Road Test Review: 2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150

Road Test Review: 2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150

The Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 returns to the Blue Oval’s half-ton lineup for the 11th year, but with most consumer and media attention focused on the amazing F-150 SVT Raptor off-roader or other models powered by the all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin turbo V-6, has the 2011 Harley F-150 lost some of its mojo? We spent a week piloting the latest HD F-150 around Los Angeles to find out.

One thing the Harley F-150 hasn't lost is its ability to capture attention. Big 22-inch forged aluminum wheels with low-profile P275/45R22 tires and a six-bar billet grille give the truck a cocky stance that catches the eye.

In a Target parking lot, the Harley was carefully inspected by three generations of a family. On the freeway, it received an emphatic thumbs up. And while parking for an evening event, it drew the attention of some of the most jaded auto critics in Southern California — parking attendants. Three lot jockeys stared and conferenced for 30 seconds before approaching to ask if we were driving a Raptor. Oy.

Ford changes the Harley's look almost every year, but the latest model's bling is less enthusiastic than in some recent editions. Whereas last year's truck featured a monochromatic metallic paint job with Lava-colored swooshes, the 2011 HD sports thin hot-rod-style "speed scallop" vinyl graphics that trail back from the front wheel flares. The flares are defined by orange borders around a brushed satin-finish design. Similar scallops appear on the hood.

Our four-door SuperCrew wore Ingot Silver Metallic paint, which is new for 2011, and traditional Tuxedo Black Metallic.

The biggest change is tucked away under the hood. The old 5.4-liter Triton V-8 — versions of which have been the heart of this truck since it debuted in 2000 — has been replaced by the new 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 411 horsepower and 434 pounds-feet of torque. That’s 101 hp and 69 pounds-feet more than last year’s mill.


The premium eight-cylinder engine pushed the Harley F-150 from zero to 60 mph in just 7.15 seconds, according to our VBOX testing hardware. That's fast, especially for a truck weighing more than 5,000 pounds, but other (cheaper) F-150s armed with Ford's EcoBoost V-6 can hit that figure in the upper sixes.

Towing is also improved. It’s been increased to 7,200 pounds for our all-wheel/four-wheel-drive tester, up from last year’s 5,100 pounds, though the 3.73 limited-slip rear axle remains unchanged.

But the performance improvements aren’t free. It's unlikely that buyers of the Harley F-150 rank gas mileage high among their purchase criteria, but with gas prices stuck in the $4 range around Southern California, it's disappointing to see the 2011 Harley’s fuel economy rating has dropped to 12/16 mpg city/highway from last year's 14/18 mpg. We saw that drop in our observed mileage. In the 2010 model we drove last year, we averaged 13.7 mpg while we struggled to stay above 11 to 12 mpg in the 2011.

The 6.2's exhaust note remains one of the Harley's most attractive attributes in the tradition of Harley motorcycles. It's a built-in character that EcoBoost F-150s can't touch with their flat and muted-sounding, direct-injection six-cylinder engine.

On the freeway, extra throttle requests to the F-150's 6R140 six-speed automatic powertrain were met with rewarding 6-5, 6-4 or 6-3 downshifts, depending on how aggressive we were with the pedal. The bigger the gap, the better the burble from the exhaust.

The six-speed gearbox also sports the new progressive range select feature. It allows the driver to reduce the number of available gears so it's easier to let the exhaust note hang longer without worrying about the truck upshifting and squelching the fun. All it takes is pressing the +/- button on the console-mounted shift lever to set the top gear.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Despite the low-profile tires and big wheels, Ford has done an excellent job tuning the Harley F-150's suspension and chassis so the truck doesn't beat up its occupants when it's empty, which is how we drove the truck all week and expect most owners will, too. In most situations, it was comfortable to cruise in, especially with the highly adjustable front captain's chairs dialed in just right.

