Hi Rob, this is that other ole codger from your other thread.
There is nothing wrong with trucks, if they fit your needs & limitations.
Having rented a range of these F150/250 trucks in all of the engine options except 2.7L over the past 3.5+ years (& some Dodge/Ram 2500s & Nissan Pathfinder V6s), I can offer perhaps a unique real world "comparo" on them for you. Also, one of my nephews is the high performance guy at an Indy are Ford dealership, & had looked into stuff for me as noted in the options below, as well as from friends & neighbors experiences with them & the competitors.
Keep in mind that the basic F150 is only rated to tow 5,000 if I recall (maybe 6k), so you'll need to get one with one of the towing packages to actually realize the better towing capacity you'll want for your 23' AS (& maybe bigger later?). The tow/haul packages will buy you progressively heavier duty radiators, trans. coolers, brakes, springs, etc. for the 2-3 level optional packages which Ford offers. Also, absolutely get the rear back-up camera option or an add-on aftermarket type to aid your hitching - especially solo.
Also, I think that the 2015 deals that you're looking at, will also be the new aluminum body/bed, so be aware that any repair cost on aluminum will be higher & limited to some shops - should you have an accident, & your insurance rates will probably reflect that. But then you save 800 lbs or so in the truck, for towing & cargo!
Also, all of the new trucks are jacked up ridiculously high - especially with 4WD &/or bigger 6 & * lug wheels/tires (relative to their earlier siblings pre-2005-ish) - to the point where you need a step ladder to reach the door sills, & beds are at chest level for normal height folks like me & loading stuff in the bed is a chore - whether 4x8 plywood & lumber etc., or your bikes & camp gear! So do yourself & your wife & passengers a favor & buy the side rail steps for all 4 doors (if not the option on it already) to aid entry! Otherwise you'll be getting out those little CW folding steps for the trailer, & playing "Footman" to your wife at every stop!
Another detriment to these ultra-high new trucks, is that your outward visibility around the trucks
As for motors, I'm old school & believe that, generally speaking, in most cases for TV & hauling duties, the V8 will serve better due to more pulling power (HP & TQ) at a lower RPM, relative to the competing V6 - whether Turbo or normally aspirated - & will therefore work less hard than a V6 & would get better mpg while towing
as a result, as well as creating less engine noise since it's not revving as high - which is important on long trips.
The diesel options will offer even more TQ pulling power at better mpg, but will have a bit higher regular maintenance cost, & are generally bought for their ultra-high towing capacity - not the mpg. Oil capacity on diesels is huge, so you'll be buying 2x or more the oil per change vs. gassers - so be prepared for that type of offsetting factors. My neighbor has a 2012 Chevy 2500 with diesel V8, which he got for his triple-axle toy hauler SOB & loaded with his Jeep 4x4 mudster & 2-4 dirt bikes, etc., so I had him & a few others to draw the diesel evals. from.
Several others with Ford's latest diesel V8 love it, & we had rented F250 twice in the diesel flavor on longish 400-500 mile trips, where we could do it on one tank - vs 1.5 - 2 tanks on the 5.7L? & 6.3L? gas V8s (I think it was the large tanks for both gas & diesel on the HD F250s). However, these big-a$$-trucks with our little 3-3500# Avion seem to get the same mpg empty or hitched, & are waaay overkill for our little silver twinkie!
If you were looking to a 27-30'+ AS &/or also towing other big & heavy 10k lbs. trailers, this would be a great choice.
As for Turbo-V6 Ecoboost motors - eep in mind that this mass movement of the mfgrs. to turbo &/or supercharged 4 & 6 motors is being driven by the ever tightening CAFE high mpg standards, so they need to get more vehicles out there of that type to get there overall production average mpg down to CAFE limits. The thinking is that many folks will only need to bigger V8 power some of the time, & can put up with the extra noise & less mpg while towing/hauling - which mpg in that latter use is not limited BTW. So the Turbo-V6 is better for folks that use their trucks unladen a lot of the time, for the better mpg.
Based on our "extended test drives" on our TV rentals for our `60 Avion T20 (at 3000-3500 lbs wet/loaded it's probably about half what your newer 23' AS weighs), so far we've had the 2013 3.5L Eco-Boost which towed I-40/I-17/I-10 from ABQ to SoCal & over a few lower mountain passes with no problems, but it was a bit more "wound-up" on grades. This was our first TV rental, & in addition to the F250s noted above, & a couple of Dodge/Ram 2500 gas V8s as rental TV since July 2012 - & all have been 4x4's cuz that's what Enterprise Commercial (Truck) Rental has in their rental pools.
As a note on the RAMs which some folks are touting here that you should be aware of, & it's one thing I don't like about the Dodge/Ram 2500's, is that their factory hitch receivers are set up so high at about 26" above grade - vs. about 20" on F150/250 & 21-22" on the Chevy/GMC 1500/2500 - so I need a huge 8" drop stinger for my Hensley Cub (or similar long drop on other WD hitch makes/types). I just think that this introduces a longer moment arm
So if you're using the truck equally or more in non-TV duties, & can put up with the extra noise/rpm while towing, then the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost is a good choice, but I think IMHO that the 2.7L V6 Ecoboost is too small for a lot of towing, unless the TQ is higher at lower RPM than on the 3.5L. Again, the harder the engine has to work to produce the needed power, the more & faster it will wear. Nobody knows yet how the turbo-V6 motors will last in the long term.
I'd suggest that you talk your local dealer into letting you test tow + test drive unladen each of the F150s on sale that fit your needs/likes to pick which you'd like, & take them up the biggest grade you can find down there in your neck of TX with the trailer hitched, to see what their use, power & noise profiles will be - with your wife & anyone else who will be in it with you on trips, cuz they'll be far more critical than you will in most cases (speaking from my wife & kids experience anyway LOL).
If you want to "try before you buy" on a longer towing trip - then rent a F250 from your local Enterprise Commercial Rentals (not the car rental places) for a weekend or week & try it with your trailer to a distant point long enough to give you the longish trip experience riding in one. Some Enterprise Truck rental places may have F150s, but U-Haul's F150's have the wrong electrical plug - only 4-pin, so are useless for your needs unless you surreptitiously wire up a 4-to-7-pin adapter & then remove it ~ not advisable). Those Super Duty F250s will be a bit taller, heavier & harsher riding than the F150, but it will give you a good idea on long trips.
You could also ask your Ford dealer if they can rent you an F150 to try out for a weekend longish towing trip, as some may do so.
I think your current is a 96 land Cruiser, which probably rides better than any of the current 1/2 ton trucks, so you want to be prepared for the change.
Unfortunately these trucks are just too big for our needs, wants & driveway limitations, narrow streets, etc., & my wife won't drive them, she hates the rough ride (& my kidneys are still spinning for hours after a trip) & high cab access. However, they may fit your needs.
Good Luck & Get a Good Deal!