- Repair & Care
Ford used Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January 2003 as the launch pad for its redesigned F-150 pickup truck. On sale as an early 2004 model, the next F-150 has a new look, a wider track, four-wheel disc brakes, and new rack-and-pinion steering for both 4x2 and 4x4 models. Ford claims that virtually nothing is carried over from the previous F-150.
A new 300-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 engine with three valves per cylinder produces 365 pounds-feet of torque. Magnesium cam covers are used for noise attenuation, and the V-8’s variable cam has a 50-degree range. A 4.6-liter V-8 is also available. Torsional stiffness is claimed to be nine times better than that of the previous model. Regular-cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles are available. Ford also continues to produce a high-performance SVT F-150 Lightning pickup that is equipped with a 380-hp supercharged V-8 engine.
Series designations are the same as before, but differences have been sharpened. Five trim levels are available: the “workhorse” XL, the youth-oriented STX, the XLT, the FX4 and the luxurious Lariat edition. Even regular-cab models have access doors, albeit narrow ones. A DVD player is optional in SuperCrew models.In the 2004 model year, Ford will continue to offer versions of the previous-generation F-150 model, now called the F-150 Heritage.
Some styling touches are borrowed from the Mighty F-350 Tonka concept truck. Perhaps the most noticeable element is the dip in each side window, created partly to improve mirror visibility but also to enhance the tough look.
The grille on the new F-150 is still trapezoidal in shape, but it’s taller and sports a larger badge. A chrome surround and honeycomb insert go on the Lariat trim level, but other grilles may be body colored. The hood has been raised by 3 inches, the taillamps are taller, and the rear badge is larger.
Both the regular cab and SuperCab (extended cab) have been stretched by 6 inches. Each can have a 6.5- or 8-foot cargo bed. Short beds are available with flared fenders, called Flareside, which feature a small wraparound step on each side. Otherwise, the bed is a slab-sided Styleside design. SuperCab and SuperCrew versions can have a shorter, 5.5-foot cargo bed — an offering available for the first time on the SuperCab — and an 8-footer is available for the SuperCrew.
Tailgates on the 2004 models require less effort to open. Two-tone paint is available on the XLT, Lariat and FX4. The Lariat models ride 18-inch tires, while other versions use 16- or 17-inch rubber.The regular cabs and SuperCabs have access panels (narrow rear doors) on both sides, which are hinged at the rear and cannot be opened unless the front doors are open. The SuperCrew’s four front-hinged doors open to the front like those on passenger cars. A power sliding rear window is offered for the first time.
Interior layouts vary according to the series. Some bold instrument panels feature metallic bands that wrap upward. A full-length floor-mounted console with a shifter is available. The Lariat models get large, round, bright-rimmed gauges, but those in other series differ. The Lariat also features a sewed-in French seam on the hood that goes over the instruments. At the lower end of the price scale, the XL has hose-out rubber floormats in a much plainer interior that sports a column-mounted gearshift.On SuperCab and SuperCrew versions, a new modular overhead rail system can hold a DVD player and other components. New power-down quarter windows go on SuperCab models; these are not the flip-out kind common on pickup trucks.
Fitted with a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 engine that develops 380 hp and 450 pounds-feet of torque, the SVT F-150 Lightning uses a heavy-duty four-speed-automatic transmission. Ford claims that this regular-cab pickup can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.Inside is a 60/40-split bench seat with what Ford calls “aggressive” side bolstering. Special styling touches include crystalline headlamps, a unique front fascia, clear turn-signal lenses, SVT-signature round fog lamps and an LED stoplight. Lower rocker extensions and a side-exit exhaust are installed. Low-profile tires ride on unique 18-inch wheels. Ford first offered an SVT F-150 Lightning in 1995. Back to top
Select up to three models to compare with the 2004 Ford F-150 Heritage.