Inside is where the Harley F-150 differentiates itself from the rest of the F-Series lineup and most other full-size pickups. Polished Tuxedo Black trim around the instrument panel gives the HD a classy touch enhanced by scuffed metallic gauges and a brushed center console lid. The lid, which sports a pattern similar to the pattern on the exterior scallops, emphasizes appearance over functionality: Resting your arm on the Harley shield and VIN badging on the console felt uncomfortable.

Other unique touches include leather-trimmed seats with HD cloisonné badges. Ambient LED lightning in the cupholders and footwells changes colors with the touch of a button, including green, blue, orange and red. Slick.

Temperatures this past week in Los Angeles hovered in the 90s in many places, so the Harley's air-conditioned front seats were used frequently to keep cool, especially after a long day driving Freightliner FL70 over-the-road trucks in preparation to get our commercial driver's license. The Harley's cabin was heaven after that rig's beat-up, window-cooled interior. The front and rear seats also come with standard heaters.

Other standard interior highlights in our tester include a voice-activated navigation system with an 8-inch touch-screen, Sirius satellite radio, power moonroof, rearview camera and remote starter.

But does the Harley's luxury-slathered interior, street-tuned suspension and 6.2-liter V-8 justify its $52,740 price tag? Here is where we wonder about the Harley's value.

The base price of our all-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive Harley was $52,115 plus $250 for the bed extender and $375 for the integrated tailgate step, for a grand total of $52,740.


Now, compare that price with a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew 6.2, which starts at $44,700. You won’t get a fancy interior for that money, but you will get a pickup truck that commands as much attention as the Harley with similar power and performance but with the added bonus of being able to show it off off-road as well as on the streets. It makes us wonder how much the Raptor is eating the Harley’s breakfast in sales, especially now that both trucks are available with four full-size doors.

Bottom Line: The 2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 continues to offer truck buyers attention-grabbing style coupled with powerful performance straight from the factory, but the Raptor is stealing the Harley’s street cred while EcoBoost F-150s offer faster sprint times and significantly better fuel economy.


I am fully prepared to be in the minority here, but I would buy a car instead of this. With $52k I could buy the king of Taurus SHOs, or a new Charger SRT8 with $10k left over, or an '09 BMW of any size or shape, or an '07 S-Class AMG, or an almost-new CTS-V, or any other one of a large number of cars that offer more performance or more luxury or both. I just don't see the point of a $50k half-ton pickup.

i think that is one sweet ride the only problom i would have with it would be the low profile would you use them for work...

Why did the Ford guys have to bring up Toyota when this is about Ford truck a powerful, good looking but overpriced one and yes you could get a 5.7L Tundra 4x4 w/ TRD offroad package and add TRD supercharger, TRD dual exhaust and ITBC (the truck comes prewired for one) for the same price that thrills Tundra owners because its faster and can tow more and even gets better mpg's but this is not about the Tundra is about this cool ford truck so lets stop the Tundra bashing and talk about the Harley.


"As far as I know, X Runner is a Tacoma, small size truck. Why is Oxi always trying to compare Tacomas to full size trucks? There is no point."

You originally said Toyota which meant ALL models, you did not specify the Tundra...

Do not underestimate small size pickups, they can perform with the right driver behind the wheel...

Funny you mention this because it was ALL the time when I had my decked out X-Runner, it was always the full-size pickups that tried to challenge me on the street and the highways, 4wd's to boot... and I never lost to any one of those big V8 pickups on the street with just my trusty little V6 off the stop lights and higher gears on the highways, what fools they were!

Full-size pickup owners are really funny! They think they own the roads just because they have a V8 under the hood...

I was driving a little Subaru Impreza the other day, flat boxer 4-cylinder on the back roads with a Lincoln Towncar, I'd say later 1990's or very early last decade, V8 powered...

Every corner he would get on the brakes on the county road and I would end up on his rear bumper, so he got pissed and punched it on the straights because he had that big V8 and had to prove what a man he was and how difficult it was to press the throttle down in a straight line ya know!!!

