2011 F-150 New Car Test Drive
The Ford F-150 lineup offers a plethora of models in dozens of permutations. All are highly capable trucks, even those loaded with luxury features. The F-150 was completely redesigned for 2009. For 2011, Ford F-150 features an entirely new engine lineup, and most 2011 F-150 models come with electric-assist steering.
Smooth and quiet, the F-150 is comfortable on bumpy streets around town, over rugged terrain like construction sites, farms and utility roads, and on the open highway. Its steering is nicely weighted and requires little correction on the highway making it nice for long cross-country tows. The cabs are comfortable, whether ordered with leather or cloth.
The F-150 lineup runs the gamut from wash-off vinyl flooring and a two-door Regular Cab to leather-lined premium four-door models with as much rear-seat legroom as the front of most luxury sedans: Within those extremes lies something for everyone. Yet even the least-expensive F-150 isn't boring; it leaves room for customization, does the work required and keeps overhead down.
With one of the deepest beds in the segment, the F-150 has generous cargo volume out back and a maximum payload rating of 3,060 pounds; most versions carry 1,600-2,100 pounds. Any cab model F-150 can be optioned to tow more than 11,000 pounds; the range varies from 5,500-11,300 pounds. (The Ford Super Duty line of heavy-duty pickups is covered in a separate New Car Test Drive review.)
Two V8 and two V6 engines are offered, all with six-speed automatic transmissions. Standard on 2WD is a 302-hp 3.7-liter V6. Other choices include a 360-hp 5-liter V8 for all cab/bed configurations, a 411-hp 6.2-liter V8 on SuperCrew short beds, and a 365-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 on all but regular cab/short beds. Several axle ratios are offered with each engine.
A new 2011 F-150 XLT Custom package slots between XLT and FX models. On the upper end are the King Ranch, Platinum and Lariat Limited models. The Harley-Davidson edition returns for 2011 with a 411-hp V8, the same engine now standard on the serious off-road Raptor. The Raptor adds a SuperCrew version that carries more fuel and tows a ton more than the continuing SueprCab.
Other new features for 2011 F-150: larger image-in-mirror rearview camera, new instrumentation with a 4.2-inch screen, one-touch front windows, a telescoping steering column on upper trims, 110-VAC outlet, HD radio, an integrated key/fob with remote start, 7-lug 17-inch aluminum wheels for the heavy-duty package, and a new off-road package with locking rear differential.
The 2011 Ford F-150 comes in more than 50 configurations, so it's easier to find which setups you can not get: No luxury trim Regular Cab, no ultra-lux SuperCab, and no long-bed SuperCrew. Everything else is split amongst multiple wheelbases, three cab sizes, three bed lengths (one of which is available in two styles), four engines, ten trim levels, and rear- or four-wheel drive.
Regular Cabs are offered in standard bed (about 6.5 feet) and long bed (about 8 feet) XL, STX, or XLT grades. SuperCab trucks add higher FX and Lariat trim to choices plus SVT's Raptor, and a short-bed option (about 5.5 feet). A long-bed SuperCab is available only with the heavy-duty package. The SuperCrew F-150, available with either the short bed or standard bed, drops the STX grade and adds King Ranch and Platinum derivatives while Harley-Davidson and Lariat Limited are SuperCrew short bed only.
The F-150 XL (starting at $22,415) is a standard bed, Regular Cab two-wheel drive. It comes with 3.7-liter V6, 17-inch steel wheels, black bumper/grille/mirrors, and vinyl upholstery and floor covering. XL includes air conditioning, split front bench (and rear on four-door cabs), locking tailgate, tilt steering wheel, stability control, capless fuel filler and a stereo radio.
F-150 STX (from $26,245) models add body-color bumpers over a black grille, CD player, and cloth seats with driver lumbar. More equipment is available, including 18-inch wheels, Sirius radio, SYNC, cruise control, fog lamps and power mirrors.
