By: Jonathan R. Pitman
For over 30 years the F-150 has evolved into a national icon priding itself on the title built Ford tough. However, since the rise in gas prices the best selling pickup is forced into defensive mode to compete with other trucks with improved fuel economy. Despite the rising gas prices, there is still a strong presence of F-150’s still on the road today young and old. The new F-150 FX4 Crew Cab opens the door wide with best in class seating and towing capabilities.
On the road, the vehicle seemed to live up to its title Built Ford Tough overall. But, the ride was extremely bumpy, which allowed this huge machine to veer to the left or the right when hitting bumps, making it somewhat of a challenge to control. Keep in mind the suspension was upgraded for a smoother ride which incorporates coil-over-shock front suspension and better springs for the rear suspension. Something else I noticed was the truck tended to turn wide. But despite the wide turning, it handled good overall.
As far as performance, the new F-150 has several engine options to choose from. But, the F-150 FX4 Crew Cab that I drove came equipped with a 5.4 Liter 320 horsepower engine with a 6 speed automatic. This engine sounded more like a turbo engine at high revs. I liked the sound of that. It went from 0-60 in under 10 seconds despite all of the new steel components.
One great feature about having more gears to work is the improved fuel efficiency, which is at least 20 mpg on the highway. Depending on how you drive, you could probably do just over that on the highway. Also, there is the towing with added capabilities. With the 5.4 Liter engine you also get better towing power. As a matter of fact, the maximum towing is over 11,000 pounds. An added bonus is the trailer brake controller for better control on the road when towing.
One thing I noticed on the F-150 FX4 Crew Cab was the newly refined interior, which is completely redesigned. The FX4 featured a leather wrapped steering wheel that incorporated volume controls. There was also noticeably more interior room. In fact, there was enough room, leg room and all kinds of room to sink a ship. It had so much room in the rear, you could fully extend your legs. Cloth seats were standard. Sorry, leather seating is optional on the FX4.
The vehicle also came equipped with a rear view camera complete with sensor, which is activated only when shifting the truck in reverse. However, I think that the rear camera was placed in an awkward place. Instead of appearing on a navigation screen on the FX4, it appeared on the rear view mirror, which made it difficult to view. So, it is almost like not having extra eyes at all.
Other interior features on the FX4 included optional satellite radio and of course Ford’s new trademark SYNC Technology. Also power 4-way adjustable seats are an added bonus. The steering wheel on the FX4 is not power adjustable, but it is an option.
The exterior of the FX4 was impressive with its chrome grille. It sits high so you always feel like you are in command. Other unique features were the adjustable mirrors. They adjust in two ways. First, they fold inward toward the window. Second, the mirror slides inward and outward for minimizing blind spots. The main purpose of the extended mirror is not only to view the cars behind, but also for keeping a closer eye on what you are hauling. On the mirrors there are also turn signals so everyone will know when you are making a turn, from a safety perspective.
Speaking of safety, the FX4 Crew Cab comes with a safety canopy system that deploys airbags in the event of a collision, and it protects all occupants front and rear. Standard on all F- 150’s is AdvanceTrac with Stability control that prevents the vehicle from rolling over.