Ford seeks to help potential truck buyers to determine which specific engine and drivetrain configuration are best able to suit their needs. Consumers can use Ford’s new “Head-to-Head” pickup comparison tool to figure out which of the automaker’s four engine options fit the consumer by evaluating the towing and hauling needs.
This tool also compares the engine to its competition. Ford’s configurator is fully interactive, similar to what Mustang launched last week. The question that has to be answered first is if the truck will be used for work or for play.
Then the potential customer has to provide an estimate of the weight that will be hauled. Ford then uses graphics to simulate how the weight would affect the vehicle in the real world. The next information that’s asked is how much is towed.
Ford would then give its recommendation as well as its reasons for suggesting any of the following: the 3.7-liter V-6, its twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6, its 5.0-liter V-8, or its 6.2-liter V-8. The tool then displays charts and graphs to compare what Ford recommended with the Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra.
The 2012 iteration of the Ford F-150 full-size pickup will be launched into the market loaded with new technologies and a number of driveline updates, as well as a new FX appearance package. Available on both FX4 and FX2 trucks, the, the FX appearance package provides the Ford F-150 with clandestine flat-black accents. This package includes a black fender as well as tailgate badges with red lettering. This look is continued into the cabin through a red-stitched steering wheel.
In addition, the cabin is specified with black leather seating surfaces with red perforations and red piping. Likewise, the cabin of the Ford F-150 with the FX appearance package -- available in all FX colors -- is provided with black-painted dash accents and brushed-metal surfaces, as well as satin shifter knob, air conditioning vent bezels and door handles.
Customers may also avail of the FX luxury package for their 2012 Ford F-150, adding details like cooled front seats. Raj Sarkar, F-150 Marketing manager, remarked that the new FX package bestows the Ford F-150 with a characteristic style that does not compromise any of the pickup’s rugged qualities. He added that the new FX package expands the carmaker’s range of specialty vehicles with custom elements that were once available only in the aftermarket.
For the 2012 model year, the new F-150 features new 20-inch six-spoke wheels with a flat-black paint as well as body-side decal in matte black with color read-through. In addition, the new Ford F-150 is provided with a black-finished grille flanked by blacked-out headlamps and taillamps, as well as a chrome exhaust tip. On the other hand, Ford also upgraded the 2012 F-150's drivetrain by installing a two-speed automatic 4x4 system – in lieu of electronic shift-on-the-fly system -- for the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.
While the two-speed automatic 4x4 system still offers four high and four low modes, it now comes with a 4x4 auto mode that could immediately send torque to the front wheels if it senses that the F-150 has lost traction. Further upgrades include the installation of the Hill Start Assist system that could keep the F-150 from rolling backward at a halt on a sloped road. Once sensors detect the vehicle is on a slope while the brake pedal is pressed, Hill Start Assist will be automatically activated.
Once activated, Hill Start Assist would hold brake pressure in the braking system, enabling the F-150 to remain at a halt for up to two seconds after the brake pedal is depressed. Furthermore, 4x4 models of the F-150 now feature a neutral tow capability that enables drivers to flat-tow their pickups for better usability. An available electronic locking rear axle replaces most of the limited-slip offerings on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter engines. It is now available in a range of axle ratios, and is even offered on 4x2 models, delivering a new level of traction capability across most of the F-150 lineup.
Jackie DiMarco, chief engineer for the F-150, remarked that the modifications for the 2012 model year focus on transforming the full-sized pickup into a better and more useful tool for customers. He added that the upgrades and new technologies allowed them to further raise the bar in terms of capability.