When the F-150 won our Truck of the Year, the EcoBoost engine had the potential to be controversial: Would truck people buy a twin-turbocharged V-6 instead of a V-8? Ford wisely offered two V-8 options, but it turned out that the automaker had nothing to worry about: The EcoBoost is a resounding success, and V-6s make up more than half of F-150 sales.

We'd wondered about the turbocharged engine's reliability. For the year we had the truck, there were no problems. We also took the truck in for three trouble-free dealer services -- at 7500, 15,000, and 27,000 miles, at a total cost of $208.35. But there was a TSB related to 2012 EcoBoost-powered F-150s. What some owners were dealing with -- but not us -- was a stumble or misfire caused by condensation in the intercooler. Technical Service Bulletin 12-6-4 offered a hardware/software solution, installing an air-deflector plate on the charge air cooler and reflashing the PCM.

The other controversy was with fuel economy. We knew going in that, when it comes to any turbocharged vehicle, you get either the fun of a turbo or the good fuel economy of a smaller-displacement engine. You can't have both at the same time. While we drove the F-150 over the year, we were sitting in traffic, towing or off-roading, or driving enthusiastically when there wasn't traffic -- none of which adds up to good fuel economy. Our average mpg over the year was 14.6, which was lower than the 15 city/21 highway EPA estimate. We learned to use the instant mpg gauge to our advantage, becoming more aware drivers in the process. Driving between big cities, we kept things in check and the fuel economy was at or above 21 mpg. And we ran it on 87-octane fuel for the year.

Driving the EcoBoost-powered F-150 was an absolute blast. It's hard to complain about a four-wheel-drive truck that hits 60 mph from a stop in 6.6 seconds, and as mentioned, we took every opportunity to recreate that track performance -- getting on the freeway, when passing slower traffic, or just for fun.

The Lariat's cabin provided almost everything you could want. The seats were comfortable, and there may be no roomier crew cab's second row in the ½-ton segment. Sync and the nav system were both incredibly easy to use; this system, the year before Ford began using MyFord Touch, was highly intuitive.

Whether we were towing or hauling payload, the F-150 had plenty of features like the cool tailgate step to make it easy.

The Ford, a very capable workhorse, was frequently taken on trips by staffers so they could move furniture, tow cars, or just have a day of fun in the dirt. The Lariat has served in the deserts in Nevada, Arizona, and California and hauled dirt bikes to off-road playground Hungry Valley. Everyone who loaded up the truck bed using the tailgate step raved about its ease of use and the innovative way it's stored.

We treated the truck like the quality work tool it is. The best trucks are the ones you can take for granted, those that do everything you can possibly want them to, and you don't have to think about it. That's an apt description of this F-150. It excelled at all the work chores thrown its way, with the bonuses of providing a comfortable ride on long drives and no shortage of cushy features inside. Yes, the truck didn't get the EPA's fuel economy number, but that's partly because of how we drove it. And, frankly, it didn't make us like the truck any less. This was a terrific pickup, one we were sad to see go away.


Our Car
Service life 12 mo/28,155 mi
Base Price $41,760
Price as tested $49,735
Options Sony Navigation Radio ($2470), Lariat Chrome/Plus Packages ($1445), Power Moonroof ($995), Leather Bucket Seat w/ Console ($975), Ecoboost 3.5L V-6 ($895), 3.55 Electronic Lock Axle ($470), Tailgate Step ($375), Drop-In Bed Liner ($350)
Maintenance cost $208.35 (3-oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1-engine-air filter)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 15/21/17 mpg
3-year residual value* $39,200
Average fuel economy 14.4 mpg
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $208.35 (3-oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1-engine-air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0
Recalls Passenger occupant sensor, reverse indicator
*Automotive Lease Guide