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Ford F-150 gets upgrades for 2012

Thu, 29 Sep 2011

A 36-gallon fuel tank leads the changes on the 2012 Ford F-150 pickup, which makes for a range of 756 bladder-busting miles without filling up. The FX trim gets a new appearance package, and the availability of a locking rear axle is expanded.

The engine lineup is unchanged from that of the 2011 model, with six-speed automatic transmissions as standard equipment.

The new FX appearance package is offered on both the FX2 and FX4 pickups. The package comes with flat-black accents and black fender and tailgate badges with red lettering. Inside, the steering wheel gets red accent stitching to match. The package also includes black leather seats with red piping.

Also new for 2012 are 20-inch, six-spoke wheels, chrome exhaust tips, a black-finished grille and blacked-out headlights and taillights.

Last year's electronic shift-on-the-fly is replaced with a 4x4 automatic mode. If the truck senses a loss of grip, it transfers power to the front. The system still has four low and four high modes.

Hill Start Assist is new to the F-150. If the computer calculates that the truck is on an incline, it holds the brake for up to two seconds after releasing the pedal. This allows the driver to get going before the weight of a trailer rolls the truck back.

All four-wheel-drive models have a neutral tow option, meaning drivers can now flat-tow the truck with another vehicle. The limited-slip differential is replaced with an electronic-locking diff in a range of axle ratios.

"These changes are centered around making F-150 an even more useful tool for our customers," said Jackie DiMarco, F-150 chief engineer. "We're continuously raising the bar when it comes to capability, and these upgrades and new technologies push us even further."

By Jake Lingeman