2009 Ford F-150 4X4 SuperCrew Review


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THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Ford F-150 4X4 Supercrew
Engine: 5.4-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 320 hp @ 5,000 rpm/390 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 144.5 in.
Length/Width/Height: 231.7 x 78.9 x 76.2 in.
Tires: LT225/65R78
Cargo volume: 57.6 cu. ft. behind front seats
Fuel economy: 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 36 gal
Sticker: $42,355 (includes $975 destination and delivery charge and $6,040 in options)
The Bottom Line: There's a reason the F-150 has been such a big seller for Ford; it's big, practical, powerful and it has a ton of features to make it interesting to people who might not normally think of a pickup truck. The redesign is a more masculine design that some previous redesigns, but it's still a man's vehicle.

Since I spend most of my life driving sedans and, occasionally, SUVs and, even more occasionally, large SUVs, it came as somewhat of a shock when I first approached the Ford F-150. This is a full-size pickup truck with all its attributes and foibles. Not only is it a full-size truck, but our tester was the Supercrew version with a full back seat that would accommodate most respectable basketball players. Throw in a standard cargo bed and we have a truck that is eight inches short of being 20 feet long.

Consequently, I had the standard problems with a large vehicle. I kept leaving either the nose or tail sticking out of the parking space when I parked. Don't even think of parallel parking! That isn't totally fair, because there is a rear view camera that gives you a good idea of where the back end of the truck is, I just didn't have the nerve to try it.

Our tester didn't have a navigation system and the screen that usually accompanies nav systems, so the rear camera "readout" was in the left of the inside rearview mirror. that's a sensible location for this screen (it's invisible when the camera is off), and the image, though small, is perfectly clear.

I mentioned that this was a Supercrew. Rear seat comfort is excellent - better than in most limousines. Three passengers can sit back there in comfort with extraordinary legroom. The floor is flat, so the center passenger is just as comfortable as the two outside passengers.

Under the hood is a 5.4-liter V8 that delivers 320 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. That's more than enough for the truck, a full cargo bed, and whatever you may choose to tow. And you can tow as much as 11,200 pounds, which is a pretty decent sized boat or trailer. Power reaches the wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The biggest test we gave the F-150 was several trips to the recycling center to get rid of tree branches and to pick up mulch. On our long trip we put our suitcases inside the cab and cargo in the back. I would have appreciated to optional side step to make access to the cargo box easier.

I liked the interior of the F-150 (and in fact missed it when the next car was delivered). For example, the console has been lengthened and can store two laptop computers. Special ridges are molded into the edges of the console bin to accommodate file folders.

Entry is aided by a running board and assist handles on three doors. The driver must use the steering wheel to get in. While entry might be a problem for senior citizens, we found it to be relatively easy once we learned how to do it.

All in all, there are more than 30 storage areas built into the interior, ranging from a bin on the top of the instrument panel to a number of small spaces designed to accommodate objects like cell phones, MP3 players, PDAs and gate access cards.

A new Ford feature this year that is found on the F-150 and some sedans is the capless fuel filler system. Forget the gas cap (and I have done that too often to remember). The fuel tank has a self-sealing feature. Put the fuel filler in, fill up, and remove it with no cap to worry about.

Sadly (to a car person) the F-150 rides like a truck (what did you expect?). The ride is rough, but with all the interior space it isn't uncomfortable. We found that even after a long ride there were no painful backaches.

With the leather seats, the F-150 can easily be a country club "car" on the weekend and a workhorse truck during the week. I'm certain that it could carry enough golf bags in the bed to accommodate the foursome sitting in comfort inside and anyone else whose car might be too small for bags.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate

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