New 2012 Ford F-150 XL Reviews
Overview:Smooth and quiet, the Ford F-150 is comfortable on bumpy streets around town, over rugged terrain at construction sites, around farms and over utility roads, and on the open highway.Its steering is nicely weighted and requires little correction on the highway making it nice for long cross-country tows.The cabs are comfortable, whether ordered with leather or cloth.
The 2012 Ford F-150 lineup offers a plethora of models in dozens of permutations.All are highly capable trucks, even those loaded with luxury features.The F-150 was completely redesigned for 2009.For 2011, the F-150 received a new engine lineup and electric-assist steering on all but 6.2-powered Crew Cabs.For 2012, the Lariat Limited model is no longer offered, but one of the nine F-150 versions should be close enough.
A new FX appearance package is for 2012 F-150 FX2 and FX4 models that includes 20-inch wheels and lots of flat-black trim inside and out.The FX Luxury package adds cooling to the heatable front seats.
Other noteworthy changes include electric shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive for 2012 F-150 XL up to Lariat models, while 2012 F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum offer a 4x4 auto mode that requires no driver action and hill start assist.All 2012 F-150 4WD models can now be flat-towed behind another vehicle, like a motorhome or larger construction truck.And a new locking rear differential for 2012 is offered on more axle ratios and 2WD models than the old limited-slip was.
The F-150 lineup runs the gamut from wash-off vinyl flooring and a two-door Regular Cab to leather-lined premium four-door models with as much rear-seat legroom as the front of most luxury sedans: Within those extremes lies something for everyone.Yet even the least-expensive F-150 isn't boring; it leaves room for customization, does the work required, and keeps overhead down.
With one of the deepest beds in the segment, the F-150 has generous cargo volume out back and a maximum payload rating of 3,060 pounds; most versions carry 1,550-2,100 pounds.Any cab model F-150 can be optioned to tow more than 11,000 pounds; the range varies from 5,500-11,300 pounds.(The Ford Super Duty line of heavy-duty pickups is covered in a separate New Car Test Drive review.)
Two V8 and two V6 engines are offered, all with 6-speed automatic transmissions.Standard on 2WD is a 302-hp 3.7-liter V6.Other choices include a 360-hp 5-liter V8, the only engine offered on every cab/bed combination, a 411-hp 6.2-liter V8 on SuperCrew short beds, and a 365-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 on all but regular cab short beds.Each engine except the 6.2 offers multiple axle ratios.
Many years the best-selling pickup, the F-150's had a target on it for those same years.So it has to stay competitive: The standard V6 is more powerful than any other pickup V6 and the same horsepower as Chevy's 1.1-liter-larger V8; the 6.2 offered in Crew Cabs and Raptor is more powerful than any half-ton pickup engine; it's the only pickup that comes with a 6-speed automatic in every model.And its maximum payload and weight ratings are competitive in a world where numbers and rankings often change monthly.
Like any full-size pickup, the key to an F-150 is assessing your needs accurately and choosing the best one among all the permutations.Also like any pickup, remember that maximum payload and maximum trailer weight don't go together, are available only on a few of the 50-plus versions, and often decline as soon as you check an option box other than paint or aluminum wheels.Also remember the EPA ratings are only that, for empty trucks, and you are moving around at least 5,000 pounds.Do that, and you should be quite happy with any F-150.
Mindful that you can't have everything for $23,000, the basic XL is quite respectable and a good value given a single option tab on a bigger pickup can be nearly half the XL's purchase price.Fleet drivers will appreciate that air conditioning is standard and the truck is quieter and more refined, in part due to a smoother 60-degree V6 and not one derived from a 90-degree V8.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Platinum is like a Lincoln Navigator with a pickup bed.The King Ranch chairs may look like a fine saddle (and require the same maintenance in some climes), but you'll want to ensure the jeans are clean and spurs off before you climb into this cowboy clubhouse.
Virtually everything you might need is either standard or available, and much the same degree of luxury in a more subdued style can be found in Lariats, which follow a more eclectic approach to decor and make one wonder if seven colors and surface textures on a rear door alone might be one or two too many.The speaker grilles on high-line models that look like metal really are (with the three horizontal bar theme molded in), and in some cases the trim is real brushed aluminum.The wood is faux but well done, perhaps to save trees.
The front bench is still split three ways: The center section flips down to reveal a console with storage and cup holders.The console is flat, so you can put a clipboard on top of it and it won't slide off until you stop, start or change direction quickly.Captain's chairs on FX and Lariat models, especially with power adjustment and the optional adjustable pedals (the switch is often hidden on the steering column), provide good driver positioning for virtually everyone.We found the seats didn't suffer from our earlier criticisms of lacking thigh support and aggressively tilted headrests.
