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 76_umatt on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Hard to beat!"
Cons: "These trucks can cost more due to the options"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 2010 is a great truck! Plenty of room inside for the family. My 95 F150 was a Lightning (i loved it, but needed more cab room) and I had zero issues with it. The 2010 costs more but has so many more features: more power, more seating, Sync system (unbelievable!), better ride. Overall this truck is everything i could ask for!"
By Iknowvehicles on Monday, July 07, 2014
I owned and sold this caroverall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Starts and drives."
Cons: "almost everything"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"It starts and drives, but the benefits kinda end there. I don't know where to start. First I'll mention that it is in my best interest that these trucks are good, quality, useable trucks. I work for someone that has a large stake in these trucks. I mean really large, but alas we are consumers of these trucks. Here's the truth. The visibility is horrible in any direction that isn't straight ahead or out the driver's window. You cannot look over your shoulder for traffic, or backing out of parking spaces. Well you can look, but all you see is the wall behind the side window, and headrests. Folding the center seat down is nearly impossible from the driver's seat. If you have long arms and large hands like I do, it can be done, but you just might dislocate your shoulder. The seat folds down to be an arm rest that is a different height from the arm rest on the door. So if you're driving far, make an appointment with a chiropractor. The lever that you pull to adjust the seatback is nearly impossible to get your hand on too. You have to reach down and back, and lock your elbow to reach it, then try to adjust the seat while it's against your locked elbow. The climate control is just a big clutter of buttons and knobs. The blower fan has four settings: #1 barely moving, #2 I can feel it, #3 It's starting to work, and #4 put on motorcycle goggles and wear hearing protection, because that sucker is obnoxious. The doors dent in if the wind blows too hard on them. Well not really, but I can push them in more than an inch with two fingers. The shifter detents are all wrong, where you have to pull to get from drive to neutral, which results in going straight to reverse or park most of the time. What ever happened to being able to safely and easily slip from drive to neutral for convenience or safety? The crank window model has the window crank between the seat and the door, so you basically have to open the door to be able to crank the window, unless your arm is outfitted with a hook or something. I've looked at a LOT of these trucks (literally hundreds), and with the vast majority of them, the body line from the bed doesn't line up with the cab. It's either left or right of center by about 3/4 of an inch, sometimes more. I've seen many of them with only 3-10,000 miles on them where the steering column is scraping against the steering wheel when you turn. When you drive over bumps, the whole truck shudders and shakes, and the empty seats shake around. The cup holders are almost not useable. If you have someone in the center seat, of course they're not useable at all. This new turn signal design that's being used is just downright dangerous. Nobody should be changing lanes with only 3 flashes (it automatically flashes 3 times when you just bump it part way), but you can hold the lever just like we have been doing for 50 years to get the 5 or 6 flashes needed to sensibly change lanes. Where it gets bad is cornering. You push it all the way, the lever returns all the way to center, of course the signal stays on. You push it in any direction to turn it off. If you make a corner, then need to make another corner, or change lanes to get into position to make another corner, you'll just end up with no signals, or no way to signal the right direction at the right time. It's horrible. It's no wonder nobody signals. Overall, these things are awful failures of engineering."
By Sarry on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,600overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Great vehicle but to large for us I traded in my Ranger for this not realizing it was quite high off the ground."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JANITOR on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great ride"
Cons: "sync is just ok..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Drive great, comfy too, mileage is 18-24, flex fuel is less, overall a great solid truck, pulling out of this world, 4x4 never a issue, 1st Ford and im well ok with it... over all a 9 just b/c the radio design needs updated and sync is not advanced as on star...."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By PGHTucson on Monday, June 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The price was right, the drive is smooth and quiet"
Cons: "I can't find anything negative to say"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned 1 Nissan and 2 Chevy trucks over the last 30 years. My last truck was a fully loaded 2003 Silverado crew cab. I wasn't really in the market for a new truck, mine was still in great shape and running condition and I certainly hadn't considered a Ford, but we were out one day and my wife convinced me to look at the new 2013 Ford F-150s. I was really impressed with this truck and then went to compare the equally appointed Chevy.... no comparison. The dealer gave me top dollar on my trade and with several concessions brought the truck price to a point I could work with. I have owned my truck for a little over 6 months now and drove it from Tucson to Southern Florida and back. The ride was smooth and the interior noise was minimal, my wife and I could hold normal conversations even on noisy roads. I never thought I would hear myself say I really like Ford over Chevy, but this truck has changed all that. I am really impressed with everything about it."
45 people out of 83 found this review helpful
By logan on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The rear compartment has more room than any auto. the seats fold up and you have all kinds of room. I even put a sleeping bag on floor and sleep comfortable. the only downside is the spare tire goes in wrong so you have to drop it to check air pressure."
18 people out of 41 found this review helpful