Rollin' With The F-150's New 5.0 2011 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew - Click above for high-res image gallery As a race, we humans are obsessed with the notion of "best." Whether it's generations of on-point marketing or a strand of latent genetic code that pushes us to shack up with a better mate, we just can't shake the disposition. It's what drives our society forward – the quest for the latest product that promises a slightly improved experience or that one feature that eclipses the competition. It's why we can happily saunter up to the feeding trough at the local buffet instead of poking at wild boars with pointy sticks. It is, simply put, a good thing. The domestic full-size truck segment provides perhaps the greatest study in "best" available. Each new model year gives the Big Three one more shot at outdoing each other in the areas of power, towing capacity, interior room and fuel economy. Neither Ford, General Motors nor Chrysler skips the chance to brag about its latest advancements over the other two. But as with everything, there can be only true king. In this feudal system, it's Ford F-150, which has attracted more buyers than the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 for years. Why? We took to the saddle of Ford's latest entry-level F-Series equipped with the company's new 5.0-liter V8 to find out. Ford hasn't pulled any punches over the past 24 months. With General Motors and Chrysler both in the throes of significant corporate overhauls, the Blue Oval has unleashed a torrent of product updates that have included fresh styling, well-executed interiors and drivetrains that deliver both power and efficiency with little compromise. The F-150 hasn't missed out on any of that mid-cycle love thanks to four brand-new engine options, though the vehicle's exterior has remained largely untouched compared to the 2010 model. Ford shouldn't take that as a slight, however. The pickup received a slight fascia update just last year, and the grille, headlights and bumper still look fresh up front. The F-150 may be much less in-your-face than the Ram 1500, but its nose seems more vertical and muscular than the squat lines of the Silverado. We aren't overly smitten with the squared-off grille and similarly angular headlights, but the treatment lends a dose of Super Duty presence to the half-ton pickup. Our tester came in SuperCrew configuration with a 145-inch wheelbase and an optional $1,600 chrome package, which threw in California cowboy treatments like flashy step bars, tow loops and 18-inch wheels. As much as we'd like to scoff at those step-bars, the truth is that unless you're directly related to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you'll to need them to get inside. With a floor-height of around 24 inches, ingress is an exercise in mountaineering. Around back, our tester came packing a short box with a total length of just over 66 inches – not nearly as large as the optional eight-foot bed, but more than adequate for light-duty tasks like …
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