By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
Holding the title of America's best-selling pickup truck for 34 years running is no small feat, which is why the 2012 Ford F-150 pickup deserves every accolade it receives. With stiff competition from Ram and Chevy, not to mention Toyota and Nissan's full-size entries, Ford refuses to rest on its laurels, continuing to improve the F-150 full-size pickup with new features and better mechanical components. Last year, Ford gave the F-150 all-new engines and transmissions, and this year there's expanded use of an electronic locking rear axle replacing the old limited-slip unit. Yet, despite all its improvements, the 2012 Ford F-150 remains a tough workhorse designed to tackle big payload and towing jobs. With class-leading capabilities, impressive fuel economy and the only turbocharged 6-cylinder engine in the segment, the more than 30 different version of America's favorite pickup truck should continue to set sales records and send the competition scrambling to keep up.
"Built Ford Tough" isn't just an advertising slogan, it's the reason the Ford F-150 is the best-selling truck in the country. An impressive range of models and options permits the F-150 to be everything from a simple work truck to a super-plush family hauling machine.
With its strong resale and reliability ratings, about the only reason not to like the 2012 F-150 comes down to whether you like its bold and boxy styling.
The 2012 F-150 pickup receives a few important new features, beginning with the addition of Hill Start Assist and the inclusion of neutral tow assist on all 4x4 trucks. A new automatic 4x4 system is added to Lariat and higher trims, while a new FX Appearance package adds flat-black wheels and accents, black leather seats with red piping, and FX graphics. The FX Luxury package gains heated and cooling front seats.
Driving Impressions Despite its impressive payload and towing ability, the 2012 Ford F-150 doesn't ride like a stiffly-sprung work truck. In fact, it rides more like a plush Lincoln SUV....Every version of the F-150 we tested was devoid of a rough ride, with no shudder or hopping over rough or unpaved roads and a level of quiet unheard of (no pun intended) in a full-size pickup. Each version also provided ample power, with the least-liked engine being the base V6, and the most appreciated being the new twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. Thanks to the F-150's electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), we experienced a level of steering feel and control that belied the big Ford's 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.
Designed to deal with the awkward and potentially dangerous chore of getting into the pickup truck's bed, the integrated tailgate step on the 2012 Ford F-150 scores big. It deploys easily and even offers a safety hand-hold.
Roomy SuperCrew Cab
The cab in the 2012 F-150 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 2012 Ford F-150 has a sophisticated yet practical truck interior. Knowing that the hands controlling the F-150 will often be clad in some type of glove, be it work or ski, the F-150's design team has created buttons, knobs and switches that are slightly oversized, widely spaced and easy to reach. A thoughtful center console design can swallow two or more laptops or tablets; there are even slotted ridges along the sides for holding hanging files in place. In fact, there are clever storage compartments throughout the 2012 F-150's cabin for holding everything from beverages to cell phones. There are even two 12-volt outlets, one on the dash and one in the console, for recharging portable electronics, and an available 110-volt outlet. As for overall comfort, we think the F-150's contoured front seats are among the most comfortable in the class. The same goes for the rears seats, at least those on SuperCrew models.
With the exception of one generation late in the 1990s, the F-150 has always had an easily-identifiable boxy shape. The 2012 Ford F-150 continues the tradition but adds a healthy dose of oversized ornamentation (think grille, bumpers and mirrors) usually covered in chrome on upper trims. The 2012 F-150 features a strong front end, powerful shoulders and a tall bed wall creating a nice, deep box. Those tall bed walls, however, can be a bit of a hindrance when trying to access a tool box or gear in the bed's center. Understanding this problem, Ford offers an extendable side step on most models. Ford's 3-bar grille receives varying styling treatments depending on the trim level, ranging from simple black plastic pieces on base trucks, to a black mesh grille with the Ford name spelled out in huge block letters on the SVT Raptor, to a chrome-slathered behemoth found on the King Ranch and Platinum versions.
The 2012 Ford F-150 full-size truck 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 second-row center head restraint and integrated spotter mirrors.
For those who really use their pickup trucks as trucks, the 2012 Ford 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 2012 F-150 is the lack of a diesel option, but the four available gasoline engines – two V6s and two V8s – offer reasonable fuel economy, aided significantly by the addition of a 6-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 V8's best-in-class 11,300-pound tow rating.
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
278 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/21 (4WD), 12/17 (2WD, E85), 12/15 (4WD, E85)
3.5-liter V6, Twin-Turbocharged
365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/21 (4WD)
360 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
380 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250
EPA city/high fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD), 11/15 (2WD, E85), 10/14 (4WD, E85)
411 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
434 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (2WD), 12/16 (4WD)
By Big Hickory on Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun,tough,great looking,"
Cons: "Not great on gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm not a Ford person,I'm not a Chevy person,I'm not a Dodge person. All I knew is that I wanted a nice truck for my hard earned money, so I test drove a top of the line Chevy,Dodge and the F-150 . The interior and amenities of the F-150 were outstanding in every way...the Ford just felt better, more comfortable,stronger, safer. I got out after the test drive and just knew that I had to have my 2013 Ford F-150 lariat 4x4. This week I will have owned my truck for about a year and am sure happy with the decision I made."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By possum on Monday, January 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "6.2L and turns 1750 RPM at 65MPH w/4;10 gearing"
Cons: "Shocks are $6000. Tires are pricey."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Through my 41 years of driving, I have never owned a vehicle that has turned more heads then this Raptor has! And I have had some very fine cars, motorcycles and boats in my day."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Gary on Friday, January 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"When Ford introduced the F-150 Tremor as a 1 off model year special truck, it was trying to tie itself to the sport truck market of a decade ago (The F-150 lightning). While this truck is powered by a very agile 3.5L Ecoboost, with respectable 1/4 mile times and a 4.10 drive ratio, the truck seems to be more aligned to folks thinking it is a Baby Raptor. Some of the design makes it feel more raptor than Lightning. I have had this truck for 3 months, I enjoy it, get many compliments on it, but found it lost major value and fast ($6 sticker, current value $33,000. Seems strange for a very rare truck. Only 606 Tremors were produced, 404 of those were 2 wheel drive models, the remaining 202 are 4WD. Mine is one of the 4WD models. This truck uses the FX4 package but beefs up the rear axle, and shortens the passenger capacity. The 2 person Regular cab can only be bought through the Tremor Package from the FX4 line up. This truck drives nice, rides smooth and gets through the tough stuff, plus the towing capacity is over 9500lbs (Not bad for a V6). You'll have no problem turning under 14.0 1/4 miles with some slight tweaking of the ECM.Livernois makes tunes for this truck. Pros: It goes fast looks great, the interior is nicely designed and laid out and all the features are within arms reach. Cons: Off the dealer lot I had a blown speaker, and the Remote start stopped working after a week due to a bad fob. Couple that with a massive loss in value as noted earlier. While I did not pay sticker, the loss of 13k from sticker to KBB trade-in is huge, even for a rare truck, which is a shame. I think sticker shock will keeps folks away and truck enthusiasts will want one just for the sport truck factor but are they willing to pay top dollar for a rare truck."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Scotty on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great mileage, ride & power , fit & finish- great"
Cons: "King Ranch option is high priced. but worth it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Really love this truck , as with the 5.0 V8. it has great power and sound , mileage is good and I get a real life 17-19mpg in city or hwy. very quite & smooth ride. No problems what so ever in 30,000 miles. The only thing I do not care for is the traction control over ride - in the fact it defaults back to ON when ever the truck is shut off. I feel this truck is superior to all others on the market. I love the 5.0 V8 and will stay with that engine in my next one. Finish is perfect . It is what to expect in a truck that coast this much. Really love the exhaust note- Ford did their homework on this one."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By dennis on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,900overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"within 2 months car had to be jumpstarted 3 times . battery replaced . transmission moaned from rev to drive dealer said wait tell it repeats found out tsb on trans fixed problem. now i have a noise from inside door when opening and closing"
13 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Joe on Monday, January 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price and fun to drive"
Cons: "None at this time"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The truck is very comfortable, it handles well and the gas mileage is actually better than advertised even when I pull a trailer with 3k lbs loaded. I did get the 5.0 engine and talking to to several friends and others with the eco boost v6 they say the 5.0 performs better. I never drove the eco boost so I don't know this for fact. If I ever trade it, it will be for another Ford with the 5.0. Definitely a great truck."
21 people out of 45 found this review helpful