Review – 2011 Ford F-150 FX4

We’ve established more than once that I am not a truck guy. In all reality I don’t live in the country, I don’t work in construction, and while we have boats at my cabin, I only tow them a handful of times a year. So in essence, I don’t have a huge need for a truck on a daily basis.

Now that I’ve said all that, it is true that every time a truck lands in my driveway for a week I seem to get all excited. I like driving trucks. They are big, loud (comparatively speaking), and have ridiculous capabilities that I’ll never end up fully utilizing. But hey, those capabilities are there.

The Ford F-150 is the best-selling nameplate in America. For 2011 it received an all new engine line-up that is so good, the competition must be sitting wondering what just happened.

Recently a 2011 F-150 FX4 Supercab coated in cherry red paint landed in my driveway for a week. Featuring the new 5.0-liter V-8 engine and six-speed transmission, I was definitely excited to drive this truck.

Having been given a refresh back in 2009, the F-150 interior and exterior remain virtually unchanged. That isn’t a bad thing as this is one sharp looking truck. My FX4 tester featured the tinted headlights and taillights, which look terrific when combined with the black grille and candy red metallic paint. The 18-inch machine-faced alloy wheels wear a six-spoke design that is complimented by some grey paint for accents. Its as if each detail have been looked at both for functionality and style. I never thought I would say that about a truck.

My fiancée grew up in the country. Her dad owned a truck as his daily driver. When she got into the cab of the F-150 for the first time her jaw dropped. She looked at me and said, “This is what trucks are like?” Of course I kindly responded with something to the effect of, not all of them are like this. The Silverado we drove back in 2010 was nothing like this.

Most of the materials inside the F-150 are soft touch or leather. The bits that are hard are grained very nicely with a low sheen. This interior wouldn’t be out of place in a luxury car.

We ended up driving the F-150 down to Iowa and back to see some family (an unplanned trip). The seats are definitely firm, but very supportive. Someone using this truck 16 hours of the day for work will not be uncomfortable. To go along with that is the ride, which is controlled and never overly jarring. The suspension and tires soak up imperfections in the road with surprising ease. Wind noise is kept to a minimum and the sound system was decent. I hear the Sony branded system is terrific.

The new 5.0-liter V-8 is a true gem, especially paired to the six-speed transmission. The programming in the transmission isn’t all about upshifting as quickly as possible, rather it is about utilizing the torque this engine is producing. Speaking of the engine, if you slam the go pedal a terrific sound is produced and you almost want to continue…..that is until you realize how quickly you are closing in on triple digit speeds. For a truck, the F-150 is no slouch. With 360-horsepower and 380 pound feet of torqu, this truck has the power to get out of its own way.

Headed down to IA we always seem to average lower gas mileage due to the terrain. On the way down we saw an average of 15.8 mpg with the cruise control set north of 70 mph. That isn’t terrific considering the 19 mpg rating. Though on the way back up to Minneapolis we observed an average of 18.1 mpg with the cruise set at the same speed north of 70 mph. It’s worth mentioning that with the cruise set at exactly 60 mph I saw a consistent average of 20.1 mpg, which beats the EPA rating. Sadly I didn’t not have much time driving the F-150 in the city and really can’t give an accurate mileage observed report.

There was one feature on the F-150 that was really nice to have, a 4.2-inch LCD display between the gauges. This display was color and seemed to have a very high resolution. It had the ability to display anything from trip computer information to angle of the axles. It had a ridiculous amount of information available that was all easy to read and access.

So what’s the bottom line with the 2011 F-150 FX4? It looks the same as the 2010 F-150 FX4 but has a terrific range of engine options that puts the competition to shame. With an as tested price of $39,800 it offers the latest technology and more capabilities than most consumers will need. Is it the best truck on the road? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all three of the American made trucks are good trucks. You wont go “wrong” buying one. But if you want the latest technology, and the most diverse engine line-up in the pickup market, then the F-150 is your truck.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Ford

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