When Ford rolled out its new powertrain lineup for the 2011 model F-150 pickups last fall they gave us autopressjocks a full day of driving the various engine offerings in a variety of situations. Most of that day was devoted to the new EcoBoost engine but since that time I have gotten a bit of seat time with the base V-6 and new 5.0 V-8 offerings.
As Ford has announced the disappearance of the Ranger pickup from their upcoming lineup they are hoping entry truck buyers will flock to a base F-150 outfitted with the new 3.7-liter V-6. Wearing truck attire the engine produces a peppy 302 horsepower, more than enough to achieve everyday duties in a pickup.
This powertrain setup is surprisingly smooth and quiet, as are all the new engine offerings in the F-150. Kudos to designers and engineers on this project as the 2011 Fords are the best F-Series yet. As with the larger engines, the V-6 is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission helping it achieve 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
The rig around the six was a 4×2 SuperCab (Ford’s designation for an extended cab which means almost four real doors) in XLT trim level. This is probably one of their more popular configurations. Pricing begins at $29,455 with our tester coming in at $32,525 after a chrome package, tow package and captains chairs are added on.
From there we stepped up into the 5.0 truck that was assembled into a 4×4 SuperCab rig sporting a bit more rugged FX4 trim.
The new V-8 spins out 360 ponies and produces 380 lb. ft. of torque, enough to achieve a tow rating of five tons. Sure, fuel economy suffers (dropping to 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway in 4×4 running gear) but this is a great workhorse package, perfect for everyone from ranchers to woodsmen (and women). You won’t be racing any Mustangs but the pony car won’t be pulling your tandem-axle trailer either.
Pricing at this point begins at $36,625 and the model that adorned our driveway came rolling in at $39,550 thanks to an FX Luxury package upgrade. For many, the truck will never come out of four-wheel drive and the 5.0 will not be tasked with topping out the dyno gauges but it is certainly nice to know it is there when you need it, albeit at a price.
My only gripe with these trucks is they sent the FX4 with a gorgeous black leather interior package – maybe nice for going out on the town but getting in and out on a daily basis when thermometers read three digits can be a bit uncomfortable.
After spending a bit of time with the 2011 F-150s it is easy to see why Ford is still No. 1 in truck sales – these things are that good.