The big news arrived early this year for Americas favorite vehicle, the F-150 full-size pickup. A crew-cab model with four conventional doors debuted in spring 2000 as an early 2001 model.
Dubbed the SuperCrew, it is the first half-ton, full-size pickup available as a crew cab. The SuperCrew has a larger passenger compartment than the F-150 Super Cab (extended cab), and the cargo bed shrinks from 6.5 feet to 5.5 feet.
Among other changes for 2001, four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on all F-150 models which were optional on lower-priced versions last year and power-adjustable pedals are standard on Lariat models and optional on the XL and XLT.
The F-150 is Fords light-duty full-size pickup. Ford also offers Super Duty F-250/350 models with heftier payloads. Combined F-Series sales in 2000 were 876,716 units, making it the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the 19th year in a row.
Ford also offers the SVT F-150 Lightning, a high-performance version of the F-150.
Ford blends traditional truck styling cues like a bold grille with rounded body panels in the F-150, which comes in five sizes. Both the regular-cab models and Super Cabs offer a choice of 6.5- or 8-foot cargo beds. The short bed is available with flared fenders that Ford calls Flareside on regular cabs and Super Cabs.
Super Cabs have narrow rear doors on both sides that are hinged at the rear and cannot be opened unless the front doors are opened first.
The SuperCrews four side doors are hinged at the front and open like conventional doors on passenger cars. The SuperCrew rides a 138-inch wheelbase and is 226 inches overall, about the same length as the short-bed Super Cab.
Regular-cab models and Super Cabs come with a three-place bench seat or two front buckets. Super Cabs add a three-place, folding rear seat that is split 60/40.
The SuperCrew also has a three-place rear bench, and it provides generous headroom and legroom for taller folks. The rear seat pivots forward for more inside storage space, which is less useful than one that folds up.
The power-adjustable pedals, available on models with an automatic transmission, are a first for pickup trucks. A dashboard switch allows moving the pedals over a 3-inch range to help drivers find a more comfortable position behind the wheel.
Under the Hood
The F-150s base engine is a 202-horsepower 4.2-liter V-6. Most buyers choose one of the V-8s, which are smoother, quieter and more potent. V-8 choices are a 220-hp 4.6-liter or a 260-hp 5.4-liter.
Four-wheel-drive models come with a standard floor-mounted transfer case lever that allows shifting in or out of 4WD High on the move. An electrically engaged transfer case operated by a dashboard switch is optional.
General Motors, Dodge and Toyota are frantically trying to catch the F-150, the perennial sales leader, but Ford finds new ways to keep its full-size pickup at the front of the herd. The F-150 at least matches its rivals in the work categories and exceeds them in the convenience and comfort areas with features like the adjustable pedals and four-door SuperCrew.
If you are shopping for a full-size pickup, the F-150 is a great starting point.