2012 Ford F-150 Styling

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Styling

Macho has always been a key concern of truck buyers, but it wasn't until the Dodge Ram came bounding on to the scene in 1994 that "macho" became a styling theme to be emphasized, and overemphasized, with every new iteration of every full-size truck on the market.

Macho is what you'd call the latest F-150, but it's from a distinct school of thought. The Rams look like miniature versions of 18-wheelers; F-150s are downsized Tonka trucks, relentlessly linear and endowed with massive grilles almost as tall as some of their drivers.

Icon or cartoon, the Ford F-150's imposing, blocky styling sets it apart from the Ram and GM trucks.

Ford laid any trace of the old, rounded F-150 to rest in the full-size truck's 2009 redesign. With understatement out the window, the F-150 grew to its current imposing dimensions, and spun off myriad editions that took the same basic shape and dressed it up for discrete audiences. The same F-150 that wears black paint and Harley decals is, with some different leather and tonier paints, a King Ranch Edition--and those trucks are just a couple of doors and some unpainted bumpers away from the XL rung on the caste system. It's all highly efficient and democratic, if the idea of the F-150 itself is exactly the opposite of both of those.

Inside, the F-150 shows no signs of the somewhat carlike, drab plastic interiors of just a few years ago. That same 2009 redesign brought with it a more businesslike and upright dash that also brought much-upgraded interiors. Inside, well-coordinated materials and trims carry a boxy look, punctuated with round, high-set vents. The same look can appear restrained and rather well-done, as in the basic F-150 XL, and it can come off as the most luxurious vehicle sold under a Ford blue-oval badge, if you're settling into a Platinum edition.

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