An optional 3.5-liter Ecoboost turbo V6 is new to the F-150 for 2011. It makes 365 hp. Peak torque of 420 lb-ft arrives at 2,500 rpm. This engine packs plenty of midrange punch after some slight lag off the line. Zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
Steering is weighted a bit heavier than previous F-150s, which adds a sense of stability to this truck's highway demeanor. But electric power steering keeps the effort light enough at low speeds that it doesn't feel like a 5,400-pound truck.
Ride quality is typical of a long wheelbase truck: Smooth with a load in the back but somewhat bouncy when unloaded -- especially on jointed LA freeways. That said, the F-150 rides smoother than many of its rivals.
Trucks aren't known for quiet cabins, but hey're getting better. The F-150 does a decent job of muting road noise, and the Ecoboost V6 is remarkably quiet, even at peak power. Tire roar and a touch of wind noise enters the cabin at highway speeds.
The F-150's stereo, clamate contral and other switches and knobs are easy to find and intuitive to use. A comfortable driving position is easy to establish, thanks to a telescopic steering wheel and highly adustable front seats.
Tall ride height and an upright seating position emphasizes forward visibility. The view to the rear is of course impeded by the tailgate, but a rearview camera is available. Extendable outside mirrors are a boon to towing.
Seat Access & Space
The step-in height of any pickup is an issue for shorter or less mobile folks. The F-150 offers tons of space up front, but the rear seats in the extended cab are torture over long distances and the clamshell rear doors are awkward in tight spots.
Cargo & Storage
The F-150 has a large, deep center console, numerous door pockets and several bins for interior storage. Our test truck had a 6.5-foot short bed, but an optional 8-foot long bed is available.
Nothing particulary outstanding or disappointing to report here. Our F-150 test truck comes across as well-built, inside and out, with reasonable material quality. The leather upholstery found inside our Lariat looks to be handsome and durable.
Our 4x2 test truck can tow 5,800 lbs because of its mpg-oriented axle ratio. Optional ratios can push that beyond 10,000 lbs, even with the EcoBoost V6 engine. Excellent built-in electric trailer brake controller, mirrors, tow stability control.