I came up to him on a nice right-hander, close to maybe 70-80 degrees, saw nobody was coming, got in the left lane and passed him doing about 70 not even chirping the tires and waved by to him in the midle of the corner...

He as usual hit the brakes because he was unsure of himself in cornering ability and driver skill and I was gone after the turn and I mean gone!

Lesson here, know how to use your equipement or get out of the way. Same shyt when I had my X-Runner, idiot drivers who thought they had a pair simply because they could press down their gas pedal in the straights...

I thought it was obvious we were talking full size trucks. I originally made a statement about the performance of the Boss Hog engine, suspension, towing, itbc and trailer sway. Toyota should have added an integrated trailer brake controller by now, and their trailer sway only works on the truck's brakes, not the trailers too. Kudos to the Tacoma X Runner, and way to stay on topic as usual.

all hell here we go again

"I am fully prepared to be in the minority here, but I would buy a car instead of this. With $52k I could buy the king of Taurus SHOs"

a different luke,
Really? I like the Ford Taurus, but I could never see myself only driving a car. They can't haul, tow or do much work. And I would never pay that much for a Taurus. I'm sorry.

Really? I like the Ford Taurus, but I could never see myself only driving a car. They can't haul, tow or do much work. And I would never pay that much for a Taurus. I'm sorry.

i agree i would not buy a car for that money


The Taurus a much better car than it used to be, but it is the weakest example that I provided, and the most expensive Taurus is still in a much different price range ($10-12k less) than the truck in this article.

And I'd pay $100 to anyone who used a Harley Davidson F-150 to move anything heavy from anywhere to anywhere. These are the same as SVT F-150s. They sit in driveways and drive to the supermarket.


It's too much for a car, but fifty-two thousand dollars for a half-ton pickup truck is ok to you? For a half-ton with less performance than a $29k 3/4 ton? You could buy a move-in ready small house for the price of this F-150!

2011 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner Extended Cab Pickup
Price: $25,735
MPG: 15 - 19 mpg

•Engine: 4.0L V6 DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
•Unleaded fuel
•Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 15 MPG city, 19 MPG highway
•21.1gallon fuel tank
•3.150:1 axle ratio
•Power (SAE): 236 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 266 ft lb of torque @ 4,000 rpm
•payload allowance (lbs): 880
•gross trailer weight braked (lbs): 3,500


The Ecoboost get's better MPG and has more HP/TQ and is a Half Ton!

Really Oxi? You're now comparing a Subaru Impreza to a Lincoln Town Car?

The Lincoln town car is a granny car that sits on the minimally updated 35 year old panther platform and has a low power V8 engine that's been in service since the early 1990s which has also only see minimal updates since its relese. The Impreza is a lighter, tighter more performance oriented seden. Of course the Impreza will be faster in streight line and take the corners better.

Do you really want to brag about beating a 10+year old 4,500lb 200hp Granny Town Car with a suspension made of jello? From were I'm sitting that's not much of a feat and that's comming from a Ford guy. If you want to race competitive sedens than race the Taures SHO or the Charger SRT-8. But beating a Town car and bragging about it is something a highschool kid with zero racing experince would do. And from what you make it sound like you are vastly experienced in the world of racing both on and offroad right? So you of all people should know what I'm talking about.

And also comparing a Supercharged Tundra to the F-150. Supercharge an F-150 either 5.0L or 6.2L and then we'll talk apples to apples.


Do you realize you're comparing a 2wd tacoma access cab to a full size crew cab F150? That X Runner isn't that hot after looking at the numbers. I also heard your XR had tranny problems from racing and you had to have the tranny replaced. What kind of performance is that? Meh. Maybe they should fix their trannies which have been plagued for years with issues first before you talk up the XR performance.

I would like to see a match-up between the denali's 6.2 vs fords 6.2........

