Canadians love their trucks. Take a quick cruise through any parking lot at the mall or hockey rink and you’re likely to find an abundance of them. In fact, despite supply chain challenges (the only chips readily available these days are salt-and-vinegar flavoured), the Ford F-Series pickup continues its reign as Canada’s best-selling vehicle. Through the first six months of 2021, this Blue Oval brute sold nearly 60,000 copies, roughly 20,000 more than the next best-selling rig – its crosstown rival at Ram.

But popularity does not necessarily make a winner (witness The Weeknd going home empty-handed from last year’s Grammy Awards). Around these parts, a truck must set a benchmark against its competition in order to go home with an AutoTrader Award, exceeding our expectations in categories from power and performance to tech and toys. For 2022, the new Ford F-150 checks all the right boxes.

Our jury of more than 20 automotive experts evaluated every single truck available in this segment for Canadians to buy and based their votes for winners on a dozen different criteria ranging from safety and quality to efficiency and performance. These criteria are weighted with a critical eye to the segment’s intended purpose; for example, cargo innovation was more important here than in the performance car category.

To understand why this truck won, know that this pickup is available in a myriad of cab configurations, several different box lengths, and no fewer than half a dozen different engine options. Buyers can spec a base model truck for work, a mid-range unit with the power to tow a 10,000-pound camper, or a loaded variant with enough leather and wood to serve as a modern-day proxy to the Detroit luxury sedans of yore.

Keeping pace with innovation isn’t an easy task, but Ford managed to bring the goods at both ends of the 2022 F-150. Under the hood, look for the brand’s new hybrid V6 powertrain, displacing 3.5L from a twin-turbo V6 that’s paired with a transmission-mounted electric motor. It’s all good for a towering 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, figures that were solely the domain of diesel-powered trucks not all that many years ago. Even the non-hybrid V6s are plenty robust for most tasks, and a V8 option remains for those of us who still like our trucks to bellow like Chewbacca on a bad fur day. What makes the F-150 lineup even more exciting is that there’s a fully electric F-150 Lightning arriving soon as well.

Clear on the truck’s other end, we find a cargo box brimming with features that transform this area from a simple open space to a useful tool and handy companion. Chief amongst the notable innovation is an available power inverter generator (an award winner in its own right), ready to provide juice to any number of gadgets from jobsite power saws to camping luxuries (we can’t be the only ones who pack a margarita machine on such trips, surely). Seamlessly integrated into the truck’s left-side bed wall and consuming exactly zero cargo space, the most robust of these Pro Power Onboard units belts out a sky-high 7.2 kW of electricity. For reference, that’s roughly equal to the load produced by solar panels sized to power an entire house.

And, yes, you can control all this with an app on your phone. The truck’s 12-inch infotainment screen stands ready to provide information, too.

Speaking of, that same jumbotron in the cabin is also capable of displaying critical towing and payload information. While it is true that some people tend to use their trucks to only haul sailboat fuel, many of us load them up with trailers and the like. Getting weight distribution correct is critical for a safe trip, and Ford is ready to help with that task thanks to its Onboard Scales. This system is capable of measuring and displaying the mass (including trailer tongue weight) being loaded aboard the pickup. Smart taillamps operate like a battery charge indicator, displaying the percentage of maximum payload capacity being used by illuminating LEDs arranged in a vertical bar.

All of this innovation would be wasted if the truck featured a cabin less hospitable than the average jail cell. Following a refresh for this model year, the F-150 now brings the goods to challenge any luxury sedan at its own game in terms of both comfort and technology. Even the least expensive trim gets an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, with the foot-long screen arranged vertically available on higher trims. Seats are all-day comfortable and are offered with massage functions – plus the ability to recline completely flat – if you climb far enough up the trim-level food chain. Interior space, in all configurations, is as vast as the country this truck is intended to traverse. If you can’t get comfortable in a new F-150, make an appointment with your chiropractor. Or psychologist.

Do Canadians love trucks? You bet they do. With winners like the Ford F-150 always raising the bar to make clever trucks that work harder and smarter, don’t expect that fact to change any time soon.