2011 Ford F-150 with EcoBoost:Powerful, quiet…and economical

10 May 2011 | 2,327 views | No Comment
       By Don Hammonds  Superlatives have been tossed around in the auto industry for decades, so those of us at Automobile Journal--like car writers everywhere--tend not to believe everything we've been told.       But the new 2011 Ford F-150 with EcoBoost does indeed measure up to its advance publicity.  It also went beyond what was expected in a way that I rarely see mentioned anywhere, even in Ford materials: The F-150 with EcoBoost is almost eerily quiet.  You usually don't  even hear the engine, and its absolutely noiseless underway.  That makes for one really refined pickup truck.  And one more thing--this is the quietest truck I've ever driven without a load in the truck bed. Not a peep, not a rattle, not a heaving sound, nothing.  As advance publicity has said on the F-150 with EcoBoost, it's relatively economical, with the 3.5 liter, twin turbocharged, 365 horsepower  EcoBoost V-6  rated at 15/21, and with an annual estimated gasoline cost of $2,646, based on 15,000 miles of driving at $3.00 a gallon. We pretty much hit those marks in testing in a variety of conditions. It runs on regular gas, too. Our test model,  a 4 x 4 SuperCrew with a 145 inch wheelbase, had a final price of $47,465.     In addition, the quality control and materials were nothing short of impeccable.  There's a reason why Ford is popular with consumers and gaining sales quickly.  Consumers are smart, and they know a good, well-built product when they see one.      Now, we know that truck drivers are likely to worry about whether the EcoBoost equipped F-150 has enough power for everyday driving and getting the job done on the highway.  They can stop worrying.  The F-150 with EcoBoost really does feel faster than the previous models equipped with V-8s. It pulls smartly when you hit the pedal, and is an absolute joy to drive around town.   Ford officials say that the truck has 420 pounds feet of torque, and 90 percentof that is available from 1,700 to 5,000 rpms, which explains the excellent initial pick-up of the engine. The F-150 has none of the ponderousness you might expect from a pickup truck, and really feels a lot lighter and more maneuverable when you drive it.  I always get a knot in my stomach when I have to park  a huge truck like this one. But I really tossed the F-150 around pretty well, and seldom-- to my surprise--- had a worry about hitting something or having to squeeze into tight spots. Kudos to Ford and its engineers for the steering/suspension setup and for the efficiency of the rear parking camera and the parking sensor system. Visibility is excellent all around,   and with my short stature, I never felt like I had to lift myself off the seat in order to see everything around me.  One sore point though: The side view mirror on the passenger side was so huge it obstructed my view to the right considerably, and it provided the only anxiety I had about being able to see well.        Inside---wow!  This is a luxury truck, gang. The seating was really nicely done, and sitting in the back seat of the SuperCrew was plenty roomy for all of us. Trim and materials were all done nicely and combined in an attractive presentation.  One thing you may have to get used to though is the incredible brightness of the lighting and the almost bewildering number of colors used for gauges and controls, more than I can recall from other products I've driven recently.  There's an awful lot to look at, and I wondered sometimes if it wasn't all a bit distracting.    Anothert thing: Yeah, it had sex appeal!  "That is absolutely the sexiest thing I've seen on wheels," one person--and not a big fan of pickups--said to me.  I came to think of the F-150 as a large, muscled thoroughbred of a horse that was quiet and well-mannered.  No wonder they sell so many F-150s.       Other niggles:  There was no handle to grab along the windshield post on the drivers side as you get on the passenger side.  With no running board, getting up into the F-150 took considerable work. That side view mirror mentioned earlier was a bother, and the Sync with voice activation is a nice system, but it's way too complex to figure out quickly even with an owners manual.  I suggest making sure you do your adjustments and setups before you drive off in this truck.        All in all, this is a pickup truck I'd be quite happy to have parked in my driveway--not just for a week, either.

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