Best friends forever: Ford F-150 and the hard-core trucker

MOTOR MATTERS KEANE ON WHEELS BY CONNIE KEANE

The all-new Ford F-150 pickup — just fresh out of the gate for 2009 — is already hauling a truck load of awards.
The F-150 has even been named Truck of the Year by one noted magazine publication — Motor Trend. The exhaustive list of accolades is growing by the day and comes from other well-respected automotive authorities, including Kelly Blue Book, Popular Mechanics and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. What makes the 2009 F-150 so deserving of recognition? It’s a Ford truck.
There is no question the F-Series has been a best-seller for three decades — and the automaker is confident the all-new truck will extend the leadership streak. In both the light-duty and heavy-duty pickup segments, the core trucker is brand loyal to Ford. I know. I’ve got a Ford man in the family. He’s a hard-working farmer in New Jersey. (Yes, in addition to toll roads Jersey has farms — that’s why it’s called the Garden State). Ever since my brother-in-law started driving in 1975 he has depended on Ford trucks to earn his living — everything from the heavy-duty 350s to 550s.
Since 1948 there have been millions of people across the United States just like him: the core truckers needing a working pickup who will only buy American. In fact, Ford executives report that before beginning the design and execution of the new 2009 truck, they went to the ranches, job sites and homes of the people who use Ford trucks for their everyday lives to talk about what these owners want in their next truck.
The automaker boasts that its all-new 2009 F-150 has a class-leading towing ability of 11,300 pounds and a cargo-carrying rating of 3,030 pounds.

2009 Ford F-150

Improvements to the chassis help with added torsional rigidity and deliver the additional payload and towing abilities. There’s a more comprehensive standard safety equipment package, plus revised use of space with more than 30 storage spaces for today’s modern business amenities, such as laptop computers, cellphones and MP3s.
The 2009 Ford F-150 comes in three cab styles: Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew; in 6.5-, 5.5- and 8-foot boxes; in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations; in three V-8 powertrain options. Base prices for the 2009 F-150 start at $21,095.
I drove the 4×4 SuperCrew with a seating capacity of 5 to 6 passengers and a starting price of $37,990. Optional upgrades, such as the Sony navigation system, power moonroof, remote start and leather-trimmed captain’s chairs brought the out-the-door ticket to $46,770, including a $1,000 manufacturer discount.
The engine on the light-duty SuperCrew was the powerful 24-valve 5.4-liter Triton V-8 mated to a six-speed automatic with a delivery output of 320 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The EPA mileage per gallon ratings were 14/18. The F-150 truck had a fuel capacity of 36 gallons.
Additional engine choices this year are the 16-valve, 4.6-liter 248-hp V-8 linked to 4-speed automatic with 294 lb.-ft. of torque; and the 24-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 coupled to a six-speed automatic with horsepower ratings of 292 and torque of 320 lb.-ft.
Ease of use features include a capless fuel filler that automatically seals shut to reduce fueling emissions; a tailgate step that supports 300 pounds and allows the buyer to easily access the cargo bed with a integrated ladder rather than hop up into the truck’s bed. It’s these kinds of features that are the result of conversations Ford has had with its owners. It’s this kind of listening that makes Ford truck an American icon.
Send e-mail to keane@motormatters.biz

Next week: 2009 Toyota Venza
Next week 3-Pack: 2009 Chevrolet Malibu

F-150_action profile

SPECIFICATIONS
2009 FORD F-150 SUPERCREW LARIAT
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger 4×4 full-size pickup
BASE PRICE___________________ $37,990 (as tested: $46,745)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 24-valve SOHC V-8 w/SMPFI
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 5.4-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 320 at 5000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 390 at 3500 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 145 in.
TRACK (front/rear)___________ 67/67 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 232 in.
OVERALL WIDTH________________ 79 in.
HEIGHT_______________________ 76 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 47 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 5,546 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 36 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 14 mpg city, 18 mpg highway

Spare Parts
2010 CADILLAC WAGON: Cadillac’s all-new 2010 CTS Sport Wagon is a car intended to connect with the changing priorities of luxury consumers. Cadillac’s first-ever U.S. wagon is a progressive take on the classic wagon body style that delivers significant functionality and fuel efficiency, including up to an estimated 28 mpg highway. The CTS Sport Wagon is nearly the same size as the CTS sport sedan, although it nearly doubles its carrying capacity, with a generous cargo area of 25 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Production begins this spring.
2010 CHEVY EQUINOX: The all-new 2010 Equinox will feature a new, 2.4L direct injection engine helps the Equinox deliver expected best-in-segment estimated highway fuel economy of 30 mpg — a 25-percent improvement over the previous model. Chevrolet expects nearly two-thirds of customers will choose the efficient, 2.4L engine. The 2010 Equinox draws its exterior design inspiration from the Chevrolet Malibu and Traverse crossover. The 2010 Equinox goes on sale in mid-2009.
2009 SUBARU FORESTER: The all-new 2009 Subaru Forester is a bolder, more SUV-like design and it makes a major leap in safety technology, comfort, refinement and driving dynamics. Forester is built on an all-new platform featuring a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase (now 103.0 inches) that improves ride and interior space, especially rear seat legroom. The new platform improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform for crisper handling. Starting price: $19,995
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

F-150_action