So, how do you sell a high-dollar pickup truck with all the luxury amenities you can stuff into it? Ditch the Lincoln badge and label it the Platinum F-150. So the question is, is the F-150 Platinum the platinum standard? Let’s find out.
The exterior of the F-150 Platinum is differentiated from other F-150s by the unique grille and added silver trim on the rear tailgate. The power running boards, 20-inch chrome plated wheels, and tow mirrors all give the F-150 Platinum an understated, but unique look when in a parking lot next to another F-150 variant.
One of my passengers was enamored with the power running boards. The second someone yanks on the door handle on any door, the power running boards drop down from the bottom of the truck on both sides. When the running boards aren’t deployed you only see a chrome strip at the bottom of the doors. It almost acts as an accent piece.
The interior of the F-150 Platinum features everything you could ask for. Heated and cooled seats, touchscreen hard drive based navigation, Bluetooth, leather, soft touch materials, a Sony sound system – the list goes on and on. This isn’t just a work truck, it’s a full on luxury truck.
This truck is large. I don’t mean it just long either – it has a ridiculous amount of room inside the cab. Rear-seat legroom rivals many luxury cars. When you don’t need all that legroom for passengers, you can flip up the back seat to reveal a flat load floor. You can fit two bikes with the front wheels off in this space.
One of the unique touches inside the truck is the four-inch color LCD screen between the gauges. While it does have typical trip computer functions, it also has unique truck and off-road features. It can display the angle of each wheel along with the percentage of brake controller that is being used. It’s a unique piece of technology that the competition doesn’t offer.
We piled five people into the F-150 Platinum and drove four hours to Northern Minnesota. The three people sitting in back all agreed that the rear seat is very comfortable, with plenty of space. All passengers were shocked this was a truck with the capability to tow over 10,000 pounds, yet was so comfortable. The one large gripe I heard from the backseat was the lack of adjustable seat belts in the rear.
While all of the above is great, the real story here is the new 3.5-Liter Ecoboost V-6 that was powering this F-150. A similar engine has been offered in other Ford and Lincoln models over the last few years. This is the first time Ford has offered this engine in a truck. After ten minutes in the truck I instantly thought, what took so long?
A quick look at the numbers shows this 3.5-Liter V-6 featuring direct injection is rated at 365 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. The really important thing regarding that 420 lb-ft rating is that it is achieved at a mere 2,500 rpm. The torque at low revs is especially important for those who will use this truck to tow large loads.
The power is handled by a six-speed automatic, just like the 2010 F-150. But unlike the 2010 F-150, you now have the ability to manually shift. Having the ability to control shift points is another important factor for those who tow.
In normal around town and highway driving the Ecoboost engine sounds like a cross between a V-6 and V-8, but never has the low-end growl that a V-8 produces. Under hard acceleration if you listen closely, you can barely hear the turbos spool up.
While slamming the gas pedal won’t produce Shelby GT500-like acceleration, you definitely wouldn’t be held accountable for mistaking this engine for a V-8. You will be pushed back into your seat and the truck will get going with little hesitation.
Ford’s big push with the Ecoboost engine is the ability to get V-8 power while delivering better fuel economy. The F-150 Platinum Ecoboost I had came with a a 15/21 mpg EPA rating. I saw an average of 14.5 mpg around town in the suburbs and 16.9 mpg on the highway. I was slightly disappointed with my highway number. I was able to determine that cruising north of 70 mph is what killed my average. Driving in the same highway conditions loaded with the same luggage and five people I saw an average of 19.9 mpg cruising at 60 mph. My real world numbers were very close to the ratings.
So what to make of the 2011 F-150 Platinum? It’s pretty clear that a twin-turbo V-6 featuring direct-injection can easily compete with V-8s. It’s also clear that a luxury truck wearing a Ford F-150 badge will sell better than the same truck with a different name and a Lincoln badge, even with a sticker price of $53,700. Glad to see Ford realized that.
At the end of the week everyone that saw the F-150 Platinum agreed that this truck is packed with technology and luxury. The competition should be working hard on new engines and pulling long hours to implement technology that will make every truck owners life a little bit easier. It is clear Ford isn’t holding anything back in this competitive market.
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Ford