experience with Frontier -> F150
The wife and I towed our 19 with a Frontier for several years. We found the truck to be a perfectly adequate tow vehicle. But, we did not find it to be particularly comfortable.
On our trip to Newfoundland last year (where the locals joke "the Brits drive on the left of the road; we drive on what's left of the road...") we finally decided that if we're going to make long-haul runs (some days 10 or more hours in the truck), we wanted a more comfortable drive.
This past March we pulled the trigger on a new (2018) F150. 2.7l engine, 10-speed transmission, mid-sized cab, mid-sized box, relatively high trim package (Lariat, 502A).
We've done a thousand or so towing km on it since, and I thought I'd report how it feels for anyone considering a similar change.
First, the ride... It is, without a doubt, a superior and more comfortable ride. When I was testing the truck, I drove my Frontier around and found some bumpy roads, and roughly categorized them into "smooth"/"bumpy but not a big deal"/"uncomfortable"/"painful". I took the F150 over the same roads, and found everything was a full category better -- that is, the stuff that was painful in the Frontier was still uncomfortable in the F150, but without a doubt it was better. Now that we're towing, those results hold up (I think -- I'm comparing the reality of the F150 against the memory of the Frontier, so it's harder to be certain).
(btw, I also test-drove the RAM on the same day over the same roads and found its ride over those roads to be very slightly superior to the F150. We chose the F150 over the RAM for other reasons.)
The engine/transmission combination is also far superior to the Frontier. The F150 has had no issues with the 6-8% grades I've driven over in the last few months. The Frontier would have managed these grades, but would have had to downshift a lot. The F150 does downshift, but does so very smoothly and doesn't downshift nearly as far.
And, of course, all the bells and whistles that come with the higher trim level add a lot of creature comforts.
Overall the upgrade was a big improvement.
Was it worth the cost? Well, you'll have to decide the value of your own money yourself. But I believe it is definitely worth considering.
Having said that, all is not perfect. The really rough roads are still rough. The truck/trailer combination still porpoises more than I like. I may still end up getting a weight distribution hitch just to reduce the bounce.
2013 Escape 19 ("The Dog House") , 2018 Ford F150