Front and rear-seat room is very good; the SuperCrew's rear is a vast, spacious area for three adults with a flat floor all the way across and full roll-down windows.On the down side, it could take a while to heat up or cool off in climate extremes, and the floor mats cover only a third of the carpet by our tape measure.
The rear seat cushions lift up to stow vertically, with four grocery bag hooks on the underside of the wider driver-side seat and, if equipped, the subwoofer for the Sony sound system under the right rear seat; rear cabin storage seats-up amounts to nearly 58 cubic feet.With captain's chairs up front there are vents in the back of the center console.There are three tethers and two anchor sets for baby seats, outboard rear headrests raise enough to protect tall passengers, and a smaller center rear headrest to preserve vision for those who use the window; you can also get a power sliding window with defrost.
We sampled a couple of trims, one with bucket seats and white-stitched black leather, the other a 40/20/40 bench in tan leather; the lighter color interior looked richer, but also busier since it had dual colors for the dashboard where the black truck didn't.Either seat is comfortable, the advantage of the bucket being goodies like heating/cooling on higher trim models.Most of the touch points on Lariat felt good, with a sort of rubberized texture to the door armrests, but there is still plenty of hard plastic in pillar covers and lower doors to ease cleaning.
The cloth upholstery in the STX feels comfortable and durable; in temperature extremes we'd prefer it to the leather on upper trims.Apart from seat coverings and the steering wheel, the STX doesn't feel budget conscious.
All models use the same basic dash layout, with tachometer to left (no marked redline), speedometer to right, and oil pressure, coolant temperature, fuel and transmission fluid temperature lined up between.On lower-level models the gauges are more traditional white-on-black and, on higher-line models, silver faces with dark numbers that light up green and are often easier to read at night than in daylight.The ancillary gauges are quite lethargic so you need to heed warning lights even if a gauge doesn't quite agree.
The new central screen provides a wider array of information called up by a thumb-switch on the steering wheel, including but not limited to transmission fluid temperature, fuel economy/range, gear selected, trailer profiles, and tire pressures.
Trucks with the Sony navigation/audio system have arguably simpler controls than those without it by virtue of the voice command, logical operation and system integration.Trucks without that option aren't bad, but even on some lesser trims we found plenty of white-on-black buttons on the center panel which could require some familiarization.Window switches are all lift-to-close but the power door lock bar is horizontal so if Rover puts his paw on the right part of the switch you could get locked out.
Bench seat models use a column-mounted shift lever, while most bucket seat models use a bigger console shift lever, both with a Tow/Haul mode.The floor-shift requires a button-push from D to N as you might at a long light or rail crossing, and the column-shift has a light detent so it's easy to go one-to-two gears too far.Manual gear selection requires engaging the M position and using a +/- thumb toggle to change, like GM's approach, but Dodge's layout is simpler and just as effective.Liberal chrome on the console can produce some distracting glare.
Headlights are to the left, four-wheel drive and the integrated trailer brake controller are to the right; the power adjustable pedal switch on the left side of the steering column is harder to find than dash switches but does keep you from leaning forward while trying to adjust your driving position.Four round omni-directional vents ensure airflow where you want it, front seatbelt anchors are height-adjustable, and our only ergonomic complaint was the lack of a sun visor that covered the length of the side glass.
The Sony navigation/sound system and Ford's SYNC system bring infotainment to a new level, integrating Bluetooth-enabled devices, 911 Assist, Vehicle Health report, Sirius travel link with real-time traffic, weather, 4500 movie theater listings and show times and 120 gas stations with fuel prices.Power points, a USB port and MP3 input jack are in the lower center dash.The Sony 700-watt 5.1 channel sound system provides very good sonic quality, even if the impact didn't feel like 700 watts.It has the usual assortment of graphics nonsense like the oxymoronic-titled audio visualizer, which we could live without.
Pickups without space are pointless and the F-150 won't disappoint.The Regular Cab is roomy enough to fit three adults across and has plenty of space for the miscellaneous debris and detritus that tends to accumulate in trucks.SuperCabs have a full-width back seat best-suited to kids and short rides for bigger adults since legroom is the squeeze point; it's similar in size and intent to the Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra extended cab or the Titan King Cab.For larger families or routine four-passenger service, the SuperCrew's room and regular back doors will be welcome, with as many as 30 different places to put things.
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