Super Natural

Behind the Wheel | Super Natural: 2012 Ford F-150 SuperCrew EcoBoost

We have a big soft spot for pick-up trucks. Not just because they represent so much of what America is and how we get work done, but the fact that when it comes to two-axle haulers, no one does a full-size pickup like the U S of A. Even as fuel prices have rocketed and desire for large SUV’s has evaporated, pickups are still crucial. One drive through America’s heartland are all you need to be convinced that these thoroughbreds are the business. Literally and figuratively.

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So we got one. We got a big one. We got the biggest one we could fit into a New York parking spot (later learning that we actually couldn’t) and we made it a Ford. Nothing says pickup like the four characters “F-150”. Ours had four doors, it was red, it was brash, it had chrome, it had a lot of chrome, and it also had a massive V-8 turbo V-6. Yup, you read that right, a turbo and V6 — two terms you rarely uttered without -diesel and -why? following immediately.

That brings us to the whole parking thing. Garages in New York barely fit a Smart car, let alone a 12 and half-foot locomotive. So, when our local garage attendant — used to a fair share of exotics — cried mercy at the sight of our leviathan, we decided to take it on a road trip. Our route would take us on a winding drive from the Big Apple to Beantown through city gridlock, the always-horrific Saw Mill Parkway, and wide open interstate ultimately ending up in the middle of a Big Dig construction depot adjacent to Boston’s iconic Zakim Bridge that carries I-93 and U.S. Route 1 over the Charles River. We may or may not have driven past a few Roads Closed signs to get there.

It’s no small task to drive a truck no less than a baker’s dozen feet long in Northeastern cities. The hilarity of being near the miserable intersection of Herald Square in New York made for truly tragic comedy. But, the F-150 Supercrew made things much easier. Outside of near-misses (and direct hits) of our towing mirrors — they’re monumentally big — that is. You can of course equip your F-150 without all the electronic wizardry as we would have also preferred, but a rear-view camera, power windows (even the rear access window), sunroof, Sony-engineered sound system with navigation and Microsoft sync, towing telemetry computer, and what seemed like an entire legion of cowhides sure certainly made for a comfortable ride. It conjured up daydreams of inter-state hauls across the Pacific Northwest with a trailer full of newly felled logs. Nearly hitting a pedestrian snapped us back into reality.

When you talk about pick-ups, details about engines quickly follow, which is at the core of our post. An American full-size truck without a V8 is practically sacrilege — that is until Ford decided to take an innovative step and offer up the EcoBoost. It’s a marvel of technology and engineering. It’s also more complicated to explain than we have time for, but what it all boils down to is this: a direct injection twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that whips out 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft torque — most of that twist being available at a barely-above-idle 1,700 RPM. That’s good for over 11,000 lbs of towing capacity and it gets better gas mileage. The best part is the EcoBoost V6 is available across the F-150 range, from the bare-bones work truck to the Platinum edition chrome-laden, automatic running-board equipped, power-and-leather-everything behemoth like the one we procured from Ford. It’s such a natural inside the F-150 that you may just find yourself forgetting the V8 was ever an option.

Buy Now: $28,000+ | $53,000 as equipped