A 4x4 tundra will out run this Harley, mine runs 0-60 in 6 secs. And it costs about, 20k less.

It has already been done here and it is slower than the Supercharged Tundra despit more power now their is also and 800hp raptor but they dont give a 0-60 I would guess it would be faster but ot according to this site or this one I doubt a supercharged 5.0 would be any faster.

That is because Toyota allows buyers to get their most power V8 in an working man's, realistic, inexpensive package--want the Ford 6.2 in your F150, you gotta pay out the nose.

@Dav, If only Ford and Gm could grasp the idea that people won't want to spend 50k for their top engine, Ie. 6.2's.

"If only Ford and Gm could grasp the idea that people won't want to spend 50k for their top engine, Ie. 6.2's."

That's not Ford/Gm, that's CAFE.

They can't sell a lot of trucks with the top engine, because of fuel economy. The top engine gets the worst fuel economy, which brings their corporate average fuel economy (CAFE rating) down. Their CAFE rating already suffers because trucks and suvs are their best sellers.

Toyota doesn't quite have this problem, as most of the vehicles they sell are small cars, so they have more lee-way when it comes to CAFE.

Oxi - Tacoma and Frontier are the best options for smaller trucks, but they are still outdated and provide no better fuel mileage than a full-size. They are pathetic options.

@ Curtis this RegularCab 2011 f150 STOCK run 5.4to5.5 0-60 now the 87 Performance tune 0-60 in 4.7to4.8 how ever you spin it
the RegularCab Tundra does it 0-60 in 4.4 with a SuperCharger Correct ? slap a SC on the 5.0 and its all over .....

Don't blame Oxi for trolling as he wasn't the one that started the fight.
Don was the one who started bashing Toyota. Why ????

That would be like me making a comment about GM's cheep bargain basement bailout interiors and then blame the Bobsie boys for getting their speedo's bunched up were nothing should ever go!

Oxi's comment was very funny - C'mon a heavy pickup like this with hardly any rubber?
It's like a heavy dude trying to run with flip flops, not gonna happen and you know the result!

If someone wants to spend that kind of cash on a truck go right ahead.
I liked the looks of the 2010 model much better.
This looks more like any leather F150 but with some H-D badging added on.

I can't see why Ford offers the 6.2 as a performance engine in the F150. It was designed for HD's and I bet it will replace the V10 in heavy trucks. It's a big block work truck engine with low tech heads.
Ford should use EB technology on the 5.0 and use that as the go fast package. Ford neeeds to make a hyper performance street pickup. Ressurrect the Lightning - a Raptor for the street.


"Tacoma and Frontier are the best options for smaller trucks, but they are still outdated and provide no better fuel mileage than a full-size. They are pathetic options."

If you want fuel economy, BUY A CAR!

Why in the hell would you buy a pickup for the sole purpose of fuel economy? Buy it for what you need it to do first, fuel economy should be one of the LAST things you buy a pickup for...

You guys are starting to resemble the many men out there driving suv's (gurl vehicles) and trying to be macho with those silly rides!

Tacoma outdated?

Twin overhead cam, 24-valve V6, coil sprung front and some nice traction aiding devices including a e-locker is still ahead of the competition and most of this debuted back in 1995 with the 1st generation...

Don't worry the next generation will arive soon and I will see it in person at the Chicago Auto Show in 2012!

جميل جدا واود الحصول عليه بس كيف

@ Mike Levine

Thanks Mike for yet another great article. Funny how people react on a harmless informative post. The GM and Toy boys chime in with negative comments... Like any other product / business, the top dog always gets targeted. Job well done Ford.

So what you are telling me is that someone is going to put a supercharger on the 5.0 F150 and is going to do better than what John Hennessey (a man known for making ridiculous power and fast things faster) did (turbos that make more power than a supercharger) with the more powerful 6.2L that has a 4.10 axle ratio.

