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Give the braintrust at Ford credit for listening to their customers and critics in regards to its Ford F Series trucks. Enough of them complained about a lack of power that Ford took the problem head on in developing the Ford F-150, a full-size pickup truck.

No complaints this year about powertrains. Ford saw to that by revamping the F-150’s engine lineup, keeping the muscle-bound truck in contention for America’s most popular pickup. It was certainly a necessary move by Ford, who hopes to stave off the competition that includes General Motors, Dodge and even Toyota, which has not enjoyed great success thus far with its truck segment.

There’s plenty of choices in the F-150 lineup, which includes three body styles (regular cab, extended cab and crew cab) and 10 different trims. The price range runs from an economical $22,790 to a bit extravagant $48,000.

The powertrain upgrade naturally has the biggest appeal to potential buyers. The 5.0-liter, V8 with 360 horsepower came with the 4×4 Supercrew model that was test driven here for a week. For a less robust engine at a reduced price, one can buy the V6 version, which features a 2.7-liter with 302 horsepower.

The EcoBoost is reportedly a valued commodity thanks to its 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 that produces 365 horsepower. There’s also the much-talked about 6.2-liter, V8 Raptor that has a whopping 411 horsepower and is perfect for off-road fun. All F-150 engines have a six-speed automatic transmission.

There’s more to like than just the F-150’s powertrains. These big trucks also come equipped with electric power assisted steering, and a gateway application that provides better gas mileage (14-19 mpg) than in the past.

A little better gas mileage is part of the equation with the F-150 and so is the improved handling. For a full-size truck, the F-150 offers a quiet ride, that dare we say, feels refined. Small bumps are easily absorbed and the firm steering is responsive, something that is missing in many trucks. Still, the F-150 is a pain in the butt to park – it’s too long and wide for any easy maneuvering.

The cab space is roomy and supportive, while the second row is spacious enough that three adults won’t feel crammed. The trunk and pickup bed space are ample for hauling as well.

Already a solid product, F-150 is definitely improved for 2011. The choice of new powertrains, a smooth ride, combined with its rugged features and good interior space, make this a good choice in the full-size truck segment.

2011 FORD F-150 SuperCrew

Performance: 5.0-liter V6, 360 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 14-19 mpg
Price: $47,045
Standard features include: 17-inch steel wheels; locking, removable tailgate; spare tire; cargo tie-downs; foglamps; tailgate step; stability and traction control; tire pressure monitor; AM/FM radio, upgraded sound system, CD player, auxiliary audio jack, Sync multifunction voice-command system, Bluetooth, iPod/USB audio interface

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