2013 Ford F-150 XLT 4X2 Supercab Quick Drive

The Ford F-150's "other" V-6 engine falls short on fuel economy, still has plenty of kick

If you told Ford 10 years ago that the majority of its F-Series pickup truck sales would include a V-6 engine, you'd probably be put in a white jacket, had your sleeves tied together, and told to follow the nice man. Funny how things change. Today, 43 percent of all Ford F-150 sales are powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. As popular as Ford's EcoBoost mill is, people tend to forget that the Blue Oval offers another V-6 engine, the 3.7-liter variant. We wanted to see what Ford's other V-6 mill was all about so we spent a week with a 2013 Ford F-150 XLT 4X2 Supercab to get some first-hand experience. Here's what we found.

Model and Price

For a base price of $31,275, you can pick yourself up a 2013 Ford F-150 Supercab with a 4.2-inch LCD cluster screen, a steering wheel wrapped in leather, and auxiliary input jacks. If you want to spring for the XLT package, like our tester included, you'll have to drop an additional $1,310 for Equipment Group 301a. This includes the XLT nomenclature and a convenience package, which features a power driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, select shift transmission, and six months of Sirius XM radio. You like the Ruby Red Metallic paint or tester is sporting in the photos? That'll be $395, please. Other optional features include an integrated brake control ($230) and the XLT chrome package which showcases a set of 265/60R-18 all-season tires wrapped around chrome wheels, and a chrome step bar ($1,595). Cloth bucket seats ($300) and a spray-in bedliner ($475) raises the final MSRP of the 2013 Ford F-150 XLT 4X2 Supercab to $35,725.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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Safety and Key Features

Surprisingly, the F-150 XLT doesn't include too much when it comes to an infotainment system. A trap door below the 4.2-inch LCD cluster screen swings open towards you to reveal various audio input jacks, but good luck trying to get Sync, Ford's infotainment system, to cooperate. After fumbling through the buttons below the LCD screen, we finally got the Bluetooth audio to play, but it was frustrating. Nevertheless, you can feel safe inside the 2013 Ford F-150 thanks to an array of safety features. Some of these include roll stability control, front seat mounted side impact airbags, an electronic key fob, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The 2013 Ford F-150 earned an overall rating of four stars when crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Family Friendliness and Utility

It may take some getting used to, but Ford's Supercab front and rear doors open in the opposite direction of each other. As usual, the front doors open towards you, but the rear doors open away from you. If you're not familiar with this configuration, it can feel foreign, but the upside to this design is that it is simple to load and unload cargo carried in the cabin. The rear seating doesn't provide copious amounts of real estate, but you can fit an adult back there, and a child seat can be installed easily, too. LATCH points are easy to find at the base of the rear seat and with all of the interior space, you won't break into a sweat trying to install the child's seat properly.

Comfort and Quality

On long freeway rides, the F-150 bobbled around when forced to go over cement surfaces, but on asphalt the ride smoothed out. The cloth bucket seats were comfortable and supportive, but for a shade under $36,000, we were left wondering why it wasn't leather. However, leather wasn't totally absent inside the F-150, as the steering wheel was wrapped in some grade of cowhide. The rest of the interior is sparse, but clean, and everything leads your eyes back to the center stack. Storage space can be found everywhere you look too, and the cavernous center console can swallow up almost anything needed for the day's commitments.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view

How it Drives

Ford has sold over 200,000 F-150 units that draw power from the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine so it may be easy to forget that the Blue Oval offers another six cylinder engine. Getting up to speed can be done quickly with Ford's non-EcoBoost V-6 engine but don't expect great fuel economy once you get to the desired pace. Unlike the EcoBoost, power doesn't wait a split second before kicking into action, but again, fuel economy suffers. At 17 mpg city and 23 mpg city, the non-EcoBoost engine may lose some luster when compared to its twin-turbo V-6 sibling. However, power between the two engines feels very similar. Bringing the F-150 to a halt can be done with a simple step on the brake, which provides quick and controlled stopping power.

Summary

Without question, the 2013 Ford F-150 XLT 4X2 Supercab will get the job done just fine, but we'd recommend waiting until the thirteenth generation of the Blue Oval's mega-popular full-size truck is launched for the 2015 model year. As it stands now, pound for pound, the Ram 1500 packs more of a punch for your dollar. General Motors and Toyota have also launched the latest versions of its full-size pickup offerings. If you can't stray from Ford though and you must get a new one now, we'd direct you over to the EcoBoost V-6. The non-EcoBoost V-6, while still more than ready and willing to flex its muscle, is just not as efficient as other offerings currently available. So, after spending over a week with the 2013 Ford F-150 XLT 4X2 Supercab, we've concluded that while it's a solid truck in its own right, we recommend springing the extra $2,095 for the EcoBoost variant.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $35,725
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 17 mpg
EPA Highway: 23 mpg
EPA Combined: 19 mpg
Cargo Space: 25 "grocery bags"
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row (if applicable): Not Applicable
Estimated Combined Range: 494 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Average

1 comments
lray801
lray801

"...power between the two engines feels very similar."

Are you kidding me? That's like saying a porcupine and a pomeranian puppy feel very similar. I had to wipe my laptop down after reading that statement. I have an EB F150 and a friend of mine has the 3.7. They're not even in the same LEAGUE, even more so when you put any amount of weight behind the hood.

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