The Difference Between the Ford F150 XL and XLT

by James Rutter

Ford Motors has built its F-series of trucks since 1948 and christened its full-size half-ton truck line as the F-150 in 1975. In 2011, Ford updated the F-150 with new standard and optional engines. Buyers can purchase the F-150 XL or XLT trim levels in regular, extended or crew cab body styles with a choice of 5.5-, 6.5- or 8-foot bed, depending on the cab size. The 2011 XL models start at $22,790, while XLT models cost $27,250.


In 2011, Ford offers two different engines for the F-150 XL and XLT trim levels and does not differentiate the XL and XLT models by the standard engines. Ford installed a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 as standard in the rear-wheel or four-wheel drive XL and XLT trim models with a regular cab and a 6.5- or 8-foot bed length, the rear-drive extended cab with the 6.5-foot bed or the rear-wheel crew cab with the 5.5-foot bed. This engine has an aluminum block and aluminum heads and produces 302 horsepower and 278 foot-pounds of torque. Ford equips the remaining XL and XLT trim levels with a 5.0-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine. This engine also has an aluminum block and aluminum heads. It generates 360 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. Ford couples both of these engines to a six-speed automatic with overdrive in XL and XLT trims.


Ford offers seven exterior colors for the XL trim F-150. These colors include Vermillion Red, Tuxedo Black, Sterling Gray, Oxford White, Ingot Silver, Dark Blue and Black. Buyers can match the XL exterior color to a Steel Grey interior color scheme only. Ford sells the XLT trim F-150 in the seven exterior XL colors and also in Red Candy, Race Red, Pale Adobe, Golden Bronze and Blue Flame. Buyers can match these exterior colors for the XLT trim to three interior color schemes, Steel Grey, Pale Adobe or Black. Ford further differentiates the XLT trim by including standard power remote folding mirrors, chrome front and rear bumpers and a chrome grille. Buyers can customize the XLT trim's exterior with two-tone paint, body-colored bumpers and a chrome-tipped exhaust pipe, features that Ford does not offer for the XLT trim.


Ford also differentiates the F-150 XL and XLT trims with the standard features it offers on the base model XLT in regular cab, 6.5-foot bed and rear-wheel drive. The XLT trim includes air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and doors, remote keyless entry and illuminated locks as standard features. Buyers can upgrade the XL trim with any of these options. Ford includes an AM/FM stereo as standard in the XL trim F-150. An XLT trim features an AM/FM stereo with a single in-dash CD player as standard and offers upgrades such as steering wheel mounted controls and SIRIUS satellite radio. Buyers can only upgrade the XL trim level with a single in-dash CD player. Ford offers additional features depending on the cab size. Buyers can upgrade the crew cab XLT trim with leather-wrapped steering wheel, keypad locking, power adjustable pedals and a rear-mounted camera and sensors that helps drivers park.


The base model XL and XLT trim in regular cab, short bed length and rear-wheel drive rides on 17-inch wheels that take size P235/75SR17 tires. Buyers can only upgrade the XLT trim to 18-inch wheels that take size P265/60SR18 tires. All remaining cab size, bed length and drive configuration XL trim models have 17-inch tires only. Buyers can upgrade certain body and bed length configurations of the XLT trim, such as the crew cab with the 6.5-foot box with 20-inch wheels that take size P275/55SR20 tires.


The XL and XLT trim levels featured side-impact bars, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front-impact airbags for driver and front passenger and side-curtain airbags for both rows of passengers, where applicable by cab size. Ford equips the XLT model with remote-activated perimeter lights that illuminate when a driver approaches, for better safety at night. The XLT trim also included a security system and panic alarm. Buyers can upgrade the XL trim with these features.

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