Several versions of Ford's popular F-150 will see a substantial boost in payload capacity for 2012. The automaker recently published the changes in its 2012 Fleet Preview Guide, supplementing figures which already give Ford the highest payload capacities among half-ton pickups.

The biggest payload increase comes to two-wheel drive Supercrew models equipped with a 6.5-foot bed. For those models, payload capacity jumps from 2,000 pounds to 2,590. The same model's four-wheel drive variant sees payload capacity jump from 1,890 pounds to 2,340 - an increase of nearly 25 percent. Meanwhile, Supercab models with 5.5- and 6.5-foot beds will benefit from an increase of between 10 and 80 pounds, depending on configuration and drivetrain.

While Ford has yet to confirm official reasons behind the heavily increased payload capacities for its Supercrew models, it's likely that the automaker added its heavy-duty payload package, currently found on Regular cab and Supercab models, to the four-door Supercrew. That means the Supercrew now benefits from thicker frame rails, seven-lug wheels, heavy-duty shock absorbers, additional engine cooling and a more aggressive axle ratio. Some buyers will find the package's only downside to be its lack of customization options, since the seven-lug wheels replace a more commonly used six-lug design.

With nearly 50,000 units sold last month and more than 250,000 sales recorded through the first half of 2011, the F-series remains the most popular vehicle in the United States, a title it's held for more than 20 years. Available in regular or heavy-duty guise and in dozens of cab and bed configurations, the F-series owes its popularity to a strong reputation for durability, reliability and enough body style choices to satisfy the tastes of nearly all pickup truck-minded consumers.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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