Editor's Note: starting today with the Ford F-150, we'll be previewing each of our 2012 Motor Trend Truck of the Year contenders leading up to the official announcement on Monday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. eastern time.
For our 2012 Motor Trend Truck of the Year program, we had two Ford F-150s that are among the most popular trim levels: an F-150 XLT equipped with the "Coyote" 5.0-liter V-8 and an F-150 Platinum Edition EcoBoost equipped with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. Although the base 3.7-liter 302-hp V-6 and the top-of-the-line 6.2-liter 411-hp V-8 are also new this year, they weren't on hand for our Truck of the Year testing. We already extensively tested all four of the F-150's engines earlier this year, so we're more than familiar with power levels and delivery of the entire range.
The EcoBoost is the obvious orange in the apple crate here. Ford's throwing a gasoline direct-injection, twin-turbo-fed V-6 under the hood of a full-size truck is almost enough to knock the earth off its axis. To be fair, the testers who drove the 5.0-liter first were bigger fans, at least until they drove the EcoBoost.
Ford insists it gets crossover customers from some of the luxury brands who tell them the interior is nicer in their F-150 than in the sport sedan they traded in. While that might be a stretch, we agree the Platinum is certainly nicer than the standard truck, although we'd still go for something more utilitarian. We still have mixed feelings about Ford's Sync system, but it seems to be evolving into something more useable than the first iteration.