The 2009 Ford F-150 comes from people who are intensely aware of what a pickup truck should do, how it should perform and what the customer is after. With the latest iteration of the F-150, Ford has a considerable reputation to live up to and in the face of dwindling pickup sales, needs to make some big promises to attract the customers still in the market. So the question becomes, when you are already the king of an ever-dwindling hill, how do you make that hill bigger?
Ford has come into this new product cycle with both barrels blazing, offering up the most capability it's ever packaged into a light-duty pickup. It boasts class-leading capabilities like a maximum 11,300 lb towing capacity and a 3,030 lb maximum payload capacity, while also offering best-in-class fuel economy (tied with the Chevy Silverado XFE) of 15 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway when you opt for the fuel-sipping SFE model. But that's only one of seven trim levels, each configurable with three powertrains, 13 wheels (that's more than the number of models of vehicles Honda sells stateside), four different bed configurations, three different cab lengths and the choice of two- or four-wheel-drive — a far cry from Henry Ford's Model T option list of "black." I've had a chance to drive a few iterations of the new F-150, digesting Ford's new product and seeing how it stands up to the program's goals and what I've decided is at the end of the day, a truck can be broken into a few important components; the cab, box, drive system, engine and the transmission. As the variety of options for the F-150 is so immense, it's more practical to talk about the parts leading up to the sum, rather than the myriad combinations. At least, that is unless you want this review in book form. Let's get started.