For the 2012 model year, the four-wheel-drive system on the F-150 gets upgraded on most trims. The system now has a two-speed automatic four-wheel-drive system for the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. There are now four-high, four-low, full-time and all-wheel-drive auto modes on the four-wheel-drive models. Hill start assist is also a new feature, and so is an electronic locking rear axle for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8, all of which are supposed to help improve traction capabilities. A new, larger fuel tank that can hold up to 36 gallons is now standard on all four-wheel-drive EcoBoost F-150. Smooth and quiet, the F-150 is comfortable on bumpy streets around town, over rugged terrain like construction sites, farms and 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. 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 1,600-2,100 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. Two V8 and two V6 engines are offered, all with six-speed automatic transmissions. Standard on 2WD is a 302-hp 3.7-liter V6. Other choices include a 360-hp 5-liter V8 for all cab/bed configurations, 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.
What stands out most driving the F-150 is the relative refinement. Ford attributes much of this to the Quiet Steel laminate used in some body panels. The standard F-150 engine is a 3.7-liter V6 with contemporary technology like variable timing for the four cams and four valves per cylinder. The engine is rated at 302 hp and 278 lb-ft. The transmission is well calibrated, so it's a realistic choice where cost or fuel economy are paramount and work is limited to relatively light towing or hauling on fairly level ground. The sheer mass of the F-150 combines with the suspension to deliver a very good ride and quiet composure. Brakes get the job done with their ultimate performance based as much on tire choice and weight in the bed as anything else. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard across the board. A locking rear differential is optional for the best traction.
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 eclecticapproach 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. Front and rear-seat room is very good; the 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 cool off in hot conditions, and the floor mats cover only a third of the carpet by our tape measure. 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 be locked out.
The front door edge that allows a lower glass line at the front is stylish but also very useful; it allows a better view of front quarters near the truck and means you can have a good-sized mirror that doesn't limit forward vision because you look over it rather than around it. The view rearward can be aided by extendable towing mirrors, a rear camera, and a power sliding rear window. Most F-150 models have Ford's family-face horizontal three-bar aspect to the grille and the tailgate styling; the larger grille, squared headlights and more heavily contoured hood all add to the imposing size. On higher-level models the chrome is considerable, and extends to the front tow loops on 4WD.
Regular Cabs are offered in standard bed and long bed XL, STX, or XLT grades. SuperCab trucks add higher FX and Lariat trim to choices plus SVT's Raptor, and a short-bed option. A long-bed SuperCab is available only with the heavy-duty package. The SuperCrew F-150, available with either the short bed or standard bed, drops the STX grade and adds King Ranch and Platinum derivatives while Harley-Davidson and Lariat Limited are SuperCrew short bed only.
The F-150 XL is a standard bed, Regular Cab two-wheel drive. It comes with 3.7-liter V6, 17-inch steel wheels, black bumper/grille/mirrors, and vinyl upholstery and floor covering. XL includes air conditioning, split front bench (and rear on four-door cabs), locking tailgate, tilt steering wheel, stability control, capless fuel filler and a stereo radio.
F-150 STX models add body-color bumpers over a black grille, CD player, and cloth seats with driver lumbar. More equipment is available, including 18-inch wheels, Sirius radio, SYNC, cruise control, fog lamps and power mirrors.
F-150 XLT adds chrome for bumpers and trim, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, automatic headlamps, carpeting, cruise control, power windows and locks, and better cloth upholstery. All manner of options are available on the XLT, including three wheel diameters, tailgate step, cargo management and towing equipment.
F-150 FX4 and FX2 come with a 5-liter V8, black grille and body-colored bumpers, trim and mirrors. Electric-shift 4WD is standard, as are fog lamps, a locking differential, towing package, 18-inch wheels, sporty cloth split bench seat, Sirius radio, and the 5.4-liter V8/6-speed automatic powertrain. Options include infotainment and 17-inch or 20-inch wheels. F-150 Lariat is the mainstream luxury F-150 and hence is four-door only with V8 or turbo V6 engines. Chrome trim and bumpers highlight monotone paint, and the Lariat adds heated mirrors with signal repeaters and auto-dimming on the driver's and inside, dual-zone climate control, heated power leather seats with driver memory, leather wheel with redundant audio controls, tow package, SYNC, trip computer, and power adjustable pedals. Options include 20-inch wheels, heated/cooled front seats, Sony sound and navigation, trailer brake controller, rear camera and park sensors, and moonroof.
F-150 King Ranch is like a Lariat with a different attitude. It adds two-tone paint and KR badges, unique wheels, mesh chrome grille, Chaparral leather heated and cooled power captain's chairs with driver memory, running boards, and power folding, heated, signal outside mirrors with chrome caps. Options are essentially limited to a limited-slip differential, alternative axle ratios, 20-inch wheels, Sony sound and navigation systems, moonroof, chrome tube running boards and remote start. /p>
F-150 Platinum SuperCrew gets a unique satin chrome grille, body-color bumpers and wheel lip moldings, 20-inch wheels, power-deploy/retract running boards, satin chrome tailgate trim, tuxedo-stitched leather power captain's chairs, wood grain and brushed aluminum trim, rain-sensing wipers, power folding/heated mirrors, and unique console. Options are limited but you can get 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires for luxury on the farm.
The most luxurious F-150 Lariat Limited comes only with a 6.2-liter engine, 22-inch wheels, special paint and very few options.
A special F-150 Harley-Davidson edition is also 6.2 V8 only and decked out in colors and heavy chrome trim befitting the brand it's named after.
Ford's SVT division offers the Raptor, intended for serious, high-speed off-road use. It comes only with the 411-hp 6.2-liter V8. Unique long-travel high-performance suspension, wheels and tires, and aggressive bodywork set it apart from any other F-150.
The F-150 option list is comprehensive and, although it has been simplified in recent years, it can still resemble the tax code to the uninitiated; there are, for example, six codes forrunning boards and four for trailer towing mirrors. Most options are dependent on the model and other options, and many features are standard on more expensive models. In addition, prices of options occasionally vary by trim level.
Mechanical options include engine upgrades, alternate axle ratios, limited-slip or locking differentials, larger tires and upgraded wheels, skid plates, towing mirrors, snow plow prep, trailer brake controller,36-gallon long-bed fuel tank, tailgate step, heavy-duty payload package, and Ford Works systems like an in-dash computer. An engine block heater is available to fleet buyers and standard on Alaska and northern plains-state trucks. Other upgrades include captain's chairs bucket seats with center console, power sliding rear window, rear-view camera, reverse parking sensors, tri-coat or two-tone paint, moonroof, Sirius radio, sound systems, remote start, and navigation.
The Ford F-150 delivers a strong combination of style, interior comfort, performance, ride and hauling ability. The new engine lineup moves Ford from follower to leader in power and alternatives. With multiple choices in trim, drivetrains and body styles, there's an F-150 for every type of pickup owner. For more on the 2012 Ford F-150, click here.
Some of this information for the review was obtained through newcartestdrive.com
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