By KBB.com Editors
It is hard to imagine a more inauspicious time to introduce a new full-size pickup truck – with the possible exception of the Eve of Destruction – but the all-new-for-2009 Ford F-150 is shouldering its way into the U.S. market on a crest of increased capabilities across the board. With credit tight and leasing options for new pickups shrinking, Ford figures that the bulk of its sales will come from buyers who genuinely need the unique aspects full-size pickups offer – big payload and towing capacities among them – instead of those who simply want to be seen in a pickup. With this in mind, Ford engineers built in class-leading capabilities in both those areas while, at the same time, boosting fuel economy across the board. But don't think they skimped on creature comforts, as the F-150 offers increasing levels of luxury from among its 35 variants.
If you want a truck with serious towing and payload capabilities, yet as quiet and comfortable as many luxury sedans, then the F-150 should surely be on your shopping list.
For the short-term the F-150 doesn't offer a diesel option, so if you are a firm believer in diesel you must shop elsewhere, at least until next year.
Though it utilizes a great deal of what has made the F-150 a perennial bestseller, the 2009 model is all new. Key changes include rugged "big-truck" exterior styling, a roomier and more refined interior and a new top-of-the-line Platinum trim level.
Driving Impressions Ford is so proud of the F-150's payload and towing capabilities that it might be natural to assume the new version would "ride like a truck." The surprising news is...it doesn't. Instead, each and every version of the F-150 we've driven offered exceptional ride quality – no shudders, hops or hiccups – and a level of quiet that was startling. Each version also offered ample power, good acceleration and a level of steering feel and control that belied its size and heft. Perhaps most impressive was the towing demonstration in which we hauled 20-foot trailers with absolutely zero drama, thanks in large part to the pickup's trailer sway control, rearview camera and integrated trailer brake controller, a segment first. Our off-road excursions in the well-equipped four-by-four versions of the truck demonstrated it has the goods to get it done in muck and mire as well.
Designed to deal with the awkward and potentially dangerous chore of getting into the pickup truck's bed, the integrated tailgate step scored big. It deploys easily and even offers a safety hand-hold.
Roomy SuperCrew Cab
The cab in the 2009 SuperCrew has been stretched six inches compared to the 2008 model, and the interior is transformed. In fact, the rear-seat legroom is absolutely limousine-like, and the mechanically articulated second-row seat flips up and out of the way, delivering an ample 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats.
The F-150's interior is both attractive and functional. Knowing men's hands would most often be using the controls, Ford designers made the knobs, buttons and switches brawny and put them within easy reach of the driver. The center console was lengthened from the previous version by two inches so it can easily accommodate two or more laptops, and it even has ridges so it can accept file folders. It is just one of more than 30 storage areas built into the interior for things like cell phones and music players. We especially appreciate the dash-mounted USB port and auxiliary music player input, plus the two easily accessible 12-volt outlets – one on the dash and one in the console. Ford also paid special attention to the seats, which are some of the most comfortable in our experience.Exterior
Two generations ago Ford designers penned a swoopy, almost Ferrari-like F-150 that bowled over critics but didn't play as well with truck buyers. In the two generations since, Ford has made the F-150 much huskier, with an imposing front end, strong shoulders and a deep, deep pickup box. The three-bar grille is the most important element of the design and if you're paying attention you can tell an F-150 trim level simply by the grille treatment – ranging from simple in the more work-oriented versions to more luxury-car-like looks for the up-level Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum versions.
The F-150 comes in flavors ranging from plain vanilla all the way to banana split with whipped cream, nuts and sprinkles, but one thing all levels share is a robust, hydro-formed, boxed-section chassis that offers 10-percent greater torsional rigidity while actually being lighter than the previous frame. The level of standard safety equipment is truly outstanding, including AdvanceTrac with RSC traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes and Safety Canopy side-curtain air bags with roll-fold technology for enhanced head protection in rollovers and side impacts. Safety is also enhanced by front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, "smart" airbags and seatbelts and new seats and restraints for superior performance in low-speed rear-end collisions.
For those who really use their pickup trucks as trucks, the F-150 offers some exclusive options that are right on the money. Our two favorites are the integral tailgate step that makes clambering into the box easy and the spring-out box side steps that make reaching into the vehicle's deep cargo box much more convenient. Also earning high marks are the stowable bed extender and beefy cargo management system. And for those who have ever left a tool on a work site, never to see it again, the Tool Link radio-frequency identification tracking system enables you to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools and/or equipment stored in the pickup box. When it's kick-back time, Ford's SYNC, SIRIUS Travel Link and a high-powered Sony brand audio system help you while away the time.
Do you want a gasoline engine or a gasoline engine? Perhaps the only shortfall with the 2009 F-150 is the lack of a diesel option, but the three gasoline engines available – all V8s – offer slightly better fuel economy than before, aided significantly by the addition of six-speed automatic transmissions in many of the truck's trim levels. A 4.6-liter two-valve V8 takes the place of the previous six-cylinder, a 4.6-liter three-valve V8 uses open-valve injection and the 5.4-liter three-valve is E85-capable. Ford promises that diesel and new EcoBoost high-fuel-efficiency engines will be available in the 2010 model year.
4.6-liter V8 (2-valve)
248 horsepower @ 4750 rpm
294 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
4.6-liter V8 (3-valve)
292 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
320 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)
5.4-liter V8 (3-valve)
320 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD, Gasoline), 10/14 (2WD, E85), 14/18 (4WD, Gasoline), 10/13 (4WD, E85)
By Hoppy on Sunday, July 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It was priced well below Kelly Book value."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am very pleased with this vehicle. It looks great, handles like a dream and gives a very smooth ride. It has a beautiful leather interior and all the options."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Badlandsbro on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mileage & power , super solid, quite,great seats"
Cons: "Sync system didn't work for my cell phone"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 6th new pickup and is by far and away the best I have ever had or rode in. Mine is a King Ranch with the 5.0 v8. Mileage is 17 around town to 19-20 on the hwy. I love the 5.0 coyote and would not trade it for the Eco-boost. I have driven both and think that the Eco-boost is primary job is for towing. Super quite truck that has to be driven to be believe. Ford got it right with this one. the only con I have had is the Sync system does not work with my last 2 cell phones. Most of my friends have switched over to Fords now."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By RedFred on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drive train great for traveling have to explain"
Cons: "20-22 miles to a gallon"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This truck has corhart seat covers from day one off the lot, windshield sun protector since day one complete plywood floor in back bed, with carpet, no bed liner, but has tailgate protector, and a Leer model 122 paint matching cap bought new completely seals all water and dirt out with sliding side windows. The oil has been changed by me every 5000 miles with Mobile 1 synthetic oil. Just had the truck at the dealership for transmission oil change and check up. I bought this truck to travel, but with my disability it is getting harder and harder for me and need to sell it. I really love the truck and hate to get rid of it !"
By renegade on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive! great in the snow !~ NY"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great truck! lariat chrome ed. every option ... the 5.0 is kick-ax ... have had lots of trucks in the 5.4 BUT the 5.0 puts them to shame~!"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By 76_umatt on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Hard to beat!"
Cons: "These trucks can cost more due to the options"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 2010 is a great truck! Plenty of room inside for the family. My 95 F150 was a Lightning (i loved it, but needed more cab room) and I had zero issues with it. The 2010 costs more but has so many more features: more power, more seating, Sync system (unbelievable!), better ride. Overall this truck is everything i could ask for!"
By Iknowvehicles on Monday, July 07, 2014
I owned and sold this caroverall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Starts and drives."
Cons: "almost everything"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"It starts and drives, but the benefits kinda end there. I don't know where to start. First I'll mention that it is in my best interest that these trucks are good, quality, useable trucks. I work for someone that has a large stake in these trucks. I mean really large, but alas we are consumers of these trucks. Here's the truth. The visibility is horrible in any direction that isn't straight ahead or out the driver's window. You cannot look over your shoulder for traffic, or backing out of parking spaces. Well you can look, but all you see is the wall behind the side window, and headrests. Folding the center seat down is nearly impossible from the driver's seat. If you have long arms and large hands like I do, it can be done, but you just might dislocate your shoulder. The seat folds down to be an arm rest that is a different height from the arm rest on the door. So if you're driving far, make an appointment with a chiropractor. The lever that you pull to adjust the seatback is nearly impossible to get your hand on too. You have to reach down and back, and lock your elbow to reach it, then try to adjust the seat while it's against your locked elbow. The climate control is just a big clutter of buttons and knobs. The blower fan has four settings: #1 barely moving, #2 I can feel it, #3 It's starting to work, and #4 put on motorcycle goggles and wear hearing protection, because that sucker is obnoxious. The doors dent in if the wind blows too hard on them. Well not really, but I can push them in more than an inch with two fingers. The shifter detents are all wrong, where you have to pull to get from drive to neutral, which results in going straight to reverse or park most of the time. What ever happened to being able to safely and easily slip from drive to neutral for convenience or safety? The crank window model has the window crank between the seat and the door, so you basically have to open the door to be able to crank the window, unless your arm is outfitted with a hook or something. I've looked at a LOT of these trucks (literally hundreds), and with the vast majority of them, the body line from the bed doesn't line up with the cab. It's either left or right of center by about 3/4 of an inch, sometimes more. I've seen many of them with only 3-10,000 miles on them where the steering column is scraping against the steering wheel when you turn. When you drive over bumps, the whole truck shudders and shakes, and the empty seats shake around. The cup holders are almost not useable. If you have someone in the center seat, of course they're not useable at all. This new turn signal design that's being used is just downright dangerous. Nobody should be changing lanes with only 3 flashes (it automatically flashes 3 times when you just bump it part way), but you can hold the lever just like we have been doing for 50 years to get the 5 or 6 flashes needed to sensibly change lanes. Where it gets bad is cornering. You push it all the way, the lever returns all the way to center, of course the signal stays on. You push it in any direction to turn it off. If you make a corner, then need to make another corner, or change lanes to get into position to make another corner, you'll just end up with no signals, or no way to signal the right direction at the right time. It's horrible. It's no wonder nobody signals. Overall, these things are awful failures of engineering."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful