In a world where it seems hybrids and four-cylinder econoboxes are trying to take over, we were thrilled when we heard Ford was putting the Raptor's 6.2-liter in the regular F-150 line. The two-valve engine -- a single overhead cam V-8 (the only SOHC offered in the F-150), with an iron block -- is no weakling, and it's the only engine you can get in a Harley-Davidson F-150. This is the last two-valve engine available in the Ford truck lineup, and it is proudly old school.

The truck's styling also is proudly old school. Its silver body (black is the only other color offered for 2011) was given set of orange stripes along the sides and on the hood, with engine turning metallic-looking swirls inside. There are Harley-Davidson logos and shields throughout the truck -- everywhere from the wheels, to the seats, to a gigantic one on the bedliner -- totaling 19 in all. Inside, the theme continues, with black leather covering the seats, plus brushed aluminum and chrome, and lots of Harley accents throughout. Even the storage areas on the backs of the front seats use horizontal zippers, reminiscent of leather biker jackets. There is more engine turning on the center console, as well as a large Harley-Davidson badge. We wonder how warm that badge will get in the summer sun, and also how long it will take when resting your arm on the armrest before you wind up with a Harley-Davidson imprint on it.

This is the top of the line F-150, with a base price of $52,115. Keep in mind, that price includes navigation, trailer towing package, power everything, heated and cooled leather seats, rearview camera, and a 3.73:1 rearend. It also comes with retractable side steps that run the length of the SuperCrew's cabin, and automatically lower when a door is opened and lift when the door is closed. And yes, the steps raise and lower independently, so opening a door on the passenger side will only cause that one to come down. The only options ours came with were a pickup bed extender and a tailgate step, for an as-tested price of $53,125. Over the top? You betcha.

Under the hood, though, things are surprisingly low-key. As associate editor Mike Febbo observed, "One of the big disappointments on this Harley edition is heaving open the giant hood and finding such a boring-looking engine. Did the designer at least look at some photos of Harleys? If any truck engine needs a chrome package, it's this one. Harleys are big shiny engines and two wheels held together by chrome and leather. Where are the chrome valve covers, the braided hoses?"

On paper, the 6.2-liter engine in the Harley-Davison F-150 is the big dog of the new engine lineup the half-ton line received for 2011. After all, it has the largest displacement of the quartet, as well as the most horsepower (411) and the most torque (434 pound-feet). But it isn't a volume engine like the rest; it's seen as a specialty engine, standard only in the Lariat Limited, Raptor, and Harley-Davidson models. Other than that, you can buy it as an option on the King Ranch and Lariat, or you can step up to a Super Duty (although there, it only has 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet).

But the reality is more complicated. The EcoBoost-equipped F-150 we also tested reached 60 mph 0.2 seconds faster. Some of the lag can be attributed to the Harley's all-wheel-drive system and 22-inch wheels, which do add some weight. The Harley truck weighed 600 pounds more than the EcoBoost Lariat. The Harley went through the quarter mile in 15.0 seconds at 94.8 mph, and braking was a fantastic 117-foot 60-0, thanks in part to its Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. Its fuel economy isn't exactly stellar; EPA estimates put it at 12 mpg city, 16 highway, and the number we got, 13.5 mpg combined, falls within that range. Towing capacity is 7200 pounds and payload capacity as tested is 1221.

The Harley-Davidson's 6.2-liter does truly shine, though. It is a big, raucous V-8 with a nasty grumble at idle and fantastic seat-of-the-pants feel. When it accelerates, it gets to speed right away, and there is never a question about how many cylinders are under the hood, based on how it drives and what it sounds like. Febbo notes, "This thing is just so angry, the noise, the vibration -- and not in a bad way, either." This is a truck that will make its owner happy and eager to show off.

Anyone who likes Harley-Davidson motorcycles will love the attitude this truck has -- even if you don't care for the styling. We're okay with the numerous different Harley-Davidson logos and branding on the truck, but wish that for nearly $53,000 as tested, the orange decals were actually pinstriped. Another way to make this truck even more special would be to add a supercharger. It looks like there's plenty of room under the hood for one...


2011 FORD F-150
  Harley-Davidson (6.2L)
POWERTRAIN
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Engine type 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads
Bore x stroke 4.02 x 3.74 in
Displacement 379ci/6.2L
Compression ratio 9.8:1
Valve gear SOHC, 2 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower 411 hp @ 5500 rpm
SAE torque 434 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission type 6R-80E 6-speed automatic
1st 4.17:1
2nd 2.34:1
3rd 1.52:1
4th 1.14:1
5th 0.86:1
6th 0.69:1
Reverse 3.40:1
Axle ratio 3.55:1
Final drive ratio 2.45:1
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES
Wheelbase 144.5 in
Length x width x height 231.9 x 79.2 x 75.9 in
Track, f/r 67.0/67.0 in
Turning circle 47.0 ft
Curb weight 6129 lb
Payload capacity 1571 lb
GVWR 7350 lb
GCWR 13,500 lb
Towing capacity 7200 lb
Seating capacity 5
Headroom, f/r 41.0/40.3 in
Legroom, f/r 41.4/43.5 in
Shoulder room, f/r 65.9/65.5 in
Bed LxWxH 67.0 x 65.2 x 22.4 in
Width bet wheelhousings 50.0 in
Bed volume 55.4 cu ft
CHASSIS
Suspension, f/r Independent,control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar/live axle, leaf springs
Steering type Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion
Ratio 20.0:1
Turns, lock to lock 3.3
Brakes, f/r 13.8-in vented disc; 13.7-in vented disc, ABS
Wheels 9.0 x 22-in forged aluminum
Tires 275/45R22 112V Pirelli Scorpion Zero
PERFORMANCE
Acceleration
0-30 2.3 sec
0-40 3.6
0-50 4.9
0-60 6.4
0-70 8.6
0-80 10.9
0-90 13.6
Quarter mile 15.0 sec @ 94.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 117 ft
CONSUMER INFO
Base price $52,500
Price as tested $53,125
Airbags Front, front side, f/r curtain
Fuel capacity 36.0 gal
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy 12/16 mpg
As-tested fuel economy* 13.5 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.43 lb/mile
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded
*All trucks driven on essentially the same 65/35-percent city/highway route, but on different days.
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