I would argue that most Harley-Davison riders want to be noticed, often doing so by shattering the already tattered calm of the city.
The same likely holds true for buyers of the 2012 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson edition. They want to be noticed too, and this 4x4 pickup has the goods to draw attention; fortunately with less auditory stimulation than the two-wheeled variants. Still, this is one mean sounding truck.
Genuine Harley-Davidson inspiration
Ford reports that nearly every member of their Harley-Davidson F-150 team is a Harley owner. No fakes here. The team has taken the 2012 F-150 H-D edition further along the single track than any of the previous versions.
In fact, they've adopted a snakeskin theme to accent the leather upholstery and bodyside graphics, inspired by tank inserts on premium-level Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Along with authentic H-D badging inside and out, Ford has fitted the H-D F-150 with 22" machined aluminum wheels with painted accents inspired by Harley motorcycle wheels.
Along with the big wheels, Ford has given the H-D a lowered appearance and equipped it with power- deployable running boards. They also chose Harley-Davidson White Platinum tri-coat paint to distinguish the 2012 F-150 H-D. This is the first year that white has been offered.
Finally, a unique six-slat chrome grille adorns the front of the truck. The slats are intended to resemble the cooling fins of the fabled V-twin air-cooled Harley-Davidson engine. Naturally, the engine behind the grille is something of a monster by comparison.
Big truck - big power
The massive 6.2L SOHC V8 features variable cam timing and sequential electronic fuel injection to produce 411 hp @ 5,500 rpm and 434 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Those are impressive numbers arising from the big-bore architecture of Ford's iron block powerplant.
No turbocharging or ultra sophisticated technology here; just hedonistic power produced the old fashion way - with cubic inches. Of course, power comes at a price - ask any dictator - and that price is paid at the pumps. My in-town average economy generally exceeded 20L/100km.
The thirsty powerplant unleashes its might into a 6-speed automatic transmission that feeds power to the rear wheels unless the electronically-activated four-wheel-drive system is engaged. As such, the driver can select all-wheel drive (4A), four-wheel drive high range (4H) or four-wheel drive low range (4L).
Mounted on the side of the shift lever is a small rocker switch that enables the manual selection of gears. This setup works remarkably well, allowing drivers full control of the transmission with nothing more than the touch of a thumb.
Also on the shifter is a small button to activate a tow/haul mode to assist the truck in motivating a caboose. And thanks to a tow rating of 3,400 kg (or 7,500 lbs), that caboose can be of significant substance.
Of course, luxurious trucks aren't all about work; they're about comfort as well, and the F-150 H-D epitomizes that attribute.
Within the Harley cabin
The H-D F-150 is laden with comfort, luxury and convenience. Its cabin is roomier than living rooms in most condo developments. Front- and rear-seat accommodations are expansive and heated; the front perches being cooled as well to ensure the utmost in trucking bliss.
The four-wheeled Harley is replete with Ford's latest SYNC technology and voice-activated navigation system paired with an 8" LCD screen that doubles as a backup camera. The system can even play DVDs when the vehicle is in Park.
Lest one should have to climb into the cab after a long day atop a Road King, the automatic deploying running board drops into place upon the opening of a door. Once inside, the delight begins.
Behind the snakeskin wheel
There's ferocious power, and plenty of it. This truck hauls ass. I'm not sure how to put it any more succinctly - or elegantly for that matter. Off-the-line performance is herculean while life in the passing lane is mind-bending for such a behemoth.
Like the shattering tumult of straight-piped Harleys, the big F-150 emits a menacing exhaust staccato on its way to redline that doesn't abide by expectations. Under more conservative administration though, it speaks in deep, soothing murmurs.
The sense of calmness is further enhanced by the notable absence of road and wind noise in the plush environs. This, along with the vehicle's absorbent yet firm ride quality, imparts an aura of delight as one takes to the highway.
Still, there's no mistaking the fact that the underpinnings are those of a 4WD truck. This is especially apparent when the rear wheels encounter disagreeable sections of roadway. It's also apparent that agility and nimbleness are not strengths to be lauded. But hey, this isn't that sort of vehicle.
The F-150 H-D wrap
The 2012 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson is a unique offering by Ford in conjunction with Harley-Davidson. It's a luxurious truck cross-bred with the famous - near mythical - motorcycle.
I enjoyed driving this rolling exhibit of Americana, albeit being noticed wasn't my desire. The truck garnered attention, even when parked outside my abode where many dog walkers stopped to give it the once-over.
Of course, rolling exhibits aren't generally inexpensive, and such is the case with my tester given its MSRP of $65,749.
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