- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2009

The all-new Ford F-150 pickup — just fresh out of the gate for 2009 — is already hauling a truckload 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 hardworking 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. 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, cell phones 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 4x2 and 4x4 configurations; in three V-8 powertrain options. Base prices for the 2009 F-150 start at $21,095.

I drove the 4x4 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 an 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.

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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009

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