2009 Ford F-150 SupercrewPosted on April 18th, 2009
Ford’s newest light-duty pickup truck features enhanced cargo, towing and safety technology
By Nina Russin
The F-150 Supercrew has more affinity to sport-utility vehicles than traditional pickup trucks, despite the open cargo bed. This isn’t to say that Ford’s best-selling pickup lacks toughness or durability. It’s fully off-road capable, and has a 11,000 pound towing capacity.
Crew cabs, especially upscale models, are all about the passengers. The F-150 Lariat has many of the same comfort and convenience features as luxury SUVs: navigation, satellite radio, downloadable hard drive, 5.1 surround sound audio, heated and cooled leather seats, and a power moon roof. The only thing missing is a rear-seat DVD unit for the kids.
The new crew cab is six inches longer than the previous model, offering second-row passengers more legroom. The rear seats flip up and out of the way to create a large cargo space behind the front seats.
The white metal flake exterior is almost too sweet to get dirty: ditto for the twenty-inch aluminum wheels. A three-bar chrome grille, similar to the design on the F-Series super duty trucks, is macho enough for the rodeo king.
Easier to load
Designers added some important features that ease cargo box access. An available box sidestep on 6.5 and 8-foot Styleside boxes stows under the cargo box when not in use. The eleven-inch step deploys with the push of a button, and holds up to 500 pounds.
Ford has added the available rear tailgate step introduced on its super duty series to the F-150 lineup. The step, which is integrated into the tailgate, can support up to 300 pounds.
An optional bed extender legnthens the Supercrew’s relatively short cargo bed. The bed extender adds a couple feet of storage space by securing cargo with the tailgate down. It can also act as a divider, to keep smaller items from shifting around.
A cargo management system available with the 6.5-foot cargo bed adds side rails and cleats for securing items. Side mounted tool bins hold up to sixty pounds and are waterproof. A lockable toolbox available on regular and Supercabs provides lockable, weather and dustproof storage, mounted to the front of the cargo box.
Easier to drive
Ford added a couple of key features that enhance visibility around the truck and make it easier to tow large trailers. A rearview camera on the test truck displays a wide angle view to the rear on the navigation screen, when the driver shifts into reverse. It’s a feature I strongly recommend to parents with small children. Considering the F-150’s large footprint, the rearview camera also makes parking much easier.
An integrated trailer brake controller lets the driver to operate the trailer’s electronic brakes using a control module on the instrument panel. Trailer sway control works in conjunction with the truck’s traction and roll stability control systems to determine if the trailer is swaying. The system can apply the truck brakes or reduce engine power to bring the trailer under control.
A tow-haul mode modifies transmission shift points to boost power on uphill grades. The system downshifts on downhill grades to add engine braking, and can apply the truck’s brakes as necessary.
Three engine options
The 5.4-liter V8 on the test truck is one of three available engine options: buyers can also opt for two 4.6-liter V8 engines rated at 248 and 292-horsepower respectively. From a performance stance, the 320-horsepower block is the obvious choice, especially for buyers who are planning to haul trailers.
The test truck has a curb weight of 5600 pounds. That’s a lot of mass to move off the line. The 5.4-liter engine develops full torque, 390 foot-pounds, at 3500 rpm. In other words, it has the low end power necessary for hard acceleration in the critical 20 to 50 mile-per-hour range.
The bad news about the big engine is that it’s thirsty. My own fuel economy in stop-and-go driving was just over 13 miles-per-gallon. Driving conservatively and trying to keep engine speeds below 2000 rpm didn’t help much. I don’t know how the EPA got 14 miles-per-gallon in the city: maybe they were going downhill.
Overdrive gears on the six-speed automatic transmission achieve decent highway gas mileage for a truck this size: 18 mpg according to the EPA. The transmission shifts very smoothly, with no noticeable shift shock during hard acceleration.
Quiet, smooth performance
The F-150 handles exceptionally well for a truck with a live rear axle. Solid rear ends are better for towing and hauling, but they can cause an annoying chatter on the highway. I was impressed by the suspension‘s compliance. For a big truck, the F-150 Supercrew has a pretty good turning radius (47 inches), and very good steering response.
Ford pioneered the use of quiet steel in its trucks: it has insulating material sandwiched between the outside layers. Quiet steel in the dash of the F-150 blocks out engine noise. A sound deadening headliner as well as aerodynamic improvements around the front of the truck make for an exceptionally quiet interior.
Visibility to the front and sides of the truck is pretty good. As with any high-profile vehicle, it can be harder to see shorter vehicles in the surrounding lanes. Standard turn indicator signals on the side mirrors help drivers in other vehicles see where the truck is moving.
Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the truck in a firm, linear fashion. Optional twenty-inch wheels on the test truck make for a bigger contact patch with the ground.
An electronic locking differential gives the F-150 true off-road capability. Roll stability control uses engine and wheel braking to keep the truck stable on severe side grades.
Inside, the F-150 Lariat has all the comforts of home, plus GPS navigation. The longer cabin gives both rows of passengers, plenty of legroom. An armrest folds out from the rear seatback to make passengers in the outboard positions more comfortable.
A two-position memory allows multiple drivers to share the truck. Adjustable pedals and a tilt steering wheel allow smaller drivers to find a comfortable position and maintain a clear forward view.
A longer center console than the outgoing model holds a couple of laptop computers, as well as smaller electronic devices. There’s a plethora of cupholders and small cubbies throughout the cabin.
The central navigation display doubles as a multimedia screen for the audio and Microsoft Sync system: a downloadable hard drive for storing address books, music and pictures. Both the navigation and Sync systems can operate on voice commands.
Multiple twelve-volt power points, a USB port and auxiliary port recharge electronic devices on the go, and interface with portable audio devices.
Although the crew cab has a short cargo box, it has an exceptional amount of interior cargo space, thanks to the flip-up rear seats. The space is a little short for a bicycle, but luggage, some camping equipment, golf clubs and groceries are no problem.
Standard safety features on the test truck include front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction and roll stability control. Ford’s safety canopy holds the side curtain airbags against the windows, and keeps the bags inflated for the duration of a rollover collision.
The keypad keyless entry allows multiple passengers to enter the vehicle using a numeric code. Ford’s Sync system automatically dials emergency personnel when the airbags deploy. Emergency assist requires users to pair a phone with the vehicle’s Bluetooth interface.
Sirius traffic link provides real-time traffic and weather data throughout the country.
Base price on the test truck is $37,990; $45,195 as tested. Ford builds the F-150 at its Dearborn, Michigan and Kansas City, Missouri assembly plants.
Likes: Excellent steering response, ride and handling. The F-150 Supercrew has a quiet, well-equipped interior with a large available cargo area behind the front seats.
Dislike: Poor fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic.
Model: F-150 Supercrew Lariat 4X4
Base price: $37,990
As tested: $45,195
Horsepower: 320 Hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 390 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 14/18 mpg city/highway
One response to “2009 Ford F-150 Supercrew”
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