We've had quite a few performance-tuned (i.e. Raptor) and luxurious (i.e. King Ranch, Harley-Davidson, etc) F-150s come through here in the past, so it was refreshing to drive a more modestly equipped example this time around.
As my colleagues have noted, the big news for 2011 is the powertrain. F-150s receive four new engine offerings (including the EcoBoost twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6), but the addition of the all-new 5.0-liter V-8 is perhaps most welcome. It's powerful, responsive, and a vast improvement on the previous, anemic 5.4-liter.
Apart from the underhood revisions, the majority of the truck is essentially as Ford launched it back in 2009. That isn't a bad thing -- the current truck rides and drives rather nicely, and incorporates a number of subtle yet smart design cues (the outer door skins, for instance, almost wrap around the door sills to keep them clear of mud).
One new feature is the new in-cluster display screen. Not only does it provide the typical oil and transmission temperature readouts, but it also allows owners to preset trailer brake controller settings (if so equipped) for a number of different trailers. Neat.
Continual refinements like these improve on an already impressive product.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
It's too bad for this perfectly nice F-150 that it was overshadowed by the outrageous orange Raptor SVT that (just barely) parked in our garage a week later. Taken on its own merits, this F-150 XLT is pretty damn good.
The 5.0 is all the engine most drivers will ever need, even in big crew cab model like this. The truck is composed on rough rural roads and highways alike, and the cabin is comfortable and well laid out.
Ford seems to have settled down and gotten the F-150's chrome and trim under control after a few awkward years when this current model was introduced. While I prefer the blacked-out grille and bumpers and flared panels of the Raptor, this F-150 is a handsome machine.
Assuming the purchase of a pickup like this is one of utility, I'd opt for the slightly more compact SuperCab over the SuperCrew, and get a larger, 8-foot bed instead.
Matt Tierney, Art Director