Ford’s F-150 has been the best-selling pickup truck in America for over 30 years (if you don’t combine GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado sales). There is a reason why Americans return to this truck year after year, decade after decade: it works. While Dodge and Chevrolet battle constantly for bragging rights in the areas of towing, payload or horsepower, the truth is that all three manufacturers produce pretty similar trucks when it comes to overall capabilities.
With the F-150, there are a number of little features that help solidify its strong sales, like the Sync infotainment system or retractable rear side windows on the SuperCab. Still, if the F-150 does have one shortcoming, it’s the lack of a diesel engine option.
Why you want it
The 2009 F-150 saw a complete redesign that brought bold styling, a new range of more efficient engines and much more content. The F-150’s capable engine choices include three V8s: a 248-horsepower 4.6-liter, 292-hp 4.6-liter with three valves per cylinder (as opposed to two) and a 320-hp 5.4-liter.
Available in Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew, with long or short beds covering nine different models ranging from basic work truck to high-end boulevard cruiser, there’s an F-150 to suit just about every need. Those who require maximum towing will find Regular Cab models with the 5.4-liter V8 can tow up to 11,300 pounds and carry a maximum payload of 3,030 pounds.
The F-150 also has a number of special features, such as a retractable step ladder built into the tailgate, Trailer Sway Control and Integrated Ford Work Solutions, a computerized option that can keep track of tools, track the vehicle’s location and even connect to the office via the internet.
Notable features and options
With so many models and trims, it’s impossible to cover every F150 feature in a couple of paragraphs. The most basic versions include air conditioning, removable locking tailgate with lift assist, a tilt-adjust steering wheel, and AM/FM stereo. Standard safety features include Advance-Trac with Roll Stability Control, Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes.
With models ranging from the base XL, to the well-equipped Lariat, to the ultra-plush Platinum and Harley-Davidson editions, the number of options can become overwhelming. F-150s can be equipped with upgrades such as a sliding rear window with defroster, the Sync system, Bluetooth, bucket seats with center console and a back-up camera. If money is no matter, upper-end trims offer navigation, leather-covered heated seats, rear-seat DVD entertainment systems, upgraded suspensions and off-road kits, bed liner and bed tie-down extensions, retractable side-steps and chrome everything.
2009: New-model F-150 debuts with improved engines, a six-speed automatic transmission, new styling inside and out, and a longer list of available equipment.
2010: All but the base XL receive the MyKey programmable key fob as part of their standard equipment list. MyKey allows the owner to limit such areas as radio volume and top speed, adding a little peace of mind for parents whose teens borrow the family truck. King Ranch and Platinum models gain a Sony six-disc CD changer, power sliding rear window and heated rear seats.
Engines and performance
While the 4.6-liter V8s are adequate for Regular Cab models that do light towing and hauling, the best engine for the F-150 is the 5.4-liter V8. This powerplant is teamed to a six-speed automatic transmission and has the torque necessary to pull, haul and perform passing maneuvers with confidence.
Ride and handling are remarkably stable for such a heavy and tall vehicle, and the steering and braking feel are also among the best. Ford’s standard AdvanceTrac stability and traction control is one reason why this F-150 outperforms trucks of old. Advanced electronics monitor steering wheel position, speed and vehicle direction. If the truck begins to fishtail or plow out, the system employs the brakes selectively and cuts the throttle until the vehicle is brought back in line with the intended course.
Unlike other systems, Ford’s Roll Stability Control can also detect when a roll-over is probable and intervene to bring the truck back to a safe position. The system engages automatically when the vehicle is started, but can be switched off via a dash-mounted button.
Recalls, safety ratings and warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2009 to 2010 Ford F-150:
2009: Possible defective brake light switch that may cause a delay in illumination.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety-wise, the F-150 earns the government’s top rating of five stars in its front and side impact crash tests. But in the rollover roof strength test, the 4x2 model earns only four out of five and the 4x4 model gets three. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2009 to 2010 Ford F-150 its highest rating of Good in the frontal offset and side-impact crash tests.
The F-150 has a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition to the new vehicle warranty, second owners can purchase extended coverage when they buy from a Certified Pre-Owned Ford dealership. CPO vehicles come with a 169-point inspection and a six-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty starting from the time the vehicle entered service.
Word on the web
We surfed the web to see what consumer groups and customers had to say about the 2009 to 2010 Ford F-150. Consumer Reports shows high owner satisfaction, but only minimal returns on investment with average depreciation rates. Sites like FordF150online.com and Ford-trucks.com are littered with owner praise, although there were some gripes about the trucks’ large turning radius, somewhat noisy engine (4.6-liter) and tall side bed walls.
Auto Trader recommendations
Of the nine different models to choose from, the XLT and Lariat offer the most features for the money. The SuperCrew has a roomy interior and versatile cab, although the smaller SuperCab is more than acceptable. Also look for a four-wheel-drive model for its ability go off-road and through inclement weather. For those wanting premium features in a workaholic truck, look to the King Ranch, Platinum or Harley-Davidson editions.
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