Freshly redesigned in 2009, the F-150 gets a major mechanical update for 2011 aimed at providing improved power and fuel efficiency. The old 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V-8 engines are out, replaced by three all-new engines, including a 3.7-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Last year's premium 6.2-liter V-8, available only for the Raptor, is now available for high-end F-150 models like the Harley-Davidson, King Ranch and Platinum models.
In the two years since the redesigned F-150 went on sale, the half-ton pickup has garnered numerous awards and recognition, including PickupTrucks.com's Best Overall Light-Duty Pickup. The F-150 offers best-in-class ratings for towing (11,300 pounds) and payload (3,030 pounds). There are three cab styles: regular, extended and crew cab.
Ford has made minor changes to the exterior for 2011. Each F-150 trim level gets its own grille treatment, starting with a simple one on the base XL and topping out with mesh grille inserts for the highest trim levels. The Platinum trim's grille is called Satin Chrome, and it's repeated on a metal panel on the tailgate. The Platinum also has chrome-capped side mirrors and 20-inch, 16-spoke aluminum wheels. The rest of the lineup offers 16 wheel options, starting with 17 inches and ranging to 22 inches in diameter.
Some unique features are offered as options for the cargo box. Shared with the Super Duty, a step pulls out of the open tailgate and hinges down to ease climbing into the bed. A post on the tailgate swings up and locks, forming a handle to help step up into the bed. Another option handed down from Ford's heavy-duty trucks is the split bed extender. Whereas the solid U-shaped bed extenders rest either on the open tailgate or flipped up on the bed floor — and are always there — the F-150's U shape detaches in the center, allowing either side to stow against the bed wall and free up the cargo floor for full use.
Another option is a side step that you pop out of the rocker panel in front of the rear wheel by kicking a button. It allows you to reach over the side of the cargo box. This eases access to Ford's take on C-channel rails that let you position tie-down cleats anywhere along the box's length. They're a spring-loaded pin design, like GM uses, so they can be repositioned in seconds without unscrewing anything. Other features that utilize these rails are heavy-duty partitions, crossbars and a Ford-branded tool box that hangs on the inner side of the box wall. Exterior features include:
- Capless fuel-filler system
- Available dealer-applied vinyl wraps to customize the F-150
- Available reverse-sensing and backup camera
- Available running boards or tubular side steps
- Available telescoping tow mirror
- Available two-tone paint on some models
The F-150 receives several new interior features that debuted on the 2011 F-Series Super Duty, including a revised instrument cluster with a best-in-class trip computer and truck information system and optional telescoping steering wheel that helps enhance driver comfort.
The interior includes enlarged buttons, controls and less-intrusive door panels with larger map pockets in the SuperCab and SuperCrew. There's a large, lockable center storage console to accommodate laptop computers, with added ridges compatible with hanging file folders.
The F-150's seats use high-grade materials and are available with powered adjustments, including lumbar support, heating and cooling. The materials are easier to clean, Ford says, and the higher trim levels use real woods and metals in the interior. Cabin noise has been lowered dramatically, Ford says, and the Platinum trim level boasts additional noise abatement.
The SuperCrew's cab provides a backseat that rivals the interior space of the Toyota Tundra Crew Max. The backseat flips up to reveal a flat floor and 57.6 cubic feet of cargo volume, according to Ford. The space is 47.9 inches high, floor to ceiling.
Despite questionable success with its Lincoln division's luxury pickups, Ford has decided to give the idea a try in the mother brand with the Platinum, which includes powered leather seats with accent stitching and embroidered logos. A USB port and MP3 jack for the stereo are standard, and the power-retracting running boards seen on the Expedition are now optional here, too.
The four-door SuperCrew F-150 Harley-Davidson has heated front captain's chairs and leather rear bench seats inspired by Harley-Davidson biker jackets.
The F-150 SVT Raptor adds a new SuperCrew configuration with extra room for backseat passengers. The Raptor has unique cloth and leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a center hash mark to help the driver quickly reorient to the centerline while running at high speeds off-road.
Other goodies include an optional backup camera (a stand-alone option) that helps line up a trailer hitch, plus the first integrated trailer-brake controller to be offered in a light-duty pickup. Ford's Sync voice-activated multimedia system is available with 911 Assist, a new service similar to GM's OnStar. An optional navigation system uses an 8-inch touch-screen that can show real-time traffic and gas prices for nearby stations when teamed with Sirius Travel Link, a service of Sirius Satellite Radio.
Under the Hood
Ford is replacing its legacy two-valve and three-valve 4.6-liter V-8 twins and the venerable three-valve 5.4-liter V-8 in the F-150 with technically advanced six- and eight-cylinder engines that Ford says will be the most fuel efficient in the industry. Ford is also shifting exclusively to six-speed automatic transmissions for every powertrain.
