Ford’s EcoBoost Meets Cruiser RV’s Eco-Friendly Fun Finder X-214WSD
Looking to downsize your fuel costs without downgrading your camping experience? The 2011 Ford F-150 is creating a real buzz with the addition of a new high-tech V6 engine incorporating diesel engine tech like turbo-charging and direct fuel injection. This gas-burning 3.5-liter Ti-VCT power plant uses twin turbochargers to produce an impressive 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque at 2500 — promising 16 mpg in the city, and 22 on the highway. Ninety percent of that healthy torque figure is delivered starting as low as 1,700 rpm and continues to 5,000 rpm. The 2011 F-150 EcoBoost also boasts a maximum trailer weight rating of 11,300, which sounds perfect for towing.
Aside from inspiring power numbers, the new F-150 EcoBoost also delivers a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment for each engine choice. The SR80 six-speed automatic transmission features SelectShift, which makes it possible for the driver to engage the shift lever into the “M” position for manual mode and then push a “+” button for upshifts or a “-” button for downshifts to choose the most appropriate gear for the driving situation. The new six-speed automatic also offers progressive range select, allowing upper gears to be locked out while towing on steep grades, and helping to keep downhill speeds under control. In addition, the transmission features a wider ratio span for a lower final drive ratio and a double-overdrive gear, both helping to further improve overall fuel economy.
Across the F-150 line, more interior content is available, and the new 4.2-inch LCD message center and larger in-mirror rearview camera were two of our favorite new features. Navigating through the extensive driver and vehicle information menu is easily accomplished through manipulating a button with your thumb on the steering wheel. The screen on the rearview camera can be zoomed in — helpful for close-up jobs like hitching up a trailer. Best of all the interior content, though, might be the integrated trailer brake controller that made it’s way down to the F-150 from the Super Duty. It’s controlled through the new 4.2-inch LCD productivity screen that is smack dab in the center of the driver’s console. Along with trip data, fuel economy and other truck apps such as the tire pressure monitoring system, drivers can name and change a trailer in order to track mileage and store gain settings via the trailer brake controller on the instrument panel, delete trailers, alter gain settings, and choose a type of trailer connected and go through a connection checklist.
While certainly not pushing the truck to its limit, the Cruiser RV Fun Finder X-214 WSD would give us an idea of how the new Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost would perform when tasked with towing a moderate-sized (24-feet overall; about 5,000 pounds wet) Cruiser RV trailer on the highways and through the winding mountain roads of Southern California.
The new F-150 offers an IFS front end and a live axle with leaf springs at the rear end. From the technology side comes AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, in addition to the newly added Trailer Sway Control system, another nice new feature handed down from its big brother Super Duty series. The mix created a well-controlled ride quality that kept us comfortable and secure. We did wish for better side mirrors — the one thing missing from big brother. However, overall visibility was good, and towing ride and handling quality were outstanding, allowing us to haul the trailer at highway speeds on any road without any sign of sway or untoward behavior.
On long, flat highway stretches, the truck immediately settled down into sixth gear and cruised at 55 mph at around 1700 rpm. But we suspected from the get-go that the stellar non-towing fuel mileage averages we had been achieving would diminish, and it did to a certain and justifiable point, especially so when we were confronted by hills. Because the turbos are so active during acceleration under a heavy load, and especially when climbing, much more fuel was being consumed.
It had no trouble pulling the hills, stayed in fourth gear in tow/haul mode and made sport of slower traffic. The truck is a hot rod when unbuckled from the trailer and with only slightly more than two tons on its tail it still didn’t feel chained down. That’s not to say we were rambunctious on the road, but we could really move if we needed to. It would have done that all day long if it had not been for the truck’s 26-gallon fuel capacity. At the levels of fuel consumption we were seeing, a long trip towing, especially with a heavier trailer (this truck is rated to tow more than twice what we were hauling), would have more pit stops involved than we would like to deal with. A 36-gallon tank is available in some 2011 F-150 models, but not with the EcoBoost engine.
The 2011 Ford F-150 powered by the 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine offers a powerful, yet fuel-efficient option for those looking for a new way to achieve the best of both worlds. In our opinion it is designed to best serve the weekend towing enthusiast, delivering good gas mileage when unloaded and towing power when needed.
