2011 Ford F-150 XLT 5.0-liter V-8: Still tough and now even more powerful
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The perennial top-selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150 has been King of the Road for 33 years. Now in its 12th generation, the pick-up that was introduced in 1948 on a quest to become “America’s Truck” is still Built Ford Tough, but this year, safety, tech and comfort are enhanced and power is the central focus.
The most extensive powertrain overhaul in the 63-year history of Ford’s F-Series highlights the 2011 Ford F-150. The engine lineup includes four new truck engines: a 3.7-liter V-6; 5.0-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s and a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost™ as well as last year’s 6.7-liter turbodiesel and 5.4-liter Triton V-8.
My test F-150 was powered by a front-mounted Flexible Fuel 5.0-Liter, V-8, Ti-VCT 32-Valve, DOHC, SEFI Engine that runs on an ethanol/gas mixture with up to 85 percent ethanol. The set-up is rated at 14mpg in the city, 19mpg on the highway and 16mpg combined on regular fuel and 10-city, 14-highway and 12-combined with ethanol as the primary fuel. My week of tests on standard fuel averaged 15.7mpg.
The F-150 I drove was bathed in Tuxedo Black Metallic paint and it looks powerful, sexy and cool wearing that coat. The pick-up was adorned with fog lamps, trailer tow package, 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, dimming function mirrors, privacy glass, tinted glass, step-up bumper, self-locking hubs, fold-down tailgate and an underbody tire carrier.
My XLT Super Crew came with a 6.5-foot Styleside bed and sat on a wheelbase 156.5 inches, measuring out with a length of 243.9 inches, cab height of 75.6 inches, width of 79.2 inches (with mirrors, the width is 97 inches) and a minimum ground clearance 8.1 inches. The 5,716-lb. curb weight is confident and sturdy; while the power can tow 8,000 lbs with no problem … some packages will get you up to an 11,300-lb. towing capacity.
Performance-wise, the XLT is a tough truck that is built to work hard, but is comfortable enough a versatile enough to take the kids to school, pick up groceries and even go out for a night on the town.
Created to navigate off-road and on-the-jobsite road ruts and also smooth out interstate irregularities and post-winter city potholes, the 4x4 SXT is set with a coil-on-shock, long-spindle double wishbone independent front suspension with stamped steel lower control arms and a Hotchkiss-type non-independent live rear suspension with leaf springs and outboard shock absorbers.
Accelerating with aplomb, this XLT managed a zero-to-60mph sprint in 7.8 seconds and a 16-second flat quarter-mile on a slightly damp track.
The Super Crew has cab dimensions of 41 inches of front headroom and 40.3 inches for the crew; shoulder room is 65.9 inches for driver and passenger and 65.5 inches in the second seats; hip room goes 60.5 inches up front and 64.6 for the crew cab inhabitants and leg room is 42.4 in row one and 43.5 in back.
Inside, the Pale Adobe interior offers seating for six, 40/20/40 split folding reclining bench seat, cloth front seats, fold down center armrest, second row folding split center bench seats, color-coordinated carpet and floor mats, power air conditioning, rear seat HVAC ducts, 4-speaker speed-sensitive AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD players and Sync in-car connectivity, cruise control, electronic shift-on-the-fly, delayed power retention system, front and rear power outlets, tilt steering column, tachometer and trip computer.
Safety items include side guard door beams, rollover sensor, safety canopy front and rear row side curtain airbags, and front row torso side airbags driver and passenger airbags, personal safety crash sensor, keyless entry with remote lock and unlock, vehicle anti-theft system, panic button and alarm and child door safety locks. In IIHS crash tests the F-150 received the Good overall score in both front and side impact tests and was given the Top Safety Pick award and in NHTSA crash tests, the F150 scored a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in frontal driver and passenger and side driver and passenger tests, getting 3 out of 4 stars in 4WD rollover situations.
Starting at $22,950 for a base XL (3.7-liter V-6 engine) and moving all the way up to base price of $37,010 for an FX4 (5.0-liter, V-8 4-wheel drive) my test truck was an XLT with a starting sticker of $26,500. 3.7-liter V-6 … it came with 2-wheel-drive, but I prefer 4-wheel drive so that was added and raised the price by $3145 and upgraded to a 5.0-liter engine that added 58 horses and more than 100 lbs-ft of torque to the mix).
The Super Crew cab added $6935 and came with a 6.5-foot box. The $1595 Chrome package added chrome clad aluminum wheels, all-terrain tires, chrome running boards, grille, front tow hooks, and exhaust tip, as well as power locks and windows, black power mirrors and perimeter alarm. The XLT Convenience Package, for $950, added power heated mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirrors, 6-way power driver’s seat, power adjustable pedals, Ford SYNC, 4.2-inch LCD cluster, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 5-way steering wheel controls. The trailer tow packaged was $375 and destination charges added $950, but package specials discounted the final sticker by $1475 to $38,975.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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Journalist note: Information about the Carlisle Events Group, its event listings, auction offerings and expo center is available to journalists by phone:
Carlisle Event Marketing Dept.
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