The Ford F-150 has been the best selling truck in America for 31 years. So, even if the popularity of full-size pickups has taken a beating from erratic gas prices, there remains an intense loyal following for the F-series. That makes the introduction of a new F-150 a major event. But, is it major enough to stem the slide in pickup sales?
To help stabilize full-size pickup truck sales, the new 2009 Ford F-150 comes out of the gate with more style, features, and capabilities than ever before.
Gone is the utilitarian look of pickups of the past. The new F-150 is clad in ever bolder sheet metal, headed by a tough SuperDuty side port grill, large jeweled headlamps, and chiseled power dome hood.
There are still three four-door cab styles: Regular, extended SuperCab, and this SuperCrew crew cab. Box lengths include 5-and-a-half-foot, 6-and-a half-foot, and 8-foot styleside, and a 6-and-a-half foot flareside, with wheels from 17-inch steel to 20-inch alloys.
Lighter but stiffer fully-boxed frames range between 126 to 163 inches in wheelbase. Suspensions are conventional, coil-over-shock, double-wishbones up front, and a Hotchkiss solid-axle with extra-long leaf springs out back. Payload tops out at over 3,000 pounds.
Smart cargo management factory options include a new pickup box side step and the integrated fold-out tailgate step first seen on the SuperDuty.
The new F-150 ups power too. Gone is the base 4.2 V6, replaced by the mid-range 248-horsepower 4.6-liter V8. Compared to the V6, it has 23% more power and the same fuel economy.
Adding 3-valve per cylinder heads is a 292-horsepower 4.6-liter V8. The top V8 remains a flex-fuel capable 5.4-liter rated at 320 horsepower, a bump of 20, and 390 pound-feet of torque. In both 2- and 4-wheel drive, transmissions are all tow/haul mode automatics, a 4-speed for the base 4.6, and six speeds for the three-valve motors.
Every cab style is now capable of 11,000 pounds of towing with top notch control. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control, and four-channel ABS are all standard. An integrated trailer brake controller and rear camera are optional.
Historically the F-150 has defined the serious pickup. Its ride and handling attitude is firm, solid, with light steering that never kicks back. In a recent comparison of new half-tons, we found some rivals rode better, and had more reserve power. Yet on and off road the F-150 is so well rounded it can do just about anything you need a truck for, very well. As for the new F-150, you can add amazingly quiet to its long list of accolades.
It’s amazingly impressive inside. The last gen F-150 startled the industry with its refinement. The new instrument panel is an even better blend of style and ergonomics.
The larger center console has enough room for two laptops.
Seats look better and feel better. You can order them heated and cooled, with upgraded occupant protection from standard side curtain airbags.
Options abound, including the Ford Sync voice system, a 700-watt Sony stereo, and navigation.
With 6-inches added to its cab length, the SuperCrew’s rear seat is more inviting than ever. Plus, the split flip up bench also provides more covered cargo space than before.
For fill ups, there’s Ford’s EasyFuel capless gas filler. As for how much gas, best Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the rear-drive F-150 are 15 city/21 highway on regular grade. The Energy Impact Score is still a hefty 20.1 barrels of oil consumed per year.
With seven trim levels and 35 configurations, F-150 prices span a wide range from $22,070 for the base Regular Cab, to $26,565 for the base SuperCab, and $29,975 for the base SuperCrew. But, in the new Platinum trim, it can easily push $50,000.
The Ford F-150 has been the driving force behind the popularity of pickup trucks for over three decades. The 2009 edition provides a bigger head of steam than ever before. Even if unstable gas prices have cost pickups some fans, there are still millions more that will find this new truck simply irresistible.
Engine: Base 4.6-Liter V8
EPA: 15 MPG City/ 21 MPG Highway
Energy Impact: 20.1 Barrels Oil/Yr