The New F-150 Offers Great Options, And A Rear Locker
The rumor mill is running full-steam with whispers about a new super off-road F-150 coming from Ford. Stories of a black ops factory-prepped desert and trail truck with front and rear lockers, aggressive tires, long-travel suspension, and serious V-8 power have been burning up the airwaves, but being respectable magazine journalists we don't want to fall into this pit of possibilities and rather stick to the facts. In late 2008 the new-for-2009 Ford F-150 will go into production. It will enter the market when truck sales are down, competition is up, and Ford is desperate for a winner to keep the Blue Oval afloat.
So how did Ford do? Excellent. This truck is going to be a strong contender in the market. The towing capacity of 11,300 pounds and 3,020 payload has this 1/2-ton knocking on the 3/4-ton market's door. Towing with the trailer control system and integrated trailer brake controller is easy and makes you appreciate the new six-speed transmission for smooth controlled acceleration. We are planning a great road trip with this truck, and we'll tell you all about it in an upcoming issue.
Many of you may be asking why Ford is coming out with a new F-150 just five years after the last redesign. In the current market it pays to have something new, and with every other fullsize truck company offering new 1/2-tons recently, it was time for Ford to step up. The design and engineering of new vehicles is done with so much computerized work that it can be done quicker than ever before. Everything from how the door handles work to how the truck frame moves while off road is determined in a computer before the first prototype is built.
However, don't think this truck is all engineering with no real-world testing. Ford takes its trucks from the heat of the desert to the sloppy mud pits of its Michigan testing facility so that this 4x4 is ready for any 4-Wheel & Off-Road reader who wants to go from showroom floor to backwoods trail. This F-150 was also designed to do more and work smarter than previous 1/2-tons. The towing capacity is top in its class, and with optional trailer-brake controllers, three different engine options, and a multitude of storage and seating options, this is a well-rounded 1/2-ton in a time when truck buyers are looking for more than just a cab with a box behind it.
As for that rumored off-road truck seen tested out in the dunes and cruising the Detroit streets, all we can say is that our Ford contacts wouldn't leak a peep, and our badgering questions were answered only with a grin and a twinkle in their eye.
2009 Ford F-150
Base Price: N/A
Engine (std/opt): 4.6L 2V V-8/4.6L 3V V-8/5.4L 3V V-8
Torque (lb-ft): 294/320/390
Transmission: 4R75E 4-speed/6R80E 6-speed
Transfer case: 2-speed
Axle Ratios: 3.15/3.31/3.55/3.73
EPA Mileage city/hwy (mpg): 14/19
Curb Weight (lb): 5,628
Width (in): 78.9
Height (in): 76.2
Seating Capacity: 5 or 6
HeadRoom front/rear (in): 40/38.7
Max. Cargo Volume (lb): 1,510
Max. Towing Capacity (lb): 9,800
* Dimensions for SuperCrew 5.5-foot bed 4x4 5.4L 145-inch wheelbase (will vary depending on model configuration)