If you believe the ads, trucks are only good if they're the biggest, most powerful and can tow/haul the most. It doesn't seem to matter what you need; if you're in the market for a truck, you're in the market for something that would be as at home in a quarry as your garage.
Then what's Ford doing shoving a 3.7-liter V6 into a 5,167-pound truck? Well, for one it makes 302 horsepower and an acceptable 278 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It can haul 1,600 pounds and tow 5,800 when equipped with the 3:73 rear end. They're not the biggest numbers in the game, but they're enough for the casual hauler, right?
Vehicle: 2011 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCab
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front-engine, rear wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: 3.7-liter V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,720/227
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 302 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 278 @ 4,000
Brake Type (front): 13.8-inch vented discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13.7-inch vented discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Electric-assist power steering
Suspension Type (front): Coil-over, independent
Suspension Type (rear): Leaf springs, shock absorbers
Tire Size (front): P265/60R18 109T M+S
Tire Size (rear): P265/60R18 109T M+S
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: LTX A/S
Tire Type: All-season
As tested curb weight (lb): 5,167
0-30 (sec): 3.1 (3.2 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.4 (5.5 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.2 (8.3 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.8 (7.9 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 12.2 (12.4 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.1 @ 86.5 (16.2 @ 86.3 w/TC on)
30-0 (ft): 32
60-0 (ft): 132
Slalom (mph):55.9 (56.3 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.71 (0.72 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 42.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 78.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.2
RPM @ 70: 2,050
Acceleration: No wheelspin seemed to work best. I tried one with what felt/sounded like an appropriate chirp, but it was slower. This engine has fairly accessible torque (can start in 3rd gear!) but it also revs to 7K. Very broad range of performance. Auto upshifts are smooth. Bangs on 7K limiter in manual mode.
Braking: Good pedal feel, good fade resistance and good distance (for a pickup).
Handling: Skid pad: Non-defeat ESC limits speed with both throttle and brake interruption. Steering feels terribly light (for a pickup). Slalom: Non-defeat ESC comes alive at a very low level -- just as I was trying to "drive around" the inherent understeer. Again, light steering belies 5,000 pounds of truck.