In the United States, trucks are a part of our culture. The same can’t be said in the rest of the world, but here, these vehicles are symbols of freedom and hard work. The big three have dominated this segment, but nobody has done it better than Ford with the F-150.
With the new Dodge Ram being as good as it is, Ford had to step up their game with their newest version for 2011. In order to maintain their impressive bit of marketing gold for a 34th straight year, the Dearborn-based automaker is putting four brand-new engines into their best selling truck.
Reworking an icon isn’t easy, just ask the designers of the new Corvette. When it came out, those headlights were either loved or hated. With the new F-150, if something were to be too radical then you might lose buyers. So, did Ford keep things simple with this newest version, yet at the same time upgrade the winning formula?
Hit the jump to find out.
As far as outward appearances go, not much has changed for the 2011 Ford F-150 and that’s not really a problem in our minds, as the 2010 model was very handsome. It was bold, yet not as bold as the Ram with all that chrome and the massive badge.
The front fascia appears to have been reworked at tad, but nothing over the top. Most areas of the truck’s face are squared, including the grille and headlights. Two fog lights flank black plastic and it gives the truck a very aggressive look down low. Overall, this is a very butch vehicle.
Inside, not much has changed either, but there are new technological additions to make life easier, or harder depending on how you look at it. One highlight is a new LCD productivity screen that puts a 4.2-inch, 480x272-pixel display between the two large gauges in the instrument cluster, where normally you would find the info screen. Tons of helpful information is displayed, including current and average fuel economy with range-to-empty, transmission temperature, tire pressure, and dual trip odometers. What makes things even better is the fact that off-roaders can see the lateral, vertical and turning radius dimensions of their operations and those towing a trailer can customize their trailer brakes and can even save their settings for using at a later time. A very clever idea indeed.
There will also be the latest version of the SYNC technology package, which includes the Traffic, Directions and Information application that provides hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, turn-by-turn driving directions and information like business listings, news, sports and weather.
Well, there are so many new motors that it’s hard to explain them all, but let’s give it go and start with the base motor. At the bottom end of the spectrum we have the 3.7-liter V6 powerplant with 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, a massive improvement over the old V8.
Next, we have a Mustang V8. Of course, it was updated for truck use. That motor is a 5.0-liter V8, which Ford expects to be the largest seller of the group. That motor will put out 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, which is sufficient to allow for a max tow rating of 10,000 pounds.
Next, we have the monster 6.2-liter V8. This beast churns out 411 raging horses and 434 lb-ft of tire smoking torque. With this motor under the hood, the F-150 can haul 11,300 pounds. We don’t expect this motor to sell as well as the others though and if we had our choice, it would be the next motor on the list, the EcoBoost.
While its 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque may look a bit down on paper when compared to the 6.2-liter V8, it gives you that grunt right where you need it the most, in the meat of the power-band. This wonder of engineering will allow you to tow 11,300 pounds with a 3,060-pound payload ratings. That’s right, this smaller motor can tow just as much as the 6.2-liter. Simply amazing.
All 2011 models come standard with the 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission first seen in the Super Duty line and it’s sensationally good on this new truck. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this new F-150.
Now there’s nowhere else in the automotive world that has more hard nosed competition than in the truck segment. There are basically two others that need mentioning, with one extra on the side. There’s the Chevrolet Silverado, the Dodge Ram, and the Japanese offering, the Toyota Tundra.
Let’s take a look at each one of the Ford’s engines and see how it stacks up against the other three, starting with the base 3.7-liter V6. The Chevy’s base motor, the 195-horse 4.3-liter V6 is crushed here. But we aren’t going to include that one, as we wanted the 4.8-liter V8, which offers up the same power numbers as the Ford. Well, in numerous tests, the Ford is better. Sorry to say it, but the big old GM V8 just doesn’t stack up. The same can be said about the Dodge and Toyota. If you want a base motor in the truck, get a Ford.
Secondly, we have the 5.0-liter. Some might put this motor up against the 4.8-liter GM V8 and that’s just not fair. We wanted to 5.3-liter, but even that can’t stack up. Similarly, the smaller-displacement mills offered in the Ram and Tundra are significantly weaker than Ford’s Mustang-derived engine. That’s two wins to the F-150 and zero to anybody else.
The 6.2-liter and the EcoBoost are really in a class to themselves. When comparing a motor that big, it’s hard to find a winner. What’s even more difficult is comparing the EcoBoost to anything, as the competition just doesn’t have anything to offer. Needless to say, Ford has what it takes to stay on top of the sales charts.
The 2011 Ford F-150 should be in showrooms by Autumn 2010. Pricing starts at $22,000 and goes as high as $51,000.