By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
That the F-150 is the best selling truck in America for 33-years running tells you Ford must be doing something right when it comes to their full-size pickup line. Ever increasing competition, however, has forced Ford to step up its game, especially in the one area the F-150 has shown vulnerability in the past: Power. In what Ford bills as the most extensive powertrain overhaul in the 62-year history of the F-Series pickup, a total of four all-new engines and a new six-speed automatic transmission move the F-150 to the top of the horsepower and fuel economy charts. But Ford has not forgot the core purpose of its fabled truck, and knows that the bulk of its sales will come from buyers who genuinely need the unique aspects full-size pickups offer – big payload and towing capacities among them – instead of those who simply want to be seen in a pickup. With this in mind, Ford engineers have built in class-leading capabilities in both these areas while, at the same time, boosting fuel economy across the board. But don't think they skimped on creature comforts, as the 2011 Ford F-150 offers increasing levels of luxury from among its 35 variants.
If you want a truck with serious towing and payload capabilities, yet as quiet and comfortable as many luxury sedans, then the F-150 should surely be on your shopping list.
Despite this year's new round of engine choices, the 2011 F-150 still doesn't offer a diesel option, so if you are a firm believer in diesel you must shop elsewhere.
Four new engines mark the big changes for the 2011 Ford F-150: a 3.7-liter V6, 5.0- and 6.2-liter V8s, and a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. For the first time, a six-speed automatic is standard on all F-150 models. Other new features include the use of electric power-assisted steering, an available 4.2-inch LCD message center, a larger in-mirror rearview camera system, and a telescoping steering wheel.
Driving Impressions Ford is so proud of the F-150's payload and towing capabilities that it might be natural to assume the 2011 version would "ride like a truck." The surprising news is...it doesn't. Instead, each and every version of the F-150 we've driven offered exceptional ride quality – no shudders, hops or hiccups – and a level of quiet that was startling. Each version also offered ample power, good acceleration and, thanks to the new electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), a level of steering feel and control that belied its size and heft. Perhaps most impressive was the towing demonstration in which we hauled 20-foot trailers with absolutely zero drama, thanks in large part to the pickup's trailer sway control, rearview camera and integrated trailer brake controller. Our off-road excursions in the well-equipped four-by-four versions of the truck demonstrated it has the goods to get it done in muck and mire as well.
Designed to deal with the awkward and potentially dangerous chore of getting into the pickup truck's bed, the integrated tailgate step scored big. It deploys easily and even offers a safety hand-hold.
Roomy SuperCrew Cab
The cab in the 2011 SuperCrew is so roomy it out-measures some full-size sedans. In fact, the rear-seat legroom is absolutely limousine-like, and the mechanically articulated second-row seat flips up and out of the way, delivering an ample 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats.
The 2011 Ford F-150's interior is both attractive and functional. Knowing men's hands would most often be using the controls, Ford designers made the knobs, buttons and switches brawny and put them within easy reach of the driver. The center console is both long and wide enough so it can easily accommodate two or more laptops, and it even has ridges so it can accept file folders. It is just one of more than 30 storage areas built into the interior for things like cell phones and music players. We especially appreciate the dash-mounted USB port and auxiliary music player input, plus the two easily accessible 12-volt outlets – one on the dash and one in the console – and even an available 110-volt outlet. Ford also paid special attention to the seats, which are some of the most comfortable in our experience.Exterior
Two generations ago Ford designers penned a swoopy, almost Ferrari-like F-150 that bowled over critics but didn't play as well with truck buyers. In the two generations since, Ford has made the F-150 much huskier, with an imposing front end, strong shoulders and a deep, deep pickup box. One drawback are the box's tall sides that make reaching into the center of the bed a difficult chore for all but the tallest among us; an available extendable side step somewhat alleviates this problem and is an option worth considering. The three-bar grille is the most important element of the design and if you're paying attention you can tell an F-150 trim level simply by the grille treatment – ranging from simple in the more work-oriented versions to more luxury-car-like looks for the up-level Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum versions.