F-150 XLT (from $26,685) adds chrome for bumpers and trim, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, automatic headlamps, carpeting, cruise control, power windows and locks, and better cloth upholstery. All manner of options are available on the XLT, including three wheel diameters, tailgate step, cargo management and towing equipment.
F-150 FX4 and FX2 come with a 5-liter V8, black grille and body-colored bumpers, trim and mirrors. Electric-shift 4WD is standard, as are fog lamps, a locking differential, towing package, 18-inch wheels, sporty cloth split bench seat (power driver on four-doors), Sirius radio, and the 5.4-liter V8/6-speed automatic powertrain. Options include infotainment and 17-inch (for more severe off-road use) or 20-inch wheels. F-150 Lariat (starting at $34,110) is the mainstream luxury F-150 and hence is four-door only with V8 or turbo V6 engines. Chrome trim and bumpers highlight monotone paint, and the Lariat adds heated mirrors with signal repeaters and auto-dimming on the driver's and inside, dual-zone climate control, heated power leather seats with driver memory, leather wheel with redundant audio controls, tow package, SYNC, trip computer, and power adjustable pedals. Options include 20-inch wheels, heated/cooled front seats, Sony sound and navigation, trailer brake controller, rear camera and park sensors, and moonroof.
F-150 King Ranch (from $41,790) is like a Lariat with a different attitude. It adds two-tone paint and KR badges, unique wheels, mesh chrome grille, Chaparral leather heated and cooled power captain's chairs with driver memory, running boards, and power folding, heated, signal outside mirrors with chrome caps. Options are essentially limited to a limited-slip differential, alternative axle ratios, 20-inch wheels, Sony sound and navigation systems, moonroof, chrome tube running boards and remote start.
F-150 Platinum SuperCrew (from $43,600) gets a unique satin chrome grille, body-color bumpers and wheel lip moldings, 20-inch wheels, power-deploy/retract running boards, satin chrome tailgate trim, tuxedo-stitched leather power captain's chairs, wood grain and brushed aluminum trim, rain-sensing wipers, power folding/heated mirrors, and unique console. Options are limited but you can get 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires for luxury on the farm.
The most luxurious F-150 Lariat Limited ($47,195 2WD/$50,340 4WD) comes only with a 6.2-liter engine, 22-inch wheels, special paint and very few options.
A special F-150 Harley-Davidson edition ( $47,995 2WD/$51,140 4WD) is also 6.2 V8 only and decked out in colors and heavy chrome trim befitting the brand it's named after.
Ford's SVT division offers the Raptor ($41,550 SuperCab, $44,315 SuperCrew), intended for serious, high-speed off-road use. It comes only with the 411-hp 6.2-liter V8. Unique long-travel high-performance suspension, wheels and tires, and aggressive bodywork set it apart from any other F-150.
The F-150 option list is comprehensive and, although it has been simplified in recent years, it can still resemble the tax code to the uninitiated; there are, for example, six codes for running boards and four for trailer towing mirrors. Most options are dependent on the model and other options, and many features are standard on more expensive models. In addition, prices of options occasionally vary by trim level.
Mechanical options include engine upgrades, alternate axle ratios, limited-slip or locking differentials, larger tires and upgraded wheels, skid plates, towing mirrors, snow plow prep (with 6.2 V8), trailer brake controller ($230), 36-gallon long-bed fuel tank, tailgate step, heavy-duty payload package, and Ford Works systems like an in-dash computer. An engine block heater is available to fleet buyers and standard on Alaska and northern plains-state trucks. Other upgrades include captain's chairs bucket seats with center console, power sliding rear window, rear-view camera (with or without navigation) reverse parking sensors, tri-coat or two-tone paint, moonroof ($995), Sirius radio, sound systems, remote start, and navigation.
Safety features that come standard include antilock brakes, stability control (AdvanceTrac RSC), trailer sway control, frontal airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Safety-related options include an integrated trailer brake controller, rear-view camera, MyKey, and reverse park sensors.