Future Ford of Sacramento is proud to announce the 2012 Truck of the Year Winner: 2012 Ford F-150.
You Know that feeling you get when you see a supercar sitting in the parking lot of the local six-buck-a-cup coffee shop? The ache in your stomach, knowing that toddling back and forth from the gated community to the strip mall is all the driving that poor car will ever do? We get that same feeling when we see an F-150 that doesn't have at least 1000 pounds in the bed or 5000 pounds hanging off the hitch. Just like that supercar, the F-150 is a tool built for a purpose. It has a goal in life, and the people who never use it as it was intended are squandering the truck's ability and a heritage that goes back to 1948.
The EcoBoost is the obvious orange in the apple crate here. Ford's throwing a gasoline direct-injection, twin-turbo-fed V-6 under the hood of a full-size truck is almost enough to knock the earth off its axis. What's even more shocking is that an engine that looks like it would be at home mid-mounted in a sports car is actually better than any of the eight-piston offerings in maybe any company's lineup. It clearly checks the box for Engineering Excellence, one of the key criteria for any Of The Year competitor. Truck Trend editor Allyson Harwood noted, "On the road, the EcoBoost makes the 5.0-liter look like obsolete technology. The twin-turbo V-6 is incredibly quick and eager, power is abundant throughout the rpm range, and I didn't really notice any lag."
To be fair, the testers who drove the 5.0-liter first were bigger fans, at least until they drove the EcoBoost. "Moved over a half-ton with ease at very impressive NVH levels," logged Lieberman, adding that the V-8 sounds "good and burbly." Kiino loved the "musclecar engine note" and wondered if this is the "boss of trucks." The V-8 is obviously still a good engine, but it's overshadowed by a great engine. This is often the problem with advancement: People don't know what they've always wanted until after they've experienced it.
The judges were unanimously impressed with the F-150's ability to earn its keep. In towing or hauling, the consensus was both trucks only got better the harder they were working. "It rides even better at 80 mph with a payload than without. It carries out its business like there's nothing there," wrote Jurnecka. "As nice as the ride was unloaded, it got even better loaded," agreed Harwood.
Ford tells us there are roughly 650,000 different ways to equip an F-150, including engines, cabs, beds, wheelbases, and assorted options, but not paint color. The moral of the story is, if you're seeking a truck and can't spec out an F-150 to suit your needs, you may want to look into buying your own personal freight train. Our judges found the XLT a more honest approach to trucks, with Kiino calling it "clean and functional." Jurnecka referred to it as "cheap, but palatable with the reduced MSRP." The V-8 XLT comes in at $38,745, which was considered about right for a work truck and seemed like a steal compared with the $50,115 Platinum Edition EcoBoost.
Ford insists it gets crossover customers from some of the luxury brands who tell them the interior is nicer in their F-150 than in the sport sedan they traded in.
Both the SuperCrew and SuperCab body styles offer plenty of room in front and back. The Platinum's front seats are bisected by a center console with enough storage for files, a large lunch, or even a medium-size pet.
Platinum and XLT front-seat configura-tions offer plenty of space for two or three passengers, and all the judges, who range in height from under 5-to 6- feet, were able to find a comfortable seating position with good visibility. Both cabs offer three-across seating on the rear bench with fold-up seat bottoms for a huge amount of storage inside the SuperCrew.
It was hard finding fault with design elements or overall execution of any of the F-150s. Several judges remarked that, were they in the market, the EcoBoost F-150 SuperCrew would be their choice, hands-down. The more utilitarian XLT or even something like an FX2 or FX4 trim level would likely be chosen for value over something like the Platinum Edition. Besides the 10 trim levels, Ford offers four engine choices: three that represent solid traditional options, with the EcoBoost truly a step forward in performance. The two transmission choices are six-speed automatics with the higher-end option offering select-shift manual modes. We all agreed the F-150s are built to work and felt better the more they were challenged.
Ford offers an enormous variety of configurations and designs, making the truck tailorable to just about any need. It's the combination of advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and the performance of intended function that has earned the Ford F-150 the title of Motor Trend's Truck of the Year.
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