The 2011 Ford F-150 comes in flavors ranging from plain vanilla all the way to banana split with whipped cream, nuts and sprinkles, but one thing all levels share is a robust, hydro-formed, boxed-section chassis that offers superior torsional rigidity while actually being lighter than the old-fashioned ladder frames of the past. The level of standard safety equipment is truly outstanding, including AdvanceTrac with RSC traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags with roll-fold technology for enhanced head protection in rollovers and side impacts. Safety is also enhanced by front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, "smart" airbags and seatbelts, a new second-row center head restraint and integrated spotter mirrors.
For those who really use their pickup trucks as trucks, the F-150 offers some exclusive options that are right on the money. Our two favorites are the integral tailgate step that makes clambering into the box easy and the spring-out box side steps that make reaching into the vehicle's deep cargo box much more convenient. Also earning high marks are the stowable bed extender and beefy cargo management system. And for those who have ever left a tool on a work site, never to see it again, the Tool Link radio-frequency identification tracking system enables you to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools and/or equipment stored in the pickup box. When it's kick-back time, Ford's SYNC, SIRIUS Travel Link and a high-powered Sony brand audio system help you while away the time.
Do you want a gasoline engine or a gasoline engine? Perhaps the only shortfall with the 2011 F-150 is the lack of a diesel option, but the four new gasoline engines available – two V6s and two V8s – offer reasonable fuel economy, aided significantly by the addition of a six-speed automatic transmission. A twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 is offered, a first for this segment and an engine that promises both strong performance and good fuel economy. Both the 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 are fitted with fuel-saving twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) technology, and for towing needs, nothing can beat the two-valve per cylinder 6.2-liter V8s best-in-class 11,300-pound tow rating.
302 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
3.5-liter V6, twin-turbocharged
365 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
420 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBA
360 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
380 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250
EPA city/high fuel economy: TBA
411 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
434 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBA
By Scuba Steve on Saturday, August 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looking truck"
Cons: "can't haul much in this truck"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"For the most part I am very pleased with the truck with the exception of the dash being basically computer smarts to operate. What was Ford thinking (or not thinking) I don't want to have to be a computer smart person to drive a vehicle. Give the consumer an option on the radio, I don't want Siris Satellite Radio (which is the ONLY radio option) in my truck, give me a dash without computer gismos and a multi-disk CD changer and I'm happy! The truck bed is supposed to be a 6' 6" bed but useable space is only 6'2", the bed is narrower than any other full-sized truck-bed on the market, however you still have 48" between wheel-wells as with most full-sized trucks. Narrower interior in the cab than any other full-sized truck on the market."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Ed on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "Poor Ac and loud cooling fans"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Poor ac and cooling, electric fans are annoying. I am sorry I bought this retirement truck, but I have always had good luck with Ford used trucks. So at retirement I treated myself to a new truck, big mistake in the 2013 model. No better gas mileage than my 08. I would not recommend this year model!"
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Surf guy on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Repeated brake issues, the bed squeaks, the interior scratches with the lightest of touch, the gas milage is not what was on the sticker etc etc."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By RB on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Leather, Navigation and Satellite should be stand"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a great powerful truck. The only problem I have had is that I pull a fifth wheel and sometimes need a little more power but she gets the job done. May get the big diesel next time."
By David A on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Twin Turbo V6 engine"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Premium White, two tone, King Ranch 4X4, with chrome step board, 20" wheels, and coated bed. Carpets have been covered, now like new."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Beach Guy on Saturday, August 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, speed, towing, quality of workman ship"
Cons: "Must have backup camera trouble seeing when backin"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My GMC needed a $4k engine rebuild at 65,000 miles, GM said good on miles for warranty work but 4 months past on 5 year time period. I said fine, fixed it and sold it. Got me a beast of a Ford FX4! I went looking for a FX2 (same truck, 2wd) dealership made me a better deal on this one. Loads of speed on the Eco Boost 3.5lt V-6, took it off road (because I just had too) and had a blast. My only concern is minor electrical issues with rear power window/defroster and drivers heated seat, both we're fixed under warranty, but less then three years old and 30k on odometer to me deserved to be mentioned. Easy to tow with, mine came with the ungraded tow pkg, I can hardly feel my 12 foot trailer loaded with four 55 gallon drums of oil. Over all I love my truck!"
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful