Owner’s Log: 2011 Ford F-150 Lariat (10/2011 – 1/2012)

It’s been a quick three months with my new 2011 Ford F-150 Lariat, and for a refresher on my impression of it, see the review I wrote on it.  In the past quarter, I’ve logged over 3,600 miles, virtually worry-free.  Read on for what’s been happening with my F-150.

Note: Starting with this Owner’s Log post, updates will be quarterly for the first year, semi-annually after that.

Stats:

Time Period: 10/19/2011 – 1/18/2011
Miles Driven: 3,601 (first quarter of ownership)
Average MPG: 16.3 mpg (reported by on-board computer, matches hand-calculated)

Costs:

Maintenance Costs: $0.00
Total Cost (non-fuel): $0.00

Services Performed:

none

Summary:

The F-150 has performed admirably for all it’s been tasked with, including hauling several hundred pounds of firewood, a load which consisted of lawn care equipment and personal belongings, as well as around 1,500 miles of highway driving through MD, VA and PA.  Gas mileage around town has been closer to 13 than to 15, which is a bit disappointing – but based on research I’ve done on several owner’s forums, the EcoBoost V6 engine isn’t fully broken in until somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles.

Speaking of the EcoBoost engine, its power is amazing.  While trudging up the Pennsylvania Turnpike at highway speeds, the truck never downshifted out of 6th gear unless prompted to by my using the SelectShift feature of the transmission.  I only locked out 6th gear because the exhaust was “droning” when traveling around 65 mph, which held the engine’s revs at around 1,600.  Downshifting to 5th gear brought the RPMs up to around 2,000, which lessened the exhaust note considerably.  When driving around town with the bed 2/3 full of firewood, the only thing that reminded me of the load was that the rear leaf springs had sagged an inch or two.

I mentioned earlier that the city fuel mileage was lower than expected, but the highway mileage has been pretty good at 18 to 19 MPGs.  It would’ve been better, but the PA Turnpike includes a lot of uphill grades.

Also on the highway for several hours, I used a decibel meter on my iPhone to keep track of sound levels in the cab, and was quite pleased.  With all the windows closed, the meter registered an average of 73 dB, and with the driver’s window open a couple of inches, that number only climbed to 84 dB.

Armed with all the creature comforts the F-150 is carrying makes highway miles fly by; road trips seem a lot quicker than they really are.  The seats proved comfortable in most regards for the 300-mile trips, except for some lower back pain, which is probably due to an improperly-adjusted driver’s seat.  Turning on the heated seat made the pain go away.  Meanwhile, my wife had no comfort issues whatsoever, sleeping for hours on end.

The only real glitch I’ve experienced was with the SYNC and navigation systems, which froze up for a few minutes, as you’ll see below.

Dated Notes:

  • 10.22.2011 – SYNC / Navigation froze.  The navigation functionality returned several minutes later, but it took a full stop (engine off, key out of the ignition, open driver’s door) to reset the radio.  Haven’t been able to replicate this issue since.

General Observations:

  • The EcoBoost has a ton of power – the truck’s transmission doesn’t have to downshift on upgrade hills of even 4 degrees.
  • Sirius in the F-150 has a much better signal than XM did in my 2010 Nissan Maxima.  Whereas the Maxima’s XM signal would cut out for brief periods in several places on my morning commute, the F-150’s signal only drops out once.  On the highway in Pennsylvania, the XM cut out so much on some days that I used my iPhone as an audio source instead.  The F-150, in contrast, rarely cut out.

by John Suit

 

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