First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Platinum. Click image to enlarge

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Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2011 Ford F-150

Despite soaring fuel prices, North America’s growing distaste for foreign oil dependency and the general greening of our collective consciousness, pickup trucks are doing quite nicely, thank you. In fact, sales are through the roof.

(David Suzuki, if you’re reading this, best go take a walk).

Last year, the segment was up 20 per cent (while compact cars sales actually fell) and year to date, the Ford F-150 pickup has posted a record for the number of vehicles sold (including cars) in Canada for the period. Ever.

In case you think this is some kind of aberration, the F-150 has been the top selling vehicle in Canada for 45 years.

(Okay David, you can come back now.)

First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost FX4. Click image to enlarge

But here’s some encouraging news. According to Ford, fuel economy is now on the pickup buyer’s radar, leaping to about number 10 on the list of important criteria. Ten doesn’t sound like much, but in years past fuel economy rated somewhere between pastel running boards and lipstick holders.

For 2011, Ford has broomed the F-150’s engine bay, ditching the two 4.6-litre V8’s and the 5.4-litre V8 to make room for a quartet of brand new powerplants that reduce fuel consumption across the line-up by 20 per cent. Additionally, all 2011 F-150s get a new six-speed auto with Tow/Haul mode. According to Ford engineers, this twelfth generation F-150 is now “complete”, as the 2009 redesign was waiting for these engines.

The entry-level engine is a 3.7-litre V6 that puts out a class-leading 302 hp, 278 lb.-ft. of torque and gets best-in-class fuel economy – 12.8 L/100 km city and 8.9 city. You can get into a regular cab, rear drive F-150 with this engine for $19,999.

First Drive: 2011 Ford F 150 trucks reviews ford first drives auto articles
2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Platinum. Click image to enlarge

The smallest engine option has historically accounted for an equally small part of the F-150 pie, but Ford is cautiously optimistic that this may change. This is an eager and snarly six-pot, and the fact that it is tow rated for 6,100 lbs may be all the engine a chunk of pickup buyers need.

Next up is the DOHC “Coyote” 5.0-litre V8, borrowed from the Mustang but modified to make more low-end torque (380 lb.-ft.) with less top-end power (360 hp). This is a thoroughly modern engine with independent variable camshaft timing. The compression ratio has been reduced to allow the use of regular fuel, of which it consumes 13.9 L/100 km in the city and 9.7 on the highway.

This 5.0 is a strong and great sounding engine and will likely be the volume seller. Tow rated at 10,000 lbs., it costs $1,000 over the 3.7-litre V6.

For those who need the biggest and baddest V8, Ford has shoehorned the iron-block pushrod 6.2-litre V8 from the Super Duty line into the F-150 for 2011. With 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque, I didn’t hear any of the Ford brass bragging about this lump’s fuel economy, which sits at 16.9 L/100 city and 11.4 highway. This is more of a specialty item, which can be optioned on most F-150s and comes standard with the Harley Davidson model and the SVT Raptor.

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