Cruiser RV has come on strong in the lightweight travel trailer market bursting with product built with aluminum frames and laminated fiberglass sidewall construction offering floorplans and sizes to fit every budget and need. We found the Fun Finder X line especially attractive because of its sleek and sturdy fully laminated fiberglass aluminum sides, bellies and roofs, gelcoated fiberglass front caps and full LED exterior lighting packages. Every Fun Finder X runs on a Dexter EZ-Flex Rubber Equalizer suspension system and the series offers light and easy towing weights, many within half-ton vehicle capacities, and a multitude of family friendly floorplans to choose from.
The Fun Finder X-214WSD is one of the most popular in the line and that’s easy to understand why. It offers a two-room split within its modest size without giving up the feeling of room. This is accomplished through the use of a new and surprisingly large (40 by 80 inches) and comfortable (5-inch thick seat cushions) convertible dinette lounge mounted in the flush floor slideout that moves a full 3 feet when outstretched. Another aspect of the X-214WSD that keeps it feeling open is the amount of space devoted to windows. The largest of the three dinette windows alone stretches from the top of the seat cushion to the ceiling. A center pillar entertainment center that separates the front master bedroom with the help of two curtains, the unique hooked galley design meant to offer generous counter and cabinet space with large-capacity appliances, and a large rear dry bath complete the layout.
Stocking the galley is a stainless steel three-burner stovetop and oven with a power hood and light, and a Dometic 6-cubic-foot refrigerator, all set in a huge collection of dark cherry glazed cabinets with a gigantic pantry across the aisle. Our unit also included the optional convection microwave oven, which came in handy for late-night popcorn. The double stainless steel sink with a gooseneck faucet is sunk into the trailer’s large kitchen laminate countertop, and although the tipped-out shape is odd when first encountered, it provides a surprisingly large and easy-to-reach working space in the galley, and the counter material and pattern was very attractive. In addition to traditional indoor cooking, the trailer features a popular item these days — an outdoor BBQ that can be mounted to the side of the trailer just to the rear of the door. There’s a quick-disconnect LP source near the frame below the mount for the BBQ on the side of the trailer. It’s great for summertime camping and grilling when you want to keep smoke and odors outside of the trailer.
We found the dinette almost excessively comfortable and readily available to handle a quartet for meals, although it seems as if we are always wishing for a larger tabletop in compact or mid-sized trailers. However, when the TV in the mid-coach entertainment center pillar had been cantilevered out into position to be viewed from the lounge, we also discovered that it was actually more comfortable to make the dinette down into a bed and use a pile of pillows to prop ourselves up to watch TV for any real length of time.
The private rear bathroom spreads from side to side and is reasonably equipped for a trailer of this size. It offered a small lavvy sink with a mirrored medicine cabinet, a very generous linen cabinet beside it and storage cabinets below. A marine-style flush toilet and a glass-sided, self-enclosed shower stall are also included. The shower just barely fit a 6-foot, 2-inch tall person standing.
The windows are huge, allowing plenty of light in during the day, so it was a great place to lounge and read curled up with a book away from everyone else. There’s plenty of overhead cabinet space and wardrobes on the sides for storage of linens and clothing. And gobs more space for cargo of any type under the lift-up 60 by 74-inch queen size bed, which by the way is firm, but very comfortable.
However, a 6-foot 2-inch person can’t stretch out straight on said mattress between the room divider entertainment center pillar and the front wall of the trailer, so if you sleep on your back like I do you’ll have to sleep diagonally across the mattress, which may not go well with the spouse. You’ll also have to rig up your own TV, as the entertainment center is one-sided and does not swivel around for Mom and Dad to enjoy once they have retreated to the comforts of the master bedroom.
Overall, we liked the Cruiser RV Fun Finder X-214WSD and it’s light enough that it can be towed with half-ton-capacity vehicles. It is well appointed for a trailer of its size and price bracket, and there’s room to sleep a family of four or five, depending on the size and age of the kids. And like many trending toward maintaining a higher standard, the lightweight Fun Finder X trailers from Cruiser RV are TRA-certified Green and met a certain level of ecological construction efficiency and sustainable materials use standards.