The best-selling vehicle in North America is a pickup truck. The world might roll their eyes at that American fact, but there's good reason for it. Americans like big, capable, and luxurious. The 2019 F-150 in its Limited package sets the benchmark for all of those things.

Ford has made several worthy additions to the F-150 in its Limited packaging for the 2019 model year. The most exciting of those is that the 3.5-liter high-horsepower V6 from the Raptor (reviewed here) is now standard in the Limited as well. Perhaps less attention-grabbing, but no less important, Ford also added forward collision warning with emergency braking as standard to all F-150s this year. The Limited also gets the larger 36-gallon (136.3 liter) fuel tank.

In looking at a 2019 Ford F-150 in its Limited packaging like this, we get a better understanding of why full-sized pickup trucks are so popular in the U.S. This high-end truck is not cheap, but its interior rivals that of many price-comparable luxury sport utilities without compromising the capability and versatility that pickup trucks inherently have. Not only can trucks haul stuff and tow trailers, they can carry the family along for the ride and (much of the time) are capable of SUV-matching (or better) fuel economy.

The luxury-oriented F-150 Limited sits at the top of the pickup model's pyramid of trim options, and has just about every option available as included equipment. The Limited runs on 22-inch wheels, plus the 450-horsepower (336 kW) turbocharged 3.5-liter engine from the Raptor and the larger fuel tank we mentioned. Unlike the Raptor, the Limited foregoes the off-pavement equipment and instead includes heated and cooled seats with massage functions, leather upholstery, wood inlay, and most every comfort gadget that can be named.

After spending a week with the F-150 Limited, the only difference we could find between it and a luxury SUV or sedan of the same fitment was in ride quality. The F-150, being a pickup truck, is rough on the road when compared to luxury models from other segments. It's also generally louder, and the huge wheels and mirrors have a lot to do with that. Yet the F-150 is surprisingly car-like in its maneuverability and handling, thanks to this-generation's lighter aluminum bodywork.

With all of that, there are some caveats that go with the F-150 when compared to other full-sized trucks on the market. The Ram and GMC models are generally better in their on-road experience for both ride quality and sound dampening. The F-150 is a benchmark for a reason, though, offering lots of interior comfort and a bevy of ergonomic touches that are only rivaled, perhaps, by Ram. Infotainment in the F-150, especially with the Sync 3 upgrade, is very capable and easy to use.

Seating is some of the best we've seen in a pickup truck. In our experience with 2019 models, only the Ram Truck options can rival it. Roominess is another big factor in the F-150, and the Crew Cab has easy three-across seating with good comfort for short or long trips.

A problem with the F-150, and it's across the board in our experience, is with fuel economy. The EPA's estimates are generally high compared to what we've seen in the real world. Those driving judiciously at lower highway speeds and at lower altitudes will likely find the EPA's numbers accurate. The rest of us who aren't in those ideal conditions won't. My returns were consistently 2-3 mpg lower than the sticker (15/18/16 mpg for city/highway/combined) thanks to higher altitude and higher freeway speeds. Any amount of hauling or off-road will drop fuel economy considerably as well.

As a pickup truck, the F-150 is more than capable of doing most of what owners of a half-ton truck would expect. It carries loads well, though after-factory options for load tying and securement are recommended as the F-150 comes only with low-box connection points and not much else. When towing, the F-150 can tend to be a bit jerky as the lighter weight of the body often means that the trailer is bulkier than the truck. Ford has worked to mitigate this and done a good job of it, though.

The 2019 Ford F-150 Limited is, on our minds, a perfect example of why full-sized pickup trucks are so popular in the U.S. It ticks all the boxes for power, capability and family hauling, and the Limited offers true luxury in that package.

The 2019 F-150 Limited has a starting price of US$67,135.

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