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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
April 19, 2005
Vehicle Overview Ford redesigned its F-150 pickup truck as an early 2004 model, giving it a new look, a wider track, and new rack-and-pinion steering for both 4x2 and 4x4 models. Torsional stiffness is claimed to be nine times better than that of the previous model.
For 2005, a new V-6 base engine and manual transmission are offered on most regular-cab models. A new Work Truck Group package is available for XL editions.
Regular-cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles are offered. Five trim levels are available: "workhorse" XL, youth-oriented STX, mainstream XLT, offroad FX4 and luxurious Lariat. Regular-cab models have access doors, albeit narrow ones. Ford has dropped the SVT F-150 Lightning performance pickup. (Skip to details on the: F-150 SuperCrew)
Exterior Some styling touches were borrowed from the Mighty F-350 Tonka concept truck. One noticeable element is the stepped design of the side windows, which is applied partly to improve mirror visibility but also to enhance the tough-truck look.
The grilles are trapezoidal in shape. A chrome surround and honeycomb insert go on the Lariat trim level. Both the regular cab and SuperCab (extended cab) were stretched by 6 inches for 2004. Each can have a 6.5- or 8-foot cargo bed. Short beds are available with flared fenders, called Flareside; otherwise, the bed is a slab-sided (Styleside) design. SuperCab models can have a shorter, 5.5-foot cargo bed.
Regular cabs and SuperCabs have narrow rear doors � called access panels � on both sides. They're hinged at the rear and can't be opened unless the front doors are open. A power sliding rear window is offered. Either 17- or 18-inch wheels are installed.
Interior Depending on the model, either a 40/20/40-split three-place bench seat or dual captain's chairs are installed in front. The SuperCab adds a three-place rear seat.
Interior layouts vary according to the series. A full-length floor-mounted console with a shift lever 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 modular overhead rail system can hold a DVD player and other components. Power-down quarter windows go on SuperCab models; these differ from the flip-out kind common to pickup trucks.
Under the Hood The base F-150 engine is now a 202-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-6. Two V-8s are available: a 231-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 and a 300-hp, 5.4-liter V-8. A four-speed-automatic transmission is standard with V-8 power, but V-6 models can team with a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models have a standard floor-mounted transfer-case lever that permits shifting in and out of 4WD-High on the move. A dashboard switch activates an optional, electrically engaged transfer case.
Safety Four-wheel antilock brakes, front seat belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors and child-safety seat top-tether anchors are standard. Dual-stage front airbags work with an occupant classification system sensor.
Driving Impressions The F-150 is significantly more substantial in its redesigned form. It has a heavier, more solid feel than its predecessor. The suspensions react more positively to pavement flaws by rebounding rapidly and only as far as necessary. They recover quickly from small and large bumps. Imperfect surfaces can produce quite a bit of body motion, though it's not bad for a truck.
The 5.4-liter V-8 produces quicker acceleration than the 4.6-liter's performance, though neither engine ranks as phenomenal. Even with the larger engine, the F-150 takes a little while to really get rolling � but when it does, it feels pretty powerful. Interiors are roomy and the controls are fairly convenient, but the A-pillar grab handles aren't helpful to every rider. �
F-150 SuperCrew SuperCrew versions of the F-150 full-size pickup have four conventional front-hinged doors like those on passenger cars. Rear occupants sit on a three-place bench seat. The F-150 SuperCrew comes only with a 5.5-foot cargo bed.
The SuperCrew can be equipped with either a 231-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 or a 300-hp, 5.4-liter V-8. A four-speed-automatic transmission is standard. A DVD player is optional. A King Ranch package, which includes Casta�o leather upholstery and special badging, is newly available for the Lariat SuperCrew model. Back to top