Backing up a trailer is one of the most ceaselessly counter-intuitive procedures in the world of trucks (or at least everyone else tells me it is), but not if you have an F-150 equipped with Pro Trailer Backup Assist. At least, that’s what Ford told me when they lent me this $67,270 optioned-out pickup. I borrowed a friend’s snowmobile trailer and hooked it up to see if it actually works.
(Full Disclosure: Ford wanted me to drive their new F-150 so bad that they gave me one with a full tank of gas to drive over a weekend.)
I’m one of those weirdos who truly enjoys backing up a trailer. There’s something about the thought process of doing the opposite of what you’re used to—turning right to make the trailer go left and vice versa— coupled with the potential for something to go wrong that makes it mildly exhilarating. That’s probably why it was a good idea for Ford to make this system in the first place.
Available on all 2016 and 2017 F-150s, the system works via a sticker placed on your trailer that’s read by the truck’s backup camera. After you take measurements and tell the truck where that sticker is, the F-150 uses maths so that all you have to do behind the wheel is turn a knob in the direction you want the trailer to go.
Yes, this is a neat feature, but it’s not necessary—even at a relatively minuscule $395. If you’re buying a new F-150 and are looking to tow with it, spend more for one of the tow packages, which start at $895 and includes the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system but also comes with an auxiliary transmission cooler, an upgraded front stabilizer bar, and even a 3.55 (or 3.73) electronic-locking rear-axle.