On Sale: Fall 2008
Expected Pricing: $19,000-$40,000

The 2009 Ford F-150 pickup will offer a slew of useful new features and technologies for towing and hauling along with fresh new styling throughout. The 2009 F-150 goes on sale fall 2008.

The 2009 F-150 boasts a tough new exterior, with a bigger and brawnier grille and fatter fenders designed to make the wheels look larger. A small spoiler-like lip on the rear tailgate gives the rear an unusual look and is designed to improve aerodynamics.

Underneath, a new chassis features a stronger frame for more torsional rigidity. Ford says it will offer improved towing and hauling capability along with increased durability and safety.

Towing is made easier with the addition of an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller along with a Trailer Sway Control system that ties into the ABS and Roll Stability Control to tame swaying trailers through application of the brakes to individual wheels. A Rearview Camera makes hitching up much easier.

A new, built-in step in the rear tailgate allows easy access to the bed from the rear. First seen on the latest Super Duty models, the step is optional on all levels of F-150 trim and features a hand hold that flips up, making climbing up even easier. When not being used, the step slides into the tailgate hiding it from sight.

A new, foot-operated side step, located just behind the cab on each side, allows easy access into the bed, important with the high-sided bed.

We tried these features out when the truck was revealed at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January and came away impressed.

Ford will offer numerous accessories to help carry and secure stuff in the bed. These include cleats designed to withstand 600 pounds of force. A track system allows installation of movable bed dividers and storage bins. And a new bed extender snaps apart and stows to the sides and out of the way when not in use.

The 2009 F-150 interior has been improved with better finishes on surfaces yet it retains a rugged feel with decent sized spaces and knobs for people who might use the truck for work.

The crew cab model is six inches longer than before and the B-pillar has been moved back six inches giving easier access to the front seats and better sideways viewing for the driver while allowing much more room inside for rear seat passengers.

The rear seats fold up out of the way to reveal a flat floor that can hold over 57 cubic feet of cargo. This was demonstrated by sliding a new 50-inch flat-panel television behind the front seats.

All 2009 F-150 models will come with a V8 engine: a 4.6-liter 2-valve V8, a 4.6-liter 3-valve V8, and a 5.4-liter 3-valve Triton V8. The engines have been tuned to produce more power yet deliver improved fuel economy, Ford says. The 5.4-liter is capable of running E85 ethanol. A V6 will not be offered, but Ford says the base 4.6-liter V8 matches the fuel economy of the outgoing V6. All models get a six-speed automatic transmission with a deceleration fuel cut-off system for added economy.

Diesel and an EcoBoost gas turbo direct injection engines are planned for the F-150 in 2010.

High tech electronic options include Ford's highly regarded Sync audio system and Sirius satellite radio.

Safety has not been forgotten. The list reads more like that from a luxury sedan than a traditional work truck. Rollover curtain airbags as well as individual seat side airbags are standard on all models. Traction control with a trailer sway control system is standard on all models. It works in conjunction with ABS and is most effective with compatible trailer brakes, if fitted.

There will be an even greater number of choices of bed lengths, cab size, drivetrains and engines, etc to choose from. There are 11 choices of wheels, for example. The model names start with the base XL, and progress through STX, XLT, FX4, Lariat, King Ranch to the new Platinum model. Prices are likely to start at around $19,000 for a base XL and go above $40,000 for a fully laden top-of-the line Platinum model.

The stakes are high for Ford. The Ford F-series pickup continues to be the best selling pickup in America after 31 straight years, yet the competition is closing the sales gap. The Chevy Silverado was redesigned for 2007 and is right behind the F-150 in popularity, Toyota has made inroads with its new, full-size 2008 Tundra, and Dodge is redesigning the Ram for 2009.



Copyright © 1994-2007 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

New Car Test Drive

Copyright © 1994-2009 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

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