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2011 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCab 4x4 (photos)

Ford's F-150 retains work utility with its body-on-frame construction, payload capability, and four-wheel drive, but enters the 21st century with a new, efficient engine that's every bit as powerful as the older V-8.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Ford has been building its F-series pickup trucks since 1948, with the first F-150 model coming out in 1973. That is a long history for any vehicle model, and has allowed the F-150 to gain a loyal following. For the 2011 model, Ford did not sacrifice any of the truck's capability, but added modern convenience features.

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The F-150 looks brawnier than ever, with a high riding position and clifflike drop-offs all the way around. The mirrors stick out wide, and include a lower convex section to eliminate blind spots.

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The most intriguing modern feature of this F-150 is the EcoBoost engine, a turbocharged direct-injection V-6, which produces more power than a 5-liter V-8 while getting slightly better fuel economy. This engine's power figures are 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

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The F-150 can be had with three different cab styles: normal, SuperCab, and SuperCrew. The latter two include a rear seat.

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The SuperCab uses rear half doors to give access to the rear seat, which has adequate legroom. To open the half doors, the front doors need to be open.

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Ford maintained classic body-on-frame architecture for the F-150 so as not to compromise its trailer-pulling and payload-carrying capabilities.

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Different F-150 models have a payload capability ranging from 930 pounds all the way up to 2,860 pounds. This model can carry 1,760 pounds, with a 6.5-foot bed.

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Despite the practicality of the F-150, this Lariat edition has an upscale interior, with heated and cooled front seats and faux wood trim.

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The steering effort required is reasonable, without being overboosted.

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The voice command buttons provide access to Sync features such as placing calls by name and requesting music from an attached MP3 player.

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The upper directional buttons let you view different information on the truck's instrument cluster display, such as fuel economy and Off Road apps.

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The instrument cluster has a traditional layout, with small gauges across the top. But the high-resolution center screen offers additional useful information.

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The six-speed automatic transmission boasts low ranges and a manual shift mode.

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The navigation system stores its maps on a hard drive, making for fast reaction times and good detail. It shows plan and perspective views.

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Traffic data is integrated with the navigation system: overlaid on the maps and used to suggest detours by route guidance.

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Sirius Travel Link shows a lot of useful information, such as gas prices, weather, and movie times.

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The Sync phone system pairs with Bluetooth phones, letting you place calls by saying the name of a contact.

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The stereo works with a wide array of audio sources, from stored digital media from MP3 players, USB drives, and the truck's own hard drive, to satellite radio.

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The music library interface looks the same for any source, whether it be a USB drive or MP3 player.

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The only driver assistance feature is this rearview camera. It is very useful, given the size of the truck, but it only includes distance lines, not trajectory.

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