braking, collision avoidance, auto parallel parking and auto trailer reverse systems.

The front seats are softly cushioned and there are a lot of practical touches as well, such as an integrated fold-out table on the centre console and a clever button to fold the T-bar gear selector down, flush with the console, allowing workers to open out a laptop or notepad.

There’s sizeable storage areas everywhere and the rear seats have cushions that flip up to store more gear and equipment inside the cabin.

Another of the practicalities of being a hybrid is that there’s a 120-volt Pro Power built-in generator with outlets inside and outside the car.

Outside access is reached when the power-operated tailgate is lowered. With the engine running, it produces enough power to run a TV, a coffee maker or a circular saw up to 2,000 watts, but the option can be increased to pump out more than 7,000 watts.

Famously, a Texan man trapped without electricity for four days this year used his F150 Hybrid to power not only his home, but also help his neighbours out during a power cut with its Pro Power generator.

The Ford F150 Platinum Hybrid proves that luxury trucks are a reality joining the ranks of sportscars and saloons.

Add the ever-widening flexibility that an electrified power train can offer and it becomes an immensely competent work tool and weekend camper as well, all the while sipping fuel at the rate of a modest family car.

Ford F150 Platinum Hybrid: the specs

Engine: 3.5-litre V6 Hybrid

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Power: 424bhp

Torque: 773Nm

Price: Dh284,445

Updated: October 26th 2021, 5:17 AM