2010 V-6 Shootout: 2011 Ford F-150 STX 3.7L

2011 Ford F-150 STX 3.7L

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It’s a testament to how fuel efficient V-8 engines have become that Ford didn’t offer a V-6 in the 2009 and 2010 model years. The F-150’s previous 4.2-liter V-6 was dropped because it had the same fuel economy as the old two-valve overhead-cam 4.6-liter V-8, which has been discontinued for 2011.

Ford’s standard V-6 occupies the opposite end of the F-150’s engine lineup from the premium 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. It’s a dual-overhead-cam 3.7-liter mill. The naturally aspirated Duratec 3.7-liter V-6 is the F-150's standard engine, rated at 302 horsepower and 278 pounds-feet of torque. It features composite upper and lower intake manifolds to feed air to the engine and four valves per cylinder (two intake, two exhaust) that are combined with twin independent variable camshaft timing. Ti-VCT varies valve actuation throughout the power band so there’s improved torque at the low end, cleaner emissions and better fuel economy.

Another new feature in the 2011 F-150 is the first application of electric power steering in a half-ton truck. EPS replaces conventional hydraulic power steering and promises up to a 4 percent improvement in fuel economy because it's not pump driven. EPS also eliminates harmful hydraulic steering fluid.

The STX trim is one step up from the F-150’s base XL trim, but that step added almost $4,000 to the starting price, even though the truck still had cloth seats and a vinyl floor. On the outside are upgraded wheels and tires, exterior paint and trim. Inside, you get power windows and door locks, plus additional power ports and improved lighting. The price as tested was $28,565.

F150-v6-1-560

Our tester also had a few upscale features, including Sirius-XM Satellite Radio, a CD player and Ford’s Sync hands-free entertainment and mobile phone system. It’s also the only truck that included a USB port to plug in an MP3 player or recharge USB-equipped devices. We believe USB ports have become as important as conventional “cigarette lighter” power ports in trucks, and at least one port should be standard. While we had many options at our fingertips, there were too many buttons in the center stack. The steering wheel had radio volume and channel controls, cruise control and Sync-command buttons.

The gauge cluster was basic. The oil, coolant and transmission temperature gauges show a hot-cold temperature range but don’t provide numbers. The two-line driver information computer had a helpful fuel-efficiency gauge in addition to displaying fuel economy, the odometer and trip distances.

The F-150’s seating was a 40/20/40-split folding bench seat with adjustable headrests and a fold-down center armrest. There was no storage in the armrest.

While a welcome mix of textures visually breaks up the interior, nearly every plastic surface we touched was hard, and all of it was in a shade of dark gray.

Interior storage is critical in regular cab pickups. There was an excellent amount of room behind the rear seats, but there was only a raised surface to set stuff there. A cargo net or bin would have improved space management so that we wouldn’t have to worry about smaller objects rolling off the shelf and under the seats. Side-door storage could be improved by smoothing out the metal grates that covered the stereo speakers so that drivers wouldn’t scrape their knuckles reaching inside the cubbies.

F150-int-1-560

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Comments

What a great little truck. I think chevy and doge designs are too archaic. 6 speed tranny, fuel economy, power. All good stuff.

Good article but the Ford F1fixme isn this article is far from a base model. ford does make a base model with out the running boards, aluminum wheels, painted bumpers, and sync radio. Its hard to believe that a contractor would order one like this. He would order one like the Chevy or Dodge.

Come on fixme? Get your head out of the 80s and open your eyes. Ford has been in a dead heat with the top quality brands for the past 3 years, and now leads them in quality.

Dave S: The STX isn't "far from a base model." It is a base model with a slightly different appearance and power windows/locks. That's not much different. And for the record, I see STXs as company work trucks all the time. XLs and STXs are basically both the base model work trucks from Ford. Remember Ford offers like 10 different trim levels for the F150 versus the 4 or so trim levels other brands offer for their respective trucks.

@Dave S
I spent all summer in a company work truck, it was an 07 STX, saw a lot of others that looked just like it everyday too

Yeah, the STX is a slim upgrade over the stripper XL most contractors look at for their fleet. But in the most important areas of the shootout - Engine Performance, MPGs, Towing, Handling, the Ford adds up to the best buy. And when you take the power group out - the price will get in the same ballpark. Well done Ford. Now fix a few of the dinks in the interior and the head rests. Construction workers want to be comfortable too.

I never see 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive fleet trucks. I see 4x4s, but most are 3/4 ton or 1 ton crew cab gasssers. Where I live - heavy industry dominates the economy, and winter lasts longer than a callendar's 4 months.
Most of the private contractors drive around in fully loaded diesel Laramie's, King Ranch's, and Harley's. The occasional loaded Chev/GM sprinkled in the mix.
I see cost conscious "private" consumers buying these trucks.
When I was in the big city - I saw tons of these trucks as fleet trucks.
It all depends on where you live.
I looked at these base trucks a few years ago but they did not meet my needs as I needed seating for 2 adults and 2 kids in car seats.

Sorry Lou, I did not mean to suggest contractors were buying single cab short beds. I was just speaking to the Ford trim level used in this shootout. Many contractors in my industry personally drive the upper trim levels in whatever size truck they drive, as you said. I was referring to the fleet vehicles that are often the base trim levels that have crank windows and manual locks, rubber floors, base radios, etc. XLs a little more than STXs, and XLTs. I personally don't drive an XL trim level but I buy XLs for the crews.

This truck had vinyl floors, the same cloth seats as seen in an XL, don't know why everyone is so obsessed with the door locks on this test but they had no bearing on this test and are also available in XL and standard in a crewcab for crews.

$28,565? Maybe that's why they're such a small part of the market. $1,400 dollars more got me a brand new mid trim level extended cab V-8 4x4.

@ Johnny - my apologies if I made it sound like I was going after you. It all depends on the kind of industry you are involved in and climate you operate in.

No problem, Lou. Glad to be able to kick the tires of the best trucks on earth, on the best truck site on the web.

Great truck

I have one and I love it. It has vinyl floor mats which EVERY pickup should have. No, no power locks and power windows, but it has a cd player and a.c., that's all I need. It works for me--Ford quality at an affordable price.



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