Technically, the Ford F150 series of pickup trucks are half-ton trucks. But it would seem that someone forgot to tell the trucks. Beginning with the first look, you are greeted with a bold, big boy front chrome grill. That bold statement is followed up by strong molded fender flares gracing all wheel openings.

The strong F150 statements don’t end with the looks. Ford offers the 2011 F150 with a choice of four power plants: a 3.7-Liter Four Valve TI-VCT V6, a 5.0- Liter four-valve dual overhead camshaft TI-VCT V8, a 6.2-Liter Two-Valve Single Overhead Camshaft V8 and their all new 3.5-Liter TI-VCT EcoBoost V-6.

Our test vehicle was equipped with the 5.0 Liter V8. All Ford F150’s are mated to a six speed automatic transmission. Ford is the first and only manufacturer to equip its entire full-sized pickup lineup with fuel-saving automatic transmissions.

The 5-0 liter V8 delivers a best in class 360 hp, and 380 lb.ft. of torque vs. standard V-8 competition. The F-150’s best in class stats continue with a 10,000 lb. maximum trailer towing. Those are strong numbers for a half-ton truck.

And it does all this on regular fuel. The EMA rates the 5.0 V-8 equipped F-150 4×4 at 14 cities and 19 hwy. We never saw less than 17 mpg in combined driving, and averaged 18.5 mpg with a 1000 lb payload in the bed. We were really impressed with such economy on a four-wheel drive equipped truck.

We were equally impressed with the car like drivability of our F150 4X4 SuperCrew XLT. Nimble is an adjective not often used to describe a pickup, but it fits on the new F-150.

Along with improved fuel economy, another key benefit of the F150’s Electronic Power Assisted Steering is that the steering gear can be more precisely tuned for optimum feel for on-road and parking efforts. The tuning is software-based, so the steering can be programmed and essentially customized to each model based on wheelbase, power train and other factors.

There are increased content and choices throughout the F-150 lineup. The wide range of power train options is complemented by the greater variety of offerings in the 2011 F-150 as well as the expanded content. A 4.2-inch LCD message center and larger in-mirror rear view camera screen are among the new customer conveniences available.

New clusters include the available 4.2-inch LCD message center screen’s menu options display, which features information related to fuel economy, towing performance and off-roading. The menu is navigated through a five-way button on the steering wheel. The screen in the rearview mirror for the rear view camera option not only is larger (increased from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches); it has higher resolution than the outgoing version. Further, customers can zoom in or out, which is particularly helpful during towing hookup and other towing operations.

Other new standard and available content includes a three-point safety belt and head restraint for the middle passenger in the front seat, express up and down front windows, 110-volt outlet, Remote Start, telescoping steering wheel, HD Radio™ and perimeter alarm.

Two technology stalwarts of Ford trucks are available again for 2011 – SYNC® and Ford Work Solutions™. SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information leverages industry-leading voice-recognition software, integrated GPS technology and a Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone to deliver personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather – without the need for a built-in navigation system.

Ford Work Solutions features an in-dash computer that provides full high-speed Internet and wireless accessories that include a mouse and printer; Tool Link™, a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking system that enables customers to maintain a real-time inventory of tools or equipment stored in the vehicle; Crew Chief™, a fleet telematics and diagnostics system; and Cable Lock System to secure large tools or equipment in the cargo area.

Ford works hard to continually improve the safety of their workhorse vehicles. New for the 2011 Ford F-150 are a seat-integrated shoulder belt for the front middle seat, a head restraint for the second-row middle seat and integrated spotter mirrors. These additions join numerous standard safety features, including an advanced safety cage with high-strength steel and six standard airbags.

We found our XLT outfitted with heavy weight cloth captain chairs to be all that most would need in a truck, but Ford gives their truck customers a host of trim level options: basic trim levels – XL, STX, XLT, FX2/FX4 and Lariat – are again offered in addition to King Ranch®, Platinum, SVT Raptor and Harley-Davidson F-150. Joining the XLT lineup is the new XLT Custom package tailored for customers who opt for the 3.7-liter V6. Available in all cabs in two-wheel-drive configuration, the XLT Custom exterior includes 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tip, body-color 4-inch running boards, body-color front and rear bumper fascias, unique grille with body-color surround and chrome billet insert.

A serious look at the Ford 150 line up and it’s easy to see why they have maintained their position as the number one selling half ton truck for 33 years running.

STATS:

  • Horsepower: 360 hp / 380 ft. lb. of torque
  • Mileage: 14 city/ 19 hwy
  • MSRP: $35,895.00 Price as tested: $38,965.000
  • Seating capacity: five
  • Recommended fuel: regular

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT:

  • Preferred Equipment Pkg 507A
  • XLT Series
  • AM/FM STEREO/CLOCK, SINGLE CD
  • 3.73 RATIO LIMITED SLIP AXLE $300.00
  • 7200 # GVWR PACKAGE
  • SELECT SHIFT TRANSMISSION
  • 36 GALLON FUEL TANK
  • TRAILER TOW PACKAGE 375.00
  • XLT CONVENIENCE PACKAGE 950.00
  • POWER ADJUSTABLE PEDALS
  • SYNC VOICE ACTIVATED SYSTEMS
  • POWER SIGNAL HEATED MIRRORS
  • KEYLESS ENTRY PAD 75.00
  • XLT CHROME PACKAGE 1,595.00
  • P275/65R18 OWL ALL-TERRAIN
  • CHROME STEP BAR
  • .18 CHROME CLAD WHEELS
  • CLOTH CAPTAINSS CHAIRS 300.00
  • TAG 042D163 C C31
  • TOTAL OPTIONS $39,490.00
  • DEST. & DELIVERY 975.00

TOTAL BEFORE DISCOUNTS $40,465.00

DISCOUNTS:

  • XLT CONVENIENCE CHROME 1.500.00
  • TOTAL SAVINGS $1,500.00

TOTAL MSRP $38,965.00

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Pictures © Ossamah Shabbir