Ford's F-150 pickup has been the best-selling truck in America for decades and with good reason. The F-150 is versatile, designed to perform well on- and off-road, comes with a variety of powerplants, is offered in a number of cab configurations, and is stylish enough to be found in all the best places. Last year, the '01 F-150 SuperCrew was introduced offering four fullsize doors and a full rear seat for added interior comfort and cargo-carrying versatility.
For 2002, the SuperCrew has an available Off-Road Package, dubbed the FX4. The increased off-road worthiness this package offers, combined with the SuperCrew's roominess and creature comforts, results in a vehicle that is as comfortable as it is capable
The FX4 Off-Road Package includes some beefed-up suspension mods, which results in a higher ground clearance, some bigger wheels and tires, and a few styling cues. Rolling stock consists of 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with exposed lugs wrapped by P265/70R17 rubber. Rancho shocks give the F-150 a bit more lift and off-road toughness, as does the addition of three skidplates and a 3.55 axle. The final FX4 touches include dark shadow-gray accents and FX4 decals.
The F-150 SuperCrew's standard powerplant is the 4.6L Triton V-8 engine. This powerplant delivers 231 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. The 5.4L Triton V-8 is optional, pumping out 260 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic Overdrive transmission.
The SuperCrew is available in only one wheelbase (138-1/2 inches) in either XLT or Lariat trim levels. With comfortable seating for six adults and three tether anchors in the back seat for child seats, there's space for all the crew. The rear seating area features a power outlet, reading lamps, cup holders, and door map pockets. A front 40/60 bench seat, which seats as many as three people, is standard. Captain's chairs with a floor-mounted center console are optional.
Other interior features include a standard overhead console with a compass up front, an outside air temperature gauge, and small cubby bins. A power moonroof - a pickup first in the under-8,500-pound GVW segment - and leather seating are also available. A standard fullsize 60/40 split rear seat with fold-flat capability increases the interior space versatility of the SuperCrew. It can accommodate passengers, bulky loads, or a combination of both. An optional rear-seat audio/video entertainment system with VCP and video game capability is also available.
For working chores, the SuperCrew uses a 5-1/2-foot-long pickup box measuring 50 inches between the wheel housings. This 44.2-cubic-foot box can haul a payload of 1,765 pounds. Large items, such as 4x8-foot sheets of building material, fit nicely between the wheel houses and can be carried flat with the tailgate lowered. The optional bed extender allows more flexibility when hauling such large items as construction materials, snowmobiles, or trail bikes. The easily removed, tubular steel curved cage attached to the rear of the pickup bed pivots 180 degrees to rest on a lowered tailgate, providing a full 7 feet of room.
Testing The Goods
While not a rockcrawler or desert runner by any means, the addition of the FX4 Off-Road Package to the SuperCrew's list of features and amenities makes this popular pickup more worthy in the dirt, and more attractive to OFF-ROAD readers. After thorough testing of the vehicle (of course we took it off road), we can report this SuperCrew FX4 is a welcome addition to Ford's F-150 lineup.
First of all, the truck has SUV-like comfort, interior space, and creature amenities combined with pickup workability, cargo-carrying ability, and ruggedness. There's plenty of room inside for hauling all of your family, a bevy of your best buddies, or plenty of gear. The pickup bed is wide enough for most any load, and the flip-down cargo cage offers a 7-foot bed for hauling chores.
On the dirt, the truck performs a level above other F-150 versions with the addition of the new FX4 package. The combination of the Rancho shocks and standard 17-inch wheels and tires give the SuperCrew FX4 a bit more clearance than standard models, and the three skidplates protect vital parts nicely. During off-road excursions, the SuperCrew was surefooted, rode solidly but forgivingly, and we detected little loss of traction, even on rough terrain.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional 5.4L Triton V-8 powerplant, which nicely propelled the SuperCrew's 5,000-plus pounds down the highway nicely. The engine's impressive 350 lb-ft of torque is nice to have, and in this configuration, the SuperCrew can tow 7,700 pounds with relative ease. On-highway ride was smooth and perhaps a bit more plush than other F-150s because of the larger cab and extra weight over the rear axle.
Our tester checked in with a $34,000 price tag - perhaps a bit steep, but you get a lot of truck for the money. This SuperCrew FX4 is one of the plushest and most versatile pickups on the road and in the dirt.