Ford made a big splash in the pickup truck world when it announced that its top-selling F-150 would be put together with aluminum construction -- shaving about 700 pounds from the old model. The redesigned truck was also putting small-displacement turbo V6 engines front and center, with the idea to maximize fuel economy and performance. Because many pickup trucks spend a lot of time in rural settings, it's a fair argument that Ford is betting the farm on these innovations.
In our tests, the reduced weight and high-tech powertrain wizardry pay dividends with an impressive 19 mpg overall with the 2.7-liter turbo V6 -- now paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission -- edging out all of its non-diesel competitors. (The previous Ram 1500 diesel still leads the class with 20 mpg overall.) The F-150's 2.7-liter and beefier 3.5-liter turbo-V6 engines provide plenty of punch even at low revs, with quick acceleration and effortless towing ability. You won't miss a V8 due to the V6 turbo's higher torque, but you might miss the V8's rumble.
Inside, our tested crew-cab model had cavernous room front and rear, and it's almost silent. The driving position is comfy and roomy. Optional power-adjustable pedals can accommodate truckers of all shapes and sizes. Large windows and relatively narrow pillars provide good visibility.