Ford's all-new Duratec 3.7-liter V-6 is the new base engine for the F-150. It's rated at 300 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque on regular unleaded fuel, though it will also burn E85 ethanol. Ford Ranger buyers are a potential target for the 3.7-liter V-6, when production of Ford's compact pickup ends in 2011. With all of this power, maximum trailer towing with the 3.7-liter V-6 is up to 6,100 pounds. The 3.7-liter V-6 will be available for all cab configurations, up to a two-wheel-drive SuperCrew — the only V-6 full-size pickup with a crew cab.
As originally announced in 2009, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 will be the first application of Ford's gasoline direct-injection twin-turbo technology in a half-ton pickup. It's Ford's effort to shrink engine displacement for improved fuel economy while delivering tons of low-end power. The twin-turbo setup should also prove ideal for towing at altitude, where a naturally aspirated engine can have difficulty feeding air to its cylinders. It will be rated to tow up to 11,300 pounds. In the engine lineup, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 6.2-liter V-8 will occupy the top two slots. Ford hasn't said how much it will cost. It may carry a premium over the 6.2. The EcoBoost V-6 won't be available in the F-150 until the first quarter of 2011.
The new 5.0-liter "Coyote" V-8 is rated at 360 hp (at 5,500 rpm) and 380 pounds-feet of torque (at 4,250 rpm). It's positioned as the midrange, high-volume engine choice for the F-150, below the 3.5-liter V-6 and conventional large-displacement 6.2-liter V-8. Although the 5.0 produces more power than the outgoing 5.4-liter V-8, it won't carry as high a tow rating. Its maximum will be only 9,800 pounds trailering, instead of 11,300 pounds. Peak torque has also moved up the rpm band, from a low 3,500 rpm in the 5.4-liter V-8.
The single-overhead-cam 6.2-liter V-8 that debuted in the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is rated at a brawny 411 hp and 434 pounds-feet of torque. Mechanical features include:
- 3.7-liter V-6 four-valve rated at 300 hp and 275 pounds-feet of torque
- 5.0-liter V-8 four-valve rated at 360 hp and 380 pounds-feet of torque
- 3.5-liter V-6 four-valve EcoBoost
- 6.2-liter V-8 two-valve rated at 411 hp and 434 pounds-feet of torque
Standard features, along with the required front airbags, include side curtain airbags to protect front and backseat occupants, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control and Roll Stability Control, which uses a sensor to detect the start of a rollover and attempts to forestall it. Other safety features include:
- Head restraints
- Seats designed to help keep passengers properly positioned
- Dual-stage front airbags
- Front seat-belt pretensioners
Of Interest to Truck Owners
- GVWR regular cab: 6,450-8,200 pounds (4x2), 6,650-8,200 pounds (4x4)
- GVWR SuperCab: 6,500-8,200 pounds (4x2), 6,700-8,200 pounds (4x4)
- GVWR SuperCrew: 6,800-7,100 pounds (4x2), 6,950-7,200 pounds (4x4)
- Payload regular cab: 1,670-3,030 pounds (4x2), 1,640-2,730 pounds (4x4)
- Payload SuperCab: 1,490-2,650 pounds (4x2), 1,420-2,340 pounds (4x4)
- Payload SuperCrew: 1,470-1,760 pounds (4x2), 1,370-1,660 pounds (4x4)
- Maximum towing capacity, regular cab: 5,400-11,300 pounds (4x2), 5,700-11,300 pounds (4x4)
- Maximum towing capacity, SuperCab: 5,200-11,300 pounds (4x2), 5,400-11,300 pounds (4x4)
- Maximum towing capacity, SuperCrew: 5,100-11,300 pounds (4x2), 7,700-11,200 pounds (4x4)
- Fuel tank capacity: 36 gallons (SuperCab 4x4 standard and long bed, SuperCrew 4x4), 26 gallons (all other models)
- Axle ratio: 3.15:1, 3.31:1, 3.55:1, 3.73:1
- Crawl ratio: 41.06:1 (6A with 3.73:1 axle)
- Minimum ground clearance: 8.6-9.9 inches (regular cab), 8.2-10.0 inches (SuperCab), 7.8-9.9 inches (SuperCrew)
- Approach angle: 22.2-24.3 degrees (regular cab), 21.1-25.5 degrees (SuperCab), 21.2-25.5 degrees (SuperCrew)
- Departure angle: 18.8-21.9 degrees (regular cab), 18.3-22.1 degrees (SuperCab), 18.1-20.7 degrees (SuperCrew)
- Ramp breakover: 17.7-19.9 degrees (regular cab), 15.7-19.8 degrees (Super Cab), 14.5-18.6 degrees (SuperCrew)
- Cargo-bed load height: 33.0-35.4 inches (regular cab), 32.6-35.7 inches (SuperCab), 32.2-34.6 inches (SuperCew)
- Cargo floor length: 67 inches (short bed), 78.8 inches (standard bed), 97.4 inches (long bed)
- Cargo floor width: 65.2 inches
- Cargo floor width at wheel well: 50.0 inches
- Cargo bed depth: 22.4 inches