Many New Yorkers snicker at the lack of urbanity present in their fellow countrymen. To them anything outside of metro New York City is one vast farm field filled polyester-clad clods who aren’t smart enough to live in New York.
But we know better. After all, there’s no one more provincial then a New Yorker. As if to prove it, the latest status symbol among the in-crowd denizens who think they know better is the pickup truck.
Yes, that’s right, the pickup truck.
It’s even more macho then a sport utility and, when it comes to image, that’s what really counts in the Big Apple(aside from boatloads of cash).
A message to these clueless car buyers: This truck has been the best-selling truck in America for two decades and the best-selling vehicle in the world for 15 years. And few iterations are better than the latest edition.
Redesigned for the 1997 model year with an aerodynamic air, this strong-shouldered truck has a sophisticated yet modern look. The doors bow inward, sweeping out at the bottom, and, while the front end isn’t as aggressive as the Dodge Ram, it gains points for a more refined look.
As with any pickup there are a lot of variations. First, start with the model. F-Series trucks come in 150 and 250 depending on size and grunt power needed. The 150 can tow up to 7,300 pounds, the 250 8,300 pounds. Then, pick a cab: Regular cab, crew cab(big rear seat) or super cab (smaller rear seat). Next comes a cargo box, Styleside (practical) or flareside (less practical, looks cool) with 6.5- or 8-foot beds. Then pick an engine. Engines range from a 4.2-liter 210 horse V6 to a 5.4-liter V8 with 235 horsepower with a stump churning 330 pound-feet of torque. All of this comes as a 4×2 or 4×4 in standard, XL, XLT or Lariet trim levels. Got that?
The test vehicle was an F150 4×2 Super Cab and styleside bed in XLT trim level and the 5.4-liter engine. Painted Bright Red Metallic, this beautiful truck could be seen for miles and, indeed, drew stares aplenty.
Maybe it was from the quick take-offs. The single-overhead-cam engine has good pulling power despite its OHC design. It’s refined sound lets you know its working, but never too much so. Being a rear-drive pickup with an unloaded bed, it wasn’t too difficult to squeal the all-season tires. The ride was excellent for a pickup, with none of the uncomfortable ride motions one would expect.
Despite its size, the truck never drove as big as it was, feeling almost car-like. There was good road feel through the light power steering. Actually, the interior seemed almost as quiet as some luxury cars. Despite its good handling, the tail of this truck will slide easily in inclement weather. Take it easy, or order the 4×4 version.
The accommodations, while not at the level of the Walfdorf Astoria or the Plaza, were still quite comfy. The seats were a split bench with a wide center armrest/cup holder/storage compartment. The se ats were quite supportive on long drives, with just enough give.
There’s a short back seat, along with a right-hand-side door for access. Only extremely forgiving adults or small children can ride back there.
Unlike too many instrument panels, this vehicle comes completely equipped, including voltmeter and oil-pressure gauge.
The dash is rounded, modern and easy to use. The transmission lever is column mounted. The climate controls are three simple rotary knobs that reside just below the very good stereo.
Below that is an auxiliary power outlet and cup holders.
Everyone thinks about safety, and Ford has thought about it, too. There are rear anti-lock brakes and dual air-bags standard. The passenger side air-bag can be switched off if a child seat is installed, and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes are optional.
But unlike New Yorkers, who are only now discovering the joys of this vehicle, real Americans have known about the goodness of this truck for years
Now that those Big Apple residents know about it, the price will probably go up.
Get yours now.
1998 Ford F-150 4×2 Super Cab Standard: 4.2-litre SOHC V-6, 5-speed manual transmission, P235/70R16 tires, dual airbags, rear anti-lock brakes, third passenger-side door, power windows and locks, split rear seat, auxiliary power point, dual cupholders, trailer tow wiring, removable lockable tailgate, front and rear chrome bumpers. Options: Preferred Equipment Package 507A (cruise control, tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning, AM/FM/Cassette Stereo with clock), 4.6-litre SOHC V-8, 4-speed automatic transmission, P255/70R16 tires, floor mats, 6,000 GVWR Package, power chrome mirrors, cast aluminum wheels, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, keyless entry. Price: Not available EPA rating: Not available Test mileage: 20 mpg