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Ford redesigned the ubiquitous F-150 into its twelfth generation in 2009. It was a design that put Ford right back at the top of its game, according to Jil McIntosh’s first drive.

The 2009 F-150 was larger, and boasted a stronger, lighter frame, but it was under the hood that the more significant changes were found. The V6 that served as the base engine in 2008 was gone, as was the slow-selling manual transmission. A carryover 4.6L V8 (248 hp/294 lb-ft) was the new entry-level motor, paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. A similar engine with three-valve cylinder heads (292 hp/320 lb-ft) was the next step up, paired with a six-speed automatic. Finally, a 5.4L V8 (320 hp/390 lb-ft), also matched with the six-speed, was the top engine for the light-duty F-series.

Fuel consumption figures for 2009 were 14.7/10.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the base 4.6L and four-speed auto; the upgraded 4.6L was a little more efficient, at 14.4/9.8 L/100 km.  Figures for the 5.4L were 15.1/10.5 L/100 km. All of these numbers are for rear-wheel drive trucks; adding four-wheel drive also added to fuel consumption.

Updates for 2010 were numerous (including the introduction of the SVT Raptor), but for most truck buyers, more significant changes came in 2011, with a slew of new engines.

Six-cylinder power was back, with a 3.7L engine (302 hp/278 lb-ft) serving as base powerplant. Next up was a 5.0L V8 borrowed from the Mustang (360 hp/380 lb-ft). A turbocharged “EcoBoost” 3.5L V6 (365 hp/420 lb-ft) was an extra-cost option, and the top choice was a 6.2L V8 (411 hp/434 lb-ft).

Rated at 12.9/9.0 L/100 km, the EcoBoost engine was supposedly as efficient as the base V6, in spite of boasting more torque than the 5.0L, rated at 13.9/9.7 L/100 km. The 6.2L’s figures were 16.9/11.4 L/100 km (all numbers, again, representing rear-wheel drive).

2009 Ford F-1502010 Ford F-1502011 Ford F-1502012 Ford F-150
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Ford F-150. Click image to enlarge

Ford made another slew of trim changes for 2012 (you can afford to make this many minor updates when a vehicle is as profitable as the F-150); the 2013 model introduced the F-150 Limited, a truck loaded with luxury and powered exclusively by the EcoBoost V6.

A cylinder head design that was (apparently) changed for 2008 models means the 5.4L V8 should no longer have this problem of spark plugs breaking off in the head.

Many owners have noted a drivetrain shudder at highway speeds, in trucks powered by the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and 5.0L V8 engines. Read about the problem, possible fixes, here and here.

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