Yes the Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 is awsome truck looks good inside and out (I do like the black one better) ut it is way overpriced for a gas motor to me I could understand if it was the 4.4L diesel due to the price of a diesel engine but im not paying anyone that price for a gas engine that probably wont go over 200,000 miles.

Oxi started it by calling this truck a poser. A poser compared to what? Toyota? Toyo is what he was implying as usual. Toyota has nothing to compare to this. Oxi's comment turned off-topic as usual comparing a weak 2wd midsize access cab Tacoma to a full size crewcab F-150 4x4. The tires are specially made for the Harley.

@ Don - how would this truck fare against a SRT10 or even an old Ford Lightning?

It has a stock 6.2 and all wheel drive.
Sport tuned suspension?
Kinda like a FX4, Z71 or Outdoorsman with an offroad tuned suspension????
Nothing special.

Calling this truck a performance truck is like calling a Harley Davidson a performance bike.

As far as I'm concerned - Oxi was correct.


"Oxi's comment turned off-topic as usual comparing a weak 2wd midsize access cab Tacoma to a full size crewcab F-150 4x4."

Have you bothered to notice the stock lateral grip numbers on an X-Runner?

Factory says 0.90g's while Sport Compact Car ran tests on a stock X-Runner and it pulled 0.96g's...a stock Mitsuibishi Evo pulls 0.98g's for comparison...

That is pretty darn good cornering abilities! No other production based pickup even comes close my friend, the closest was 0.82g's from a Syclone...

The X brace and Bilstein gas shocks helped tremendously with those numbers and you can learn from this...


Though my X-Runner at its n/a (naturally aspirated) peak ran well over 1g of lateral grip:

lol you guys forget the people who will actually buy this truck....this truck is for the people that can waste 50k and not have to worry about it the other 9 trims are for everybody else so you get what you can afford....the difference now for the people the money to waste get more of a truck then what they had before....look at the bikes they are over priced too why not the truck if you going to wear the badge


Well I mean if with only a Tune/Intake and Exhaust system an F-150 5.0L is running 0-60's comparable to a Supercharged 5.7L Tundra, Whats to say a Supercharged 5.0L F-150 can't take a Supercharged Tundra down in the 1/4 mile? I'm not denying that the 5.7L Tundra's are quick. But you have to admit the compatition is catching up to them. Ford is right there with Toyota now in the 1/2 ton performance catagory when speaking with the 5.0L V8 Ecoboost and 6.2L V8. So is GM with their 6.2L V8. Dodge is right around the corner. I'm just saying...If we were talking old 5.4L vs Toyota 5.7L...Then yes one would have to dump a considerble amount of money in the 5.4L to make it compete with the Tundra. But that's just not the case anymore...The 5.0L Ecoboost and 6.2L are all competitive with the Tundra 5.7L

On the topic of the Harley F-150...Well I agree with you here. Its overpriced for what it is. I payed 39,000$ for my 2011 F-150 FX4 Supercab 5.0L and that was about my limit. 52K for a truck that's has a upscale interior and special badging is not my cup of tea. My FX4 is more praticle in every respect all for 13,000$ less.

Whenever I see a truck with those rubber band tires I want to puke!

Hell I don't even like that idiocy in cars.

It is just a plain dumb look as far as I am concerned.

This aint S***

Check out the new POWER RANGER!!!

"You guys are starting to resemble the many men out there driving suv's (gurl vehicles) and trying to be macho with those silly rides!" -oxi

That is like trying to be macho in a college girl's pickup, Tacoma.

I would pit my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited (Petersen's 1998 4X4 Of The Year) against any stock Tacoma 4X4 (non-TRD Off Road). Have to love the Jeep Quadra-Coil (solid-axles) suspension. I can go anywhere off road that a Tacoma can go... plus my Jeep would out handle and out tow it. The Tacoma only beats this Jeep in cargo hauling because the Jeep lacks a pickup bed.

@ curtis The Tundra SC is a Regular Cab VelociRaptor is EXT Cab that is not Apples to Apples ..... Slap a Sc on a Regular Cab f150 and see what it can do .. you have seen what it does in Stock form....

Where we agree is Ford has some great new engine choices for the F150 and according to motor trend the ecoboost is faster than a stock tundra although I am not a basher of the old 5.4 it was a great low end torque puller that proved its reliability in the F-Series but where dont agree isin places like the supercharged 5.4 being anywhere near as fast as a supercharged 5.7L tundra with the 4.3 axle ratio when this all hennessey could get out of the 5.4 and I dont see how a supercharged 5.0 would do better than a twin turbo 6.2 which is slower.

I hope Ford racing does put a whipple supercharger (which I have a lot of respect for) on the 5.0 lets see if it can make the F150 compete with the SRT10 Ram and Supercharged 5.7L Tundra w/Doug Thorley Headers and Dual Exhaust,-2007+-Tundra-5.7L-Ceramic-LongTube/product_info.html reg supercharged tundra vs SRT10

@ Curtis what cab are we talking about regularcab or ext or crew ? tundra or ram ? an compete ? ever heard of the Ford Lightning ? regular cab f150 5.0 with a whipple,eaton,or kenne bell .you saw what it can do with 87 tune 4.7to4.8 0-60 no Force Induction , the tundra did it in 4.4 with a SC ... slap Force Induction on it ....

Tundra vs Ford Lightning has been done twice 1. NA Tundra w/mods vs stock lightning 2. supercharged tundra vs lightning

Here is an interesting link to TruckTrend on the history of the H-D pickup.

Ford needs to supercharge or turbocharge the engine in this truck. It needs to have some kind of performance advantage over the rest of the line up.

That ia just the right kind of thinking a tuned, CAI, turbocharged 6.2L AWD with a 3.73 axle ratio listen to this sounds like a jet coming at you. I could possibly see $40,000-$50,000 for this kind of package.

@ Curtis - that is why I agreed with Oxi on his "poser" comment. This is a stock truck with AWD and some mild suspension tuning. Considering the price of this truck - it should be head and shoulders better in the performance realm.
Even in a straight line - it should out perform a Lariet or any other 6.2 powered F150, and it should slaughter any competitor's truck.
If it can't do that what's the point?

Your link was interesting. I had an F150 with 3.5 EB pass me the other day. It was very quite. It was too quiet. All I heard was slight turbo whine as it drove past.

@ curtis I dont know but 504hp an 550lbs tundra to a 380hp an 440lbs Lighnting is not APPLES to APPLES ... but the NA modded Tundra was a good kill ... I think a 2011 SC 5.0 would be alot better APPLES to APPLES ....

I didn't know that Ford/SVT offered a bolt on, fully warranteed, supercharger that also maintains your factory warranty for the F150--to my knowledge, they don't.

That is the HUGE difference--Toyota does. Saying "but if ya put a supercharger on a 5.0/6.2..." Sure anyone can do extensive mods, make it faster, and effectively void your warranty. With the Tundra supercharger, you get the benefit of 500HP and keep your warranty.

@ Dav - F150 Harley pickups depending on the year came with factory installed superchargers.

The same supercharger was available for any 5.4 Ford vehicle. It came with a full factory warranty if dealer installed.
Ford SVT has several superchargers for the 5.0 Mustang. One has factory warranty if dealer installed. The other ones are full race superchargers with no warranty. I do not know for sure if these superchargers are a direct warrantied item if put on the truck 5.0. That will most likely come soon.

The tacoma needs to be in the next half ton shootout! It is almost the size of one and can be had for less than $30k.

I agree with oxi. The Tacoma never gets any respect around here.

Oxi for president.

Oxi for president. LMFAO

you know i used to have a lot for Toyota trucks, but you guys are just relentless let it go, this is getting old, so what if people don't like Toyota's truck why do you need to shove it down every one's throat

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