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 Big Hickory on Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun,tough,great looking,"
Cons: "Not great on gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm not a Ford person,I'm not a Chevy person,I'm not a Dodge person. All I knew is that I wanted a nice truck for my hard earned money, so I test drove a top of the line Chevy,Dodge and the F-150 . The interior and amenities of the F-150 were outstanding in every way...the Ford just felt better, more comfortable,stronger, safer. I got out after the test drive and just knew that I had to have my 2013 Ford F-150 lariat 4x4. This week I will have owned my truck for about a year and am sure happy with the decision I made."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By possum on Monday, January 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "6.2L and turns 1750 RPM at 65MPH w/4;10 gearing"
Cons: "Shocks are $6000. Tires are pricey."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Through my 41 years of driving, I have never owned a vehicle that has turned more heads then this Raptor has! And I have had some very fine cars, motorcycles and boats in my day."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Gary on Friday, January 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"When Ford introduced the F-150 Tremor as a 1 off model year special truck, it was trying to tie itself to the sport truck market of a decade ago (The F-150 lightning). While this truck is powered by a very agile 3.5L Ecoboost, with respectable 1/4 mile times and a 4.10 drive ratio, the truck seems to be more aligned to folks thinking it is a Baby Raptor. Some of the design makes it feel more raptor than Lightning. I have had this truck for 3 months, I enjoy it, get many compliments on it, but found it lost major value and fast ($6 sticker, current value $33,000. Seems strange for a very rare truck. Only 606 Tremors were produced, 404 of those were 2 wheel drive models, the remaining 202 are 4WD. Mine is one of the 4WD models. This truck uses the FX4 package but beefs up the rear axle, and shortens the passenger capacity. The 2 person Regular cab can only be bought through the Tremor Package from the FX4 line up. This truck drives nice, rides smooth and gets through the tough stuff, plus the towing capacity is over 9500lbs (Not bad for a V6). You'll have no problem turning under 14.0 1/4 miles with some slight tweaking of the ECM.Livernois makes tunes for this truck. Pros: It goes fast looks great, the interior is nicely designed and laid out and all the features are within arms reach. Cons: Off the dealer lot I had a blown speaker, and the Remote start stopped working after a week due to a bad fob. Couple that with a massive loss in value as noted earlier. While I did not pay sticker, the loss of 13k from sticker to KBB trade-in is huge, even for a rare truck, which is a shame. I think sticker shock will keeps folks away and truck enthusiasts will want one just for the sport truck factor but are they willing to pay top dollar for a rare truck."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Scotty on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great mileage, ride & power , fit & finish- great"
Cons: "King Ranch option is high priced. but worth it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Really love this truck , as with the 5.0 V8. it has great power and sound , mileage is good and I get a real life 17-19mpg in city or hwy. very quite & smooth ride. No problems what so ever in 30,000 miles. The only thing I do not care for is the traction control over ride - in the fact it defaults back to ON when ever the truck is shut off. I feel this truck is superior to all others on the market. I love the 5.0 V8 and will stay with that engine in my next one. Finish is perfect . It is what to expect in a truck that coast this much. Really love the exhaust note- Ford did their homework on this one."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By dennis on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,900overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"within 2 months car had to be jumpstarted 3 times . battery replaced . transmission moaned from rev to drive dealer said wait tell it repeats found out tsb on trans fixed problem. now i have a noise from inside door when opening and closing"
13 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Joe on Monday, January 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price and fun to drive"
Cons: "None at this time"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The truck is very comfortable, it handles well and the gas mileage is actually better than advertised even when I pull a trailer with 3k lbs loaded. I did get the 5.0 engine and talking to to several friends and others with the eco boost v6 they say the 5.0 performs better. I never drove the eco boost so I don't know this for fact. If I ever trade it, it will be for another Ford with the 5.0. Definitely a great truck."
21 people out of 45 found this review helpful