It wasn't long ago that the all-new 2009 Ford F-150 took Motor Trend Truck of the Year honors. When it won, the F-150 received praise for its best-in-class towing capacity, rigid frame, and broad spectrum of models-everything from the basic work truck to the upscale Platinum-with a choice of three cabs. So it may seem surprising that, just two model years later, the 2011 Ford F-150 lineup has undergone a significant update, with several key improvements to an already stout truck.

As of the 2011 model year, those who loved the 4.6- and 5.4-liter V-8s will either have to consider an Expedition or adapt: In the F-150, they're gone. And given what's coming, that's no great loss. Prospective F-150 buyers will have the choice of four new engines, and for the first time in three years, there are V-6s available, and two at that. Ford's six-speed TorqShift is the only transmission available in any F-150, and Ford is the only half-ton builder to make a six-speed automatic standard.

Of the four new engines, two fight for topline status. The highest-horsepower engine, the 6.2-liter, 411-horse, 434-pound-foot V-8, was first introduced in the Super Duty, and then in the Raptor. It's now the only engine for the SVT truck, whether SuperCab or SuperCrew. The V-8 has a terrific, deep rumble and gets the truck moving in a hurry. Ford sees it as a small-volume seller and will make it available only in the Harley-Davidson Edition and Raptor (standard) and the Lariat and Platinum (optional). The maker expects 10 percent of buyers will opt for this engine.

The real king here, at least as Ford sees it, is the F-150's EcoBoost engine, a version of Ford's twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out 365 horses and 420 pound-feet. The EcoBoost features a diesel-like 2500-rpm torque peak (2000 rpm less than the 6.2-liter) and, like the 6.2-liter, can tow an impressive 11,300 pounds. Oh, and it runs on regular unleaded. The EcoBoost six also features direct injection and twin-independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT).