A Bigger Cab
The SuperCrew cab is the F-150 body style that has changed the most for 2009. Ford lengthened the cab by six inches between the A- and B-pillars and gave the rear a flat load floor. The larger SuperCrew cab means you can put large items, like a 50-inch plasma TV, right in the cab of your F-150. Competitors still force you to place large items in the bed of your truck, which must be horribly inconvenient for those who only make large purchases on rainy days. But that extra length also means the truck won't fit in everyone's garage.
Inside the F-150, things are very quiet. Extra sound insulation materials make the F-150's cabin almost as quiet as a luxury car's. The Platinum trim level, which is new for 2009, is the most luxurious truck interior on the market and features brushed aluminum accents and wood trim.
Tech Toys Galore
Step inside the F-150 and you'll discover a variety of new technology. Ford's Sync system, a new option on the F-150, includes the ability to dial 911 in the event of an accident and offers a vehicle health report in addition to the usual Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. The F-150's navigation system can join forces with Sirius Travel Link to locate the cheapest fuel, give real-time traffic reports, and provide weather reports for anywhere in the country. This system looks and works much better than the last-generation navigation system.
Ford Work Solutions are designed to improve the capability of the 2009 F-150 as a mobile office for contractors and offer a range of features from internet access to fleet management tools which help managers track maintenance and locate vehicles in the field. Tool Link allows owners to tag tools with RFID chips and ensure all the tools brought to a job are loaded back in the truck before heading home. A cable lock system allows contractors to lock large, expensive tools in the bed.
The Death of the V-6 and Manual Transmission
The heart of a pickup is the powertrain, but Ford didn't make many changes here. A new 4.6-liter three-valve V-8 is the big news; it slots between the base 4.6-liter two-valve V-8 and the 5.4-liter three-valve V-8. We prefer the 4.6-liter three-valve V-8, because it provides nearly as much power as the previous 5.4-liter (292 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque) and offers slightly better fuel economy than the larger engine. The V-6 engine was dropped from the F-150 line because the two-valve V-8 has the same fuel economy numbers as the old V-6 as well as more power (248 hp and 294 lb-ft of twist). Those looking for maximum towing will require a 5.4-liter V-8 and its full 310 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque.
A smooth six-speed transmission is standard on the three-valve engines, but the two-valve engine makes do with an ancient four-speed automatic. There is no manual transmission for the 2009 model year.
Fuel economy ranges from 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway for the 5.4-liter V-8 up to an estimated 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for the 4.6-liter, three-valve V-8 equipped with the SFE package. SFE is Ford's Superior Fuel Economy package, and it's available on XL and XLT SuperCrew trucks with a 5.5-foot bed and two-wheel drive. The SFE package includes a 3.15 final-drive ratio and 18-inch low rolling resistance tires, but it does not include a tonneau cover or locking rear differential like the Chevrolet Silverado XFE package that returns identical fuel economy numbers.