When it comes to storage, there are large door pockets, bottle holders, bins and cubbyholes. It’s nice to see that truck owners are afforded the same amenities as sedan buyers.
Although we’ve yet to drive the F-150 or spend a considerable amount of time inside, every Ford truck employee at the backgrounder event in Detroit kept telling us how impressed we’re going to be when we are finally allowed behind the wheel. One of the reasons they kept repeating that was because of the extensive attention to noise reduction inside the cabin.
According to Chris Kolarik, F-150 noise, vibration, and harshness supervisor, “Quietness is perhaps the most influential factor in perceived quality and overall customer satisfaction.”
We agree on that point. No matter how pretty the vehicle is inside and out, if all you are aware of is wind, tire, road and engine noise, the rest is a waste of money, regardless if it’s in a car or a truck. Ford’s approach to NVH reduction was holistic, incorporating all the elements of design, manufacturing processes, and attention to detail. Going by Ford’s numbers, the F-150 is dramatically quieter than the previous model, even when tested on rough country roads at moderate speeds.
To help reduce noise, the F-150 features fully inset doors with improved double door seals, thicker front side glass, reduced body leakage, structural adhesives in the floor, improved body isolation, and liquid-filled engine mounts that help reduce engine vibration.
Another feature Ford is using in the F-150 is Quiet Steel. Basically, Quiet Steel is two pieces of steel that sandwich a piece of plastic laminate. It dramatically reduces noise and vibration, and is used on the dash panel, as well as the oil pan to help with interior cabin quietness. Quiet Steel is being used on many of the Lincoln products, including Aviator, Navigator, Town Car and LS, and few would question how well the laminated steel is helping to reduce NVH in that luxury lineup.
Sometimes noise can be good, especially when it’s your favorite tunes coming from the audio system. The F-150 offers five different sound systems. The XL comes with a standard AM/FM radio with clock; the STX, XLT and FX4 feature a standard premium AM/FM tuner with single CD player and clock; and the Lariat features a dual-media AM/FM/cassette/CD unit, which is optional on the other trim levels. Optional on the STX, FX4 and Lariat is a 300-watt audiophile system with six-disc in-dash CD changer, two-way front door speakers with crossover, 8-inch subwoofer, and custom digital signal processing equalizer.
On the three top-end models, for state-of-the-art enjoyment, Ford has made available a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system that consists of a 7-inch flip-down LCD monitor, rear seat audio controls, handheld remote and DVD player. The video and audio jacks in the system allow rear seaters to plug and play their PlayStations and XBoxes, as well.
Powerplants, or, Let’s Get Down to Business
As we’ve seen from the Pickuptruck.com diesel shootout, the proof of the pudding is in the performance. While Ford has incorporated a plethora of unique features into the exterior and interior of the truck, as they say, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
A lot of the F-150’s development cash went into the powerplants, both in refinement and technological development. Two engine choices will be available for the truck: a carryover but refined 4.6-liter Triton V-8 and an all-new 5.4-liter V-8.
The updated 4.6-liter Triton powerplant puts out the same horsepower and torque as the previous model, but incorporates new features like reduced emissions, fuel-injection refinements and reliability improvements. The new fuel-injection system on the 4.6 has fewer components because it is a returnless design. The system generates less gas vapor, and the stainless steel fuel rail is damper-less, so it’s quieter, as are the new injectors. The horsepower remains at 231 at 4750 rpm, and torque at 293 lb-ft at 3500 revs. The XL model comes standard with the 4.6-liter, making the F-150 the only full-size truck to offer a V-8 engine as standard equipment.