First Drive: 2006 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson
Ford forged a special alliance with Harley-Davidson in 1999, and they've offered a special truck every year since. This year the brash black-on-black H-D package comes with all-wheel drive, a first for the F-150. The new all-wheel-drive system continuously monitors wheel speeds and throttle position to determine the appropriate amount of power to send to the front of the truck to help prevent slip. And if the weather and road conditions turn ugly, you can lock the system by turning a switch on the dash, equally splitting front/rear power.
Another first: the 22-inch forged-and-polished aluminum wheels wrapped with P275/45R22 Pirelli Scorpions. Behind the blackout headlights and chrome billet grille is Ford's 300-horse, 5.4-liter Triton V-8. The H-D comes standard with a performance exhaust featuring a deep, throaty rumble and chrome dual-outlet tips; a four-speed automatic; 3.73 gears; and a limited-slip rear differential. It has a towing capacity of 8600 pounds with the 22-inch wheels. Of course, you'll need the optional trailer towing package.
All of this electronic wizardry ends up giving the AWD F-150 an EPA rating of 14 city, 18 highway. But we saw 13.7 mpg during 200 miles of city driving and mid-17s on a 100-mile cruise down the Interstate at a leisurely 75 mph.
Standard interior features include the Harley-Davidson captain's chairs in black leather, leather-trimmed rear 60/40 bench, CD stereo system, tilt wheel with multifunction controls, power-adjustable pedals, and a full complement of chrome trim.
Our truck, which had a base price of $38,285, was fully optioned, adding the power sunroof, power-sliding rear window, six-disc CD changer, a much-appreciated backup-sensing system, and the optional 35.7-gallon fuel tank that features another 100-plus miles of range over the standard 27-gallon tank. These options brought the total to $42,120.
Our only complaints are with the sport-tuned shocks and thin-sidewall 22-inch tires. Be prepared to feel every bump, rock, crack, and tar strip on the road despite the efforts of the cushy bucket seats.
Oh, and lest you or anyone else forget that you're driving a Harley-Davidson F-150, the H-D logo or name is used at least 17 times in and on the truck.