Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ford's 2011 F-150 pickups ($19,999-$64,899) don't look any different from the outside, but the overhauled drivetrains represent "the most significant (engine and transmission) change in the F-Series' 62-year history," says Derrick Kuzak, Ford's head of global product development.

Kuzak is not one for wild, rah-rah hype, yet his and the claims of others at Ford have been strong and emphatic - so much so I was prepared to be disappointed. I wasn't. The new engines and transmission are remarkable and the EcoBoost V-6 is something of a revelation.

The much-hyped EcoBoost V-6 is powerful and responsive and does not feel at all like a turbo motor. The base 302-hp V-6 is solid enough, too, and would be just fine for many pickup owners who don't have big rigs to tow. Meanwhile, the new 5.0-litre V-8 and the carryover 6.2-litre V-8 do quite well at the business of moving heavy trucks with trailers in tow.

Story continues below advertisement



THE PICKUP ENGINES

The 2011 F-150's new engine lineup

3.7-litre V-6, standard (302 hp; 12.9 litres/100 km city/8.9 highway)

3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6 (365 hp; 13.0 city/9.0 highway)

5.0-litre V-8 (360 hp; 15.0 city/10.5 highway)

6.2-litre V-8 (411 hp; 16.9 city/11.4 highway)



Note, too, that all but the 6.2 trucks get well-tuned electric power assist steering (EPAS). This is a fuel-saving innovation on trucks that improves steering feel and responsiveness as a happy byproduct. The 6.2 continues with hydraulic power steering; it feels heavier and more sluggish in tight turns than the electric steering.

The star attraction of Ford's pickup lineup, however, is the EcoBoost V-6, which is a $1,000 step up from the 5.0-litre V-8. Pulling a trailer with this engine was eye-opening. It felt more V-8-like than the V-8 rivals that Ford had hitched up for comparison during a recent test.

With a trailer behind, the EcoBoost-powered F-150 pulled the trailer quite nicely uphill and down, around corners (credit Ford's built-in trailer sway control system) and on straight-aways. All the while the truck was quiet and composed.

A new trick feature to keep the driver informed about all sorts of stuff is the "4.2" driver info screen (a reference to the screen size) between the large round speedometer and tachometer. It allows you to choose what data you want using a menu. Want to know your most recent five-minute fuel economy history? You've got it.

Lastly, a few words about the 5.0-litre V-8. This engine first appeared last year under the hood of the 2011 Ford Mustang GT and it's a fully modern, all-aluminum power plant.

In the Mustang, it cranks out 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque on the recommended premium gasoline. In the F-150, using a steady diet of 87-octane unleaded regular, horsepower is rated at 360, with torque at 380 lb-ft - some 45 horses and 15 lb-ft of torque more than its predecessor, the 5.4-litre V-8.

The 5.0-litre is a significant step forward. It feels responsive and eager and like all the engines is tied to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic.

Story continues below advertisement

Hard-core truckers should know that to get a 2011 Ford F-150 up near the max tow rating of 11,300 pounds you'll need to opt for the 3.5-litre V-6 EcoBoost engine or the 6.2-litre V-8, the two rock-star engines that sit above the 5.0 V-8 in both power and price.

No surprise there, though. You didn't expect the big towing number to come